Everton Ladies vice captain Kelly Jones believes a period of reflection has rejuvenated the Blues ahead of the 2017 season.
The Toffees are back in training and Jones is happy to be back kicking a football once again. Reunited with her teammates, the midfielder has seen plenty of positivity in the group and believes the break has been utilised to good effect.
“We’ve had quite a long break, which was needed but it’s great to be back in with the girls and playing football again,” Jones said. “It’s difficult when you don’t meet your goals at the end of a season, so a long break to refresh and come back with new ideas and new enthusiasm is a good thing.
“I think when you do fall short of a target, then you do need a period of reflection. We’ve done that as individuals and as a squad. After that, you need to draw a line under it, put it to the side and move on from that.”
For Jones, the previous campaign ended with mixed emotions. The pain of missing out on promotion was tempered by scooping the club’s Player of the Season award.
She is keen to carry that good form into the New Year, and, given her status as one of the senior players in the squad, lead the way for some of her younger teammates.
“It gives you a great feeling to receive awards, especially when they are the opinion of your manager or teammates,” she continues. “I was shocked to receive it but it was great.
“There’s not more pressure because of the awards but I think there is responsibility because I’m one of the senior players now and expectation comes with that. We all have to perform to our highest levels.
“I’m looking forward to challenging myself again and hopefully I can put in the same type of performances consistently again next season.
“I’ve done some coaching in the past and that side of things is something I have enjoyed,” she adds. “I was involved doing some coaching here up until last season and I only stopped because of work commitments.
“I’m always looking out for up and coming players. Everton have got a very good youth structure in place and it’s our job, as a first team, to try and keep the team competing at the highest possible level to give these players a good platform to perform.”