APOSTOLOS VELLIOS created a small slice of Everton history when he trotted on 10 minutes from the end of the Blues’ recent Premier League match against Aston Villa.
The 19-year-old striker became the first Greek player to pull on a Royal Blue jersey – and he followed up with another appearance against Wolves last week.
But rather than making history, the youngster revealed he has spent the time since he signed for Everton learning about the club’s traditions and heritage.
“The club has a big history and Everton is a big name,” said the striker who signed from Iraklis Thessaloniki in January. “I know a lot of the names to have played here because there have been some famous players. I also saw a lot of Everton games and knew they were a very good team.
“I knew the Premier League well but as soon as I discovered Everton were interested in me then I started studying the club and the players and learning about them all.
“There are great players here but what I did not expect was for everyone to be so helpful and nice. They are all great characters.”
Everton’s links with Greek football prior to Vellios’ signing were few and far between.
There was the European Cup defeat by Panathinaikos – a Greek tragedy in the club’s history – a more recent, and successful, clash with AEK Athens, and a brief stint at Skoda Xanthi for the club’s most successful manager, Howard Kendall.
But Vellios hopes to make a more lasting impression at Goodison.
“The Premier League was my number one choice and as soon as I came here to Everton, saw the stadium, the training ground and met with the players and coach I knew this was the place for me. I was so impressed and I feel very good here and in the city as well,” he added.
“When I came here I said I wanted to live in the centre. I want to see people. I do not want to be outside of the city where it is quiet. In Greece it is different and every time I go out there is a lot of people, crowds of people and cars – lots of noise, which I like.
“My English is also improving. It is better every day and hopefully I will know everything soon.
“My father is now here with me and is helping. He was at the game with Aston Villa and then against Wolves. He was very proud, we are very close.”
The teenager went on: “Playing for the reserves is making me better and is improving my understanding of English football.
“If you play 90-minute games regularly it keeps you fit and in shape and ready. Also I have scored a few goals and that has helped me. It is always nice to score.
“I hope to get a few more chances to play and if I train well and play good football and my attitude is good then maybe I can take my chance. I know it is all about me.”