Yannick Bolasie saw his first semi-competitive action since recovering from a serious knee when he came on as a second-half substitute for Everton's Under-23s this evening.
The Congolese winger has been sidelined over a year following two surgeries but is now taking the final steps towards his long-awaited return to the first team.
Bolasie came replaced Dennis Adeniran with an hour gone of the Premier League 2 match against Leicester City but he couldn't prevent David Unsworth's side from going down to a 2-1 defeat at Holmes Park.
Fraser Hornby put Everton ahead but two goals in the last 10 minutes gave the Foxes' second string victory.
“Playing again was overwhelming,” Bolasie told evertonfc.com. “When I got on I felt good. I knew about two weeks ago I was going to play in this game so it's good.
“There wasn't any nerves! Now that I've played the 30 minutes there isn't any. Maybe before there was some because it's been a long time. Training is training — it's totally different in the matches when it matters so, yes, I'm happy.
“I want to be with the [first team] boys. Right now the team is doing really well so you're going to have to try to fight your way in but there's no rush for myself. I know what my role is because a year out in football means it will be a month or two before I'm really back at it but the main thing is that I feel okay.
“Just the smell of grass again in the game was great.”
Everton U23: Hilton, Garbutt, Foulds, Jones, Feeney, Charsley, Gibson, Henen (76' Evans), Baningime, Hornby (71' Sambou), Adeniran (61' Bolasie).
Subs not Used: Renshaw, Broadhead.