Phil Jagielka acknowledged there is much more to come from the new-look Everton - but the skipper went home satisfied after the Toffees got the 2017/18 Premier League season off to a winning start.
Everton and Stoke City played out a relatively uneventful first half before Wayne Rooney’s match-winning qualities came to the fore in Saturday’s 1-0 victory over the Potters.
Jagielka, beginning his 11th season at Goodison, accepted the Blues, who fielded six league debutants, didn’t click in top gear but were still worthy winners against a typically resilient Stoke side.
“The performance wasn’t up to the standard we want it to be at but three points and a clean sheet is a good start to the season,” said Jagielka.
“We are building towards better performances and more exciting games but the first game is always difficult, especially on a warm day.
“It’s fantastic that Wayne gets off the mark in his first league game, so there are still a lot of positives to take from today. But there is a tough couple of weeks ahead of us so we are not getting carried away.”
Rooney’s 45th-minute header arrived exactly 4869 days after the England captain last struck for the Blues - against Leeds United in April 2004.
“Wayne brings experience and calmness,” Jagielka paid tribute. “He has quality in certain areas and today he scored a great goal. It was a fantastic cross from Dominic [Calvert-Lewin] and a great header.
“Once we get used to playing with Wayne and he gets used to playing with us a little more, he is going to become more dangerous. He’s a fantastic addition and, as you can see, he enjoyed himself today.”