Yerry Mina opens up on vow he made his mum at 14 STILL driving him with Everton

It’s the promise that Yerry Mina made to his mother when he was a 14-year-old that drives Everton’s £27.5million Colombian defender.

“I have an attitude that comes from when I was very young and my family was struggling badly,” said the man who is sure to become known as the Premier League’s smiling ­assassin.

“We were living in a rented ­property. One room for four of us – mum, dad, me and my brother – and we were having it very hard. My dad was trying to find work. He would go out on to the streets to look for jobs.

“I remember my mother crying. I said to her, ‘Listen, mum, I am going to build a house for you one day. I am also going to make sure that you will be fed from the hand of God.’ I just wanted her to know that, in the future, it would be better, that she would have a good home and eat fine food.

Mina has come a long way from the single room he lived in with his family as a teenager
(Image: Getty)

“And, from that day, wherever I travel to play football, before I go out on to the field, I say, ‘Right, I am going onto the field to win my mum’s dinner.’ That is where my strength comes from, from the childhood I had in a tough place.”

Mina was already a promising centre-back, playing for the local team in his hometown of Guachene, hoping to follow in the footsteps of his father Jose Euilse, and uncle Jair, who both earned money as ­goalkeepers playing in the lower leagues.

He helped his family make ends meet by earning £1.50 a day, ­working as a delivery boy on the market stall run by his grandmother.

He recalled: “I would get 6,000 pesos every day. I would give 4,000 pesos to my mum for food, I would give 1,000 pesos to my brother so he could buy a toy or something and I would keep 1,000 pesos for myself to buy some water to drink after training.

Everton signed Mina on loan after a move to star-studded Barcelona went sour
(Image: AFP/Getty)

“I was always the first to get to training and the last to leave. I was the one who wanted the team to progress all the time.

“The coaches would ask why I did not want to be with the other kids, why I wanted to be with adults.

“But even then I wanted to play real football. Not with mates my age. The only thing I focused on was football. I had to be a pro. I had to make it. For my mum. She is called Marianela.”

Mina was 18 when a move to ­Deportivo Pasto materialised – but he could only afford ­accommodation that was a ­40-minute drive from the training ground, so he used to sneak onto the backs of lorries to get there.

His progress continued a few months later with a switch to ­top-flight Independiente Santa Fe before Brazilian giants Palmeiras recognised his talent in 2013.

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Last January, Mina was plunged into the multi-millionaire world of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez when Barcelona paid £11million and handed him a contract that ­included a £90million release clause.

It didn’t work out for the 24-year-old at the Nou Camp – he made just a handful of appearances for the Catalan giants – but he was a ­mainstay of the Colombia team that qualified for last summer’s World Cup.

Three goals in Russia – ­including a towering last-minute headed equaliser against England in the last 16 – illustrated Mina’s effectiveness in both boxes and prompted Everton to meet ­Barcelona’s asking price, despite a knee injury from which he has only just recovered, to take his place in Marco Silva’s side.

Mina was all smiles as he spoke about the incredible journey that has brought him to Merseyside.

It was Mina’s late equaliser that took England vs Colombia to penalties
(Image: Reuters)

“I smile because I am happy,” he insisted. “I don’t think anything I have spoken about here is real ­suffering. It does not compare to some of the things that my dad or some of my relatives have gone through, or what most of the people in my hometown go through every day.

“When I cross the white line, though, it is like putting on a mask. I have no friends on the pitch. If I was playing against my dad, I would have to dish it out to him as well. I am sorry, but I would!”

The last question was whether Mina had got to build the house he promised his mother.

“Oh yes,” he replied before he broke into another beaming smile.

Mina is playing his part for Everton’s new All Together Now charity campaign
(Image: Everton FC)

* Everton’s Premier League fixture against Watford on Monday evening will see the launch of ‘All Together Now’ – the Club’s campaign to celebrate and promote positive equality and diversity for all

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