Aaron Lennon said it was his maturity that saw him through a summer of being cold-shouldered by Tottenham.
The 28-year-old ended a decade-long association with Spurs, training with the youth team at his own request this summer, having had only one conversation with the manager, Mauricio Pochettino.
The winger added that, had he been younger, he might have cracked waiting for Everton to make last season’s loan deal permanent. The transfer was concluded late on deadline day and only finalised once the window had closed.
“I wasn’t getting any assurances from Everton,” he said. “The window was open and Spurs had made it clear I was up for sale. The only thing I could do was get myself as fit as possible and hope the move happened.
“Maybe I would have handled things a lot differently if I were younger but I knew that if I didn’t train the only person it wouldn’t help was me. Towards the end of the window, I was thinking: ‘what if this doesn’t go through?’ I woke up on deadline day and had a weird feeling in my stomach.
“I was just waiting by the phone, hoping to get the call to say it was all agreed. It was late afternoon when I got it and I had to get my medical done in London. I signed the forms and it went to the wire.”
A younger Lennon might have been bitter towards Tottenham but, having seen Pochettino radically reshape the squad he inherited, he knew what to expect.
“I went back in for pre-season and there were a few of us told they were not going to be in Tottenham’s plans. It was football. Certain managers just don’t fancy you and it wasn’t just me – there was a complete overhaul with a totally new squad.”
Lennon, who played a key role in Everton’s pull-away from the relegation zone last season, is not match fit enough for Saturday’s encounter with Chelsea. However, unlike his arrival at Everton last season where he was pictured looking utterly downbeat, Lennon did remember to smile for his publicity photos.
“There was a lot of banter about those photos,” he said. “They didn’t go as far as posting them in the dressing room but they showed me the videos.”Reuse content