Out-of-favour Everton striker Oumar Niasse has described his situation at Goodison Park as “sad” but remains determined to thrive in the Premier League.
Niasse joined the Merseysiders in a £13.5million move from Lokomotiv Moscow in February but has made just seven appearances and is yet to score his first goal for the club.
The Senegal international, who has been banished to train with the Under-23 side, claims Everton tried to get him to leave in the transfer window, but he turned down offers as he wants to play in the English top-flight and believes his treatment by the club is unfair.
“I’m in the dressing-room with the Under-23s but I don’t have a locker,” Niasse told the Guardian. “The other players have where they put their stuff, but I don’t.
“I come with my bag and I just have a place that I know. I put my bag down, I train and after, I put everything in my car and go home.
“It’s sad, it’s really sad. And, to be honest, I think that I don’t deserve this. But what I can do is just keep my head [down] and fight to change things. I’m not going to make a drama over this. I just deal with it. I know that it’s just one period.
“It’s not only about having opportunities and then, you’re going to leave. I always think about my career – to make good choices.
“Yes, I had opportunities, but I wanted to play in the Premier League and it’s because I know I can do a lot of things in the Premier League. That’s why I am keeping my head, even if it’s hard now.”
Niasse had already fallen down the pecking order under the manager who signed him, Roberto Martinez, and he revealed the Spaniard’s replacement Ronald Koeman told him he had no future at Everton after just 45 minutes on the pitch.
“Koeman said: ‘You have to leave,'” Niasse said. “I couldn’t understand how that decision could have been made after 45 minutes but I just said: ‘Okay, thank you.’
“It’s his decision. He’s the manager. What can I do? I called my agent and he said that he would look into the opportunities for me. To be honest, I didn’t ask Koeman to explain his reasons. I just thought, even if I asked why, I would never understand. After just 45 minutes, you cannot say to me: ‘You are no good.’
“He changed everything. He took my shirt number and he told me I wasn’t allowed to be in the dressing room for the first team; that I wasn’t going to train with them. I had to go with the second team.
“I said: ‘Okay, no problem.’ When you say you don’t need a player, you don’t have to see him. I’ve just kept working in training. Even if I’m training with the Under-23s, I give them the respect.
“Anything can change. Koeman just wants the best for him and, in two months, if I can be the best for him, he will take me, because he doesn’t have any problem with me and I don’t have any problem with him.
“It’s football and bigger players than me have had this problem with their coaches. How many times did Real Madrid say they didn’t want Lassana Diarra and, at the end of the season, who was playing?”