Ghana winger Christian Atsu starts fight for Everton playing time with sharp pre-AFCON showing

Ghana winger Christian Atsu could grab a starting place at English side Everton after the 2015 African Cup of Nations as he started his return from injury in promising fashion.

Atsu, who has struggled to gain playing time at the Toffees since joining the club on loan from Chelsea, has been told by coach Roberto Martinez that he will be given more playing time if he excels at the tournament in Equatorial Guinea.

Atsu started his preparation in promising fashion as the Ghana winger was on the scoresheet in a 3-0 warm-up victory against Portuguese club side SC Olhanense.

Atsu netted in the opener for the Black Stars on 20 minutes in a friendly played at the Algarve Stadium on Wednesday afternoon.

Kwesi Appiah and Jordan Ayew completed the scoring in the second half for Avram Grant’s side.

Everton boss Martinez believes Atsu will benefit from Ghana’s Cup of Nations campaign.

“It always takes time to adapt to the needs of the British game and it takes time to settle in,” Martinez said.

“Christian has been doing very well in training and he is ready now to have a big impact on the side, that’s the way I feel.

“It is disappointing that he has to go away now but, if he can play some games and get some minutes under his belt we can pick that up when he gets back.”

Ghana begin their involvement in the African Nations Cup against Senegal on Monday 19 January.

Further fixtures in Group C follow against Algeria on Friday 23 January and South Africa on Tuesday 27 January.

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