The veteran midfielder had spent much of the last three months on the sidelines with an achilles tendon injury, but has stepped up his match fitness in recent weeks with starts for the Toffee’s Under-21 side, as well as cameos from the bench in the first team matches against BSC Young Boys and Stoke City.
And, after completing the full 90 minutes in the Under-21s 1-0 victory over Sunderland on Thursday evening, the 33 year old believes he is ready to figure more prominently for Roberto Martinez in both the Premier League and Europa League.
“It’s important for me to get as many minutes as I can on the pitch,” he told evertontv. “The games came quick and close together, but I’m just trying to get myself out there as much as I can.
“It (the Sunderland match) was a good game to play in, it was competitive and it was a great game to win.
“It was difficult circumstances because the pitch wasn’t the best and the wind didn’t help either, but it was very competitive and sometimes they’re the best games to win.
“It was good to get more minutes under my belt, I’m trying to get that last little bit of sharpness and hopefully then I can show that on the pitch for the first team.
“I’m hoping to put myself in contention for Thursday. It was another step tonight – to show I can play 90 minutes and in a game as competitive as that where we all needed to be on our toes.
“It’s not great being out injured for any player, I’m especially bad when I’m out injured and it’s even harder when things aren’t going well on the pitch for the team.
“But we’re in it as a team. We’re in it together whether you’re injured, or if you’re playing every week. We’ve got 10 tough games now before the end of the season, but 10 games we’re very confident of getting results from.”