Tom Davies says he must impress Ronald Koeman all over again – and accepts he is involved in a fierce battle for a spot in Everton’s midfield this season.
Davies made his first Toffees Premier League start on the final day of the 2015/16 campaign but it was under Koeman last term that the teenager established himself as an instrumental figure in the team.
The Academy graduate started 18 of Everton’s 19 Premier League matches after the turn of the year and won rave reviews for a string of mature, forceful and innovative performances.
Nevertheless, with Morgan Schneiderlin, Idrissa Gana Gueye and Mo Besic all jostling for berths in the Blues' engine room - with James McCarthy also closing in on full fitness - Davies appreciates he cannot afford to rest on his laurels.
“Last season is last season,” said Davies. “The manager is focused on what is ahead – and that is like us.
“I do not think you get a place in the team off what you did last season. It is all about this season and proving yourself again.
“But it is a challenge you look forward to. I have reflected on last season with people close to me. We talked about that and we discussed what I needed to do this season and what it would be like.
“It is kind of tough to map it out because you do not know what is going to happen, but it is another test.”
Davies’ startling rise to prominence was recognised internationally when he was handed an England Under-21 debut last month in a 3-0 victory over Latvia.
On his second start for the Young Lions this week he scored the only goal of the game as Aidy Boothroyd’s team beat Andorra 1-0.
The England starting XI in the Pyrenean principality contained a remarkable five players from Everton, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman, Jonjoe Kenny and Kieran Dowell, who is spending this season on loan with Nottingham Forest, all lining up alongside match-winner Davies.
Calvert-Lewin, Lookman and Kenny, in common with Davies, have all made their mark on the Toffees’ first-team in 2017 after being given chances by Koeman.
And Davies, who has started six Everton fixtures in all competitions this season, insists each of the Club’s young players are aware of the importance of continually striving to improve their standards. Especially after a summer which saw the squad strengthened with the addition of nine new faces.
“After Christmas, last season was good for me,” continued Davies. “But this year... there will be ups and downs. You just need to be ready for them.
“I think it is going to be a lot harder than it was last season, especially with the signings we have made.
“People expect it from you now. Although we are still young, we have had our breakthrough – that first season – so now you have to step up and do it all again, which I am sure will be tough.
“For us all, really, it is about trying to impress the manager again... as if you have just come into the squad.”