Tyias Browning insists he will work through the summer as he bids to reach peak fitness to stake his claim for the Blues' first team.
The Liverpool-born defender endured a frustrating 12 months after sustaining a serious knee injury in December 2015 but, having penned a new two-and-a-half year contract extension in January, he spent the second half of the 2016/17 campaign on loan at Preston North End.
After an impressive start with the Championship outfit, Browning suffered a minor setback before returning for the final game of the season to make his eighth outing with the Lilywhites.
Everton are set to reconvene at USM Finch Farm on 3 July - and Browning says he is doing all he can as prepares to try to impress manager Ronald Koeman.
“I’ve had enough time off with my injury, so I don’t need the summer off,” he told evertonfc.com. “I’ll be working away, trying to get back to peak fitness in time for the start of pre-season. I’ll have a short holiday, but the work doesn’t stop for me this summer. I’ll be in and out of the training ground and doing my own bits.
“Unfortunately for me, the season had to end when it did but I’ve been glad to be back out there on the pitch. I’m enjoying being able to play football again. Obviously, I’ve had a difficult two seasons and it’s been very stop-start but my time at Preston has helped me.
“I missed the last pre-season with my injury so it’s important I get a full one under my belt this time around. It’s an opportunity for me to impress the manager and his staff, I’ve got a lot to prove and I want to work my way in. I’m looking forward to it.
“Because of the time I’ve been out injured and the loan spell, I haven’t had a chance to work with the manager too much yet so I’m looking forward to it.”
Browning featured at right-back during his stint in Lancashire, the same position he has played in all nine of his first-team outings for the Toffees to date.
And while the 23-year-old sees his long-term future in a central role, one he has played regularly for David Unsworth’s Under-23s side, he is happy to offer versatility if it means more playing time.
“I played right-back for Preston,” Browning added. “Looking at the long-term, I’d like to be a centre-back but it’d be good to play both.
“I’m happy to do either if it means minutes on the pitch and I can help the team.”