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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Roberto Martinez and his Everton players were met by a  special welcoming party ahead of their first training session in the Austrian town of Laa an der Thaya on Tuesday.
Martinez, captain Phil Jagielka and Leon Osman were introduced to the town’s mayor, vice-mayor and former Austria international Toni Pfeffer as the Blues gathered at the home of local side SC Laa to kick off five days of intense pre-season preparations.
Pfeffer, a left-back, spent his entire career with Sunday’s first pre-season opponents Austria Vienna, racking up 396 appearances.
He was also capped 63 times for his country before becoming a sports co-ordinator for the local government of Lower Austria, the area in which Laa an der Thaya lies.

Austria welcome

Pfeffer and mayor Manfred Fass presented the trio with a silver platter, a bound book detailing the town’s history and a bottle of wine native to what is a proud grape-producing region.

By way of thanks, Jagielka and Osman handed over Everton shirts before inviting their hosts to a pitchside view of training.

Everton will tackle Pfeffer’s former employers and the current Austrian champions on Sunday – a game which will be shown live on evertontv.
For more information or to buy up to six pre-season games, click here.

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