- To think I have played 289 games for the club is incredible and it is something which makes me immensely proud.
- If I am honest, though, I don’t want supporters to talk about me in future as someone who did well for Everton and played loads of games.
The Premier League is back after the summer break and we firmly believe at Everton that we are starting this new season from a position of strength.
It is our second season with Marco Silva in charge and we have developed a clear understanding of what he expects from us – in terms of focus and commitment every day on the training pitch and how we go about our business in matches.
We have added some excellent players to our squad – seven internationals all capable of coming straight into the team – and we will not shy away from saying that it is our ambition to break into the Premier League’s top six.
Equally, we appreciate how difficult it will be to displace any of the teams who finished in those positions last season.
They are all excellent sides and, by and large, consistent over long periods.
We are conscious, too, that it’s not only us wanting to chase down those teams. Wolves and Leicester, for example, are both ambitious and hungry for success.
If it is going to be us who gets among the leading pack then we must sustain the level of consistency we reached towards the end of last season.
We won six and drew three of our final 11 games. The effect that period had on our dressing room ran deeper than the results.
It demonstrated how we were applying the manager’s strategy and enjoying what we were doing.
Our performances were full of energy and we felt we were really stamping our style on matches.
What we were producing was good enough to beat Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United – and gave us an appreciation of our capability.
For our strong finish to really count for something, though, we need to carry that form and confidence into this season.