EVERTON’S media officers were understandably twitchy about questions regarding Marouane Fellaini’s immediate future.
They needn’t have worried.
The in-form Belgian brought up the subject unprompted, and was happy to predict an Everton hereafter involving his significant skills.
But, as always with Fellaini, there was a caveat.
“I want to give everything for Everton,” he said. “They brought me here from Standard Liege and gave me my chance to play in the Premier League, and I always want to repay them for that.
“I had two big injuries here and they stuck by me and I worked very hard to come back from them. I feel good now in terms of my fitness.
“If Everton finish in the top four then I’m happy to stay because I want to play in the Champions League. I’d be happy to do that at Everton. I want to do that.”
Everton’s intensely frustrating defeat at Reading at the weekend saw the Blues slip out of the Premier League’s top four for pretty much the first time all season.
The next month could be pivotal to their hopes of climbing back into the Champions League frame.
After Saturday’s visit of Norwich, for which Fellaini is suspended, the Blues face Arsenal, champions Manchester City and Tottenham in the space of 11 days.
It is a testing spell which could advertise just how realistic Everton’s ambitions are for the rest of the campaign.
“The run of games we have coming up will have a big impact on our season,” said Fellaini. “The big teams win games against the likes of Reading or Fulham, or the one we have on Saturday against Norwich.
“Norwich won’t be easy but we can win. It’s difficult but the three points is something we really need. If we want to finish in the top four then we need to win games like that.
“Obviously I’m suspended for that one, but If I’m not playing, then I like to speak to the players beforehand and be involved.
“This is a big month for us, we’ll know a lot more about how well we can do this season afterwards. We have a lot of points up for grabs and it can make a big difference.
“As I’ve said, we’ve got some very good players here, but if we can bring in one or two more in January then it will be a big, big help.”
Fellaini was speaking as an ambassador for the Blues 25-year-old Everton in the Community charity. Today he celebrates his own 25th birthday – an age when modern midfielders are reaching their peak – but despite the enormous influence he has exerted already on Everton’s season, he believes there is even better to come.
And he hopes that it is at Goodison Park, as an out and out midfielder.
“I don’t think I’ve reached the best football I can play in my career,” he added. “I train hard and give my maximum for the club. I love it here. I hope to be even better in the future.
“I don’t know where my best position is to be honest. I know I can play as a number six in midfield. But the manager is the one you want to be asking. He decides where I’m going to play.
“Whether it’s as a number six, a number eight or a number 10, I will always give my all.
“How can I improve? I can just do everything a little bit better.”
Evertonians, and Fellaini himself it seems, hope that improvement comes wearing the Royal Blue of Everton.
A convincing victory on Saturday would certainly help in that quest.