Ashley Williams has given an insight into Ronald Koeman’s “smart” approach to management and how he gets the best out of Everton’s first-team squad.
The Wales has enjoyed 15 full seasons in professional football, working under a host of different managers during his climb up the League pyramid.
And even at the age of 32, with more than 600 club appearances and 70 international caps to his name, Williams says Koeman has taught him plenty about the art of defending.
Koeman placed trust in Williams, selecting the centre-back for every Premier League match he was available for following his August switch from Swansea City.
The only match the Wales captain missed was Leicester City’s visit to Goodison Park in April when he was ruled out through suspension.
“The main thing that sticks out is how much he keeps pushing you and driving you on, every day in training, every game we play,” said Williams when quizzed about his first full season under Koeman’s tutelage.
“He won’t accept anything other than 100-per-cent effort and he’s very smart with the way that he manages the team. I’ve enjoyed my first season with him.
“He’s obviously one of the best defenders there has been and you only have to look at what he won as a player to see he deserves respect. He’s been great for us and he wants us to push on.”
Williams will have a full pre-season to work alongside Koeman when he reports back on 3 July.
This is a contrast to last year when he joined from Swansea on the eve of the campaign and made his Blues debut from the bench in the second game at West Bromwich Albion.
Williams reflects on his first year at the Club as one of progress and a launchpad to achieve more in 2017/18.
The Blues have already been active in the transfer market, with Williams having two new teammates in Jordan Pickford and Davy Klaassen.
“The ambition the Club is showing, we are definitely going in the right direction,” he added. “We’ve had a good season but it’s one we expected or wanted from ourselves. Hopefully we can go better from here.
“There is a lot of ambition, a desire to keep moving forward and that’s only positive for us as players to be part of it.”