Coach David Unsworth has challenged Everton Under-23s to “keep raising the bar” as his group of players report back for pre-season training.
The young Blues, along with the first-team squad, will reconvene at USM Finch Farm this morning to begin their preparations for the 2017/18 season.
And Unsworth has given the Premier League 2 winners plenty of advice before they get back to work.
He told evertonfc.com: “The best words of encouragement I’ve always had and what I pass on to the player is ‘stay fit and never miss a session in pre-season’.
“It’s never easy - it’s always a tough time.
“It’s all about getting your fitness and conditioning, tuning yourself back into the standards and expectations that come with being an Everton player.
“The bar has gone up and it keeps going up. These players have to rise to that and keep challenging themselves to be better every day and in every match.
“This Club is in a wonderful position and keeps getting better and better. It’s a really exciting time - what a place to be for a young player.”
Unsworth has also revealed how a number of his players have already been putting in the hard yards ahead of Monday’s official return date.
“They have all been off on their breaks and it has been well deserved,” he added. “I hope they have taken that time to rest up because pre-season seems to come around a lot quicker these days than it used to.
“We actually had 10 of the lads in for training on Friday so that tells you they are looking forward to coming back.”