Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists his faith in striker Arouna Kone never wavered and that is now being rewarded.
The Ivorian scored his first hat-trick in English football in the 6-2 demolition of struggling Sunderland to register a remarkable turnaround in the 31-year-old’s fortunes.
After a knee injury decimated the first two years of his career at the club he was actually booed when he came off the bench in the season-opening draw at home to Watford.
The reaction was totally different after his sharp finishing put the Black Cats in their place after they had clawed back a 2-0 deficit.
“I had the privilege of working with him previously so I was an in an advantageous position and knew exactly what he could do,” said Martinez.
“It was a really tough injury and I have seen players retiring from that.
“He got fit but then had a period of getting back to match fitness but no one in the training ground ever lost faith in him.
“He is a very important player for us in every aspect of his performances.
“It was a phenomenal 90 minutes because it triggers an extension to his contract (which was due to expire in the summer).
“He is a sensational example to any young footballer facing adversity.”