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

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

James McCarthy believes he is already feeling the benefits of a longer than usual summer break.

The Republic of Ireland midfielder pulled out of a series of post-season international friendlies in May due to a persistent ankle problem.

However, the 23-year-old, a September 2013 arrival from Wigan Athletic, is now feeling fully refreshed and ready to follow up his impressive first campaign at the Club.

Speaking exclusively to evertontv from the Toffees' training camp in Austria, McCarthy said: "It was a nice and chilled summer after I pulled out of the Republic squad.

James McCarthy

"My ankle had been bothering me and I spoke to the gaffer, Martin O'Neill, and he was okay with it, and obviously it was good to get a good break and I enjoyed my summer.

"I think it will make me a lot fresher. I had a niggle with my ankle and it's given it time to heal. I feel a lot fresher than I did at the end of last season.

"Now it's back to work and I'm looking forward to getting started again."

Watch the video above now to see what else McCarthy had to say about the return to pre-season, what it's like being put through your paces by Roberto Martinez and why he's targeting silverware in the coming campaign^.

^ Users of the Official Everton App will need to navigate to the 'Video' section.  

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