By Sky Sports News
Last Updated: 09/12/18 10:12am
Yerry Mina says growing up in poverty in Colombia means he now has the mindset that he has to “earn his mum’s dinner” every time he steps foot on the pitch.
The Everton defender revealed he was so poor as a child he used to jump on the back of lorries to travel to training so he could avoid paying the bus fare.
Mina says, when he was 14, he told his mother he would “make sure you will be fed from the hand of God” by earning a living as a professional footballer.
Everton vs Watford
December 10, 2018, 7:00pm
He has played for Barcelona, starred for his country at the World Cup and earned a move to the Premier League, and said: “Wherever I travel in the world to play my football, my motivation before I go out on the field I always say it is my mum’s dinner.
“Either the striker’s mum’s dinner or mine. To be strong physically and mentally on the field I say to myself I am going out to earn my mum’s dinner.
“It comes from that childhood, the time when things were tough. It’s not an easy place to grow up and I look back and am motivated to serve as an example to kids growing up the same way.
“I do it for them. I want to be a perfect role model for those kids back home.”
Mina has impressed for Everton since finally making his debut last month after several months out with injury.
The Toffees have only conceded two goals in the five matches he has played, and the 24-year-old says that is no surprise given his determination not to allow the ball into his side’s net.
“It’s all about winning your individual battles and coming out on top in any one-on-ones,” Mina said. “It hurts me so much when we lose, even when we concede a goal.
“That’s how it should be. There are no friends when I go out on the field. If I was playing against my dad I would have to dish it out to him as well. I am sorry, but I would.”