Oumar Niasse has revealed the role that Everton's supporters have played in his gradual rehabilitation back into the Blues' fold which saw him score his first goal for the club on Wednesday night.
The Senegalese striker came on as a second-half substitute in the League Cup tie against Sunderland and wrapped up a 3-0 win with the final strike of the night, an impressive half-volley after bringing down Tom Davies's cross on his chest.
It opened the latest chapter in Niasse's rollercoaster Everton career which might yet see him become a part of Ronald Koeman's team just weeks after he looked destined to leave Goodison Park for Crystal Palace.
A year ago, Niasse looked as though he was going to wind up being the most expensive flop in Everton's history. He was signed from Lokomotiv Moscow in January last year for £13.5m, a big fee at the time despite the massive inflation that the transfer market has undergone since, but he looked akin to Bambi on ice in his early appearances during Roberto Martinez's tumultuous last few months in charge.
Quickly written off by incoming manager Ronald Koeman, Niasse was effectively told to find a new club but a number of loan offers, most of them reportedly coming from Turkey, failed to materialise into moves away until he joined Hull City last January.
He scored five goals on loan for the Tigers but they were relegated back to the Championship and they elected not to take up a £10m option to sign Niasse permanently. Former Palace boss Frank de Boer lined up a move for the 27-year-old on transfer deadline day last month but it collapsed, apparently due to the paperwork not being submitted in time.
Perhaps due to his goalscoring feats at Hull — he is the only player on the books at Everton to have both scored at Anfield and come away with a win from Liverpool's home ground — his displays for the Toffees' Under-23s and the fact that Koeman is desperately in search of someone to score goals for the first team, Niasse now has a second chance at Goodison.
He is philosophical about the meandering path he has taken to getting another opportunity to make his time at Everton a success and his refusal to “spit the dummy” over his treatment by Koeman has endeared him to the Blues faithful.
"In life, everything can happen," Niasse is quoted as saying in the Liverpool Echo. "That is what I am saying, always. Sometimes you think everything is going against you but it's just the way that God chooses, the way that God gives to you.
"You have to live with that and be the nicest person you can be, work hard, be a professional and, even if you're under-18, under-23 or with the first team, you have to work hard. That's what I think is the best thing to do.
"The fans made me feel very good, honestly,” he continued in reference to Wednesday night when he replaced Dominic Calvert-Lewin with Everton leading Sunderland 2-0. “They made me feel like the confidence was coming back and I was thinking I want to give back to them because of what they are giving to me.
"They gave me a great feeling when I went to warm up. I said to myself, ‘The only thing I can do is to try to put the ball in the net.' That was a special moment that they gave to me."
“[The goal] was something I was waiting for and I think also they were waiting for that — for me to give them a goal. Like I said, it was a great feeling and very important for me.
"It has made me feel more confident, it has made me feel that my teammates are more confident and also the fans are going to have more confidence in me.”