Aaron Lennon has revealed he never saw eye-to-eye with Ronald Koeman during his time at Everton and was often left 'hurt' after being overlooked on countless occasions.
The 35-year-old initially joined the Blues on loan for the second half of the 2014/15 season, at which point Roberto Martinez was in charge of the side, and later joined the club on a permanent basis at the start of the following campaign.
Lennon made 31 appearances in all competitions during his first full season but saw opportunities gradually reduced following the appointment of Ronald Koeman in June 2016. Starting only six Premier League matches in Koeman's first year, the Leeds-born winger only worked his way back into contention the next season following the Dutchman's sacking in October 2017.
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Sharing his views on the contrasting experiences of working under Martinez and Koeman, Lennon told the Times: “Completely different characters. I went there on loan, amazing five months, I knew that was where I wanted to be, great feel to the club, really welcoming — it reminded me of Leeds the club, also like a family, and Everton fans were really great with me.
“Some people thought I was just a winger, they didn’t realise I defend, and I will work 100 per cent every game for the team. Before he’d even seen me, Koeman had made his mind up. I was training hard. I was on the bench. Sometimes I wasn’t even in the squad. No explanation. It did hurt.”
There were also struggles off the pitch during Lennon's time on Merseyside, with the player detained under the Mental Health Act in April 2017 after concerns for his welfare were raised.
His time at Everton came to an end nine months later as Burnley secured the services of the ex-England international on a two-and-a-half-year deal. It was at Turf Moor he worked under now Blues boss Sean Dyche, who Lennon has hailed for his support at a time of need.
"Sean Dyche was great for me,” he explained. “Amazing man-manager. There were still times when I was having bad days when I worked at Burnley, many low days, and he gave me that freedom. The doctor would be great with me. They knew I was still a work in process. In football, nobody really asks you how you feel, head-wise. People ask you as a token gesture. ‘Yes, I’m fine, how are you?’ But Sean really understood. He’d call me in the office and actually asked me how I was.”
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