Midfielder Angharad James says the consensus that teams “hate playing Everton” shows the Toffees made a successful return to WSL 1.
While the Blue Girls finished ninth in their first campaign back at the top table of the women's game, their form across the season shows there is plenty to build on ahead of the 2018/19 campaign.
James, who was named the Club’s Player of the Season, believes there are areas where Everton must improve in order to push up the standings but saw enough this term to know they are progressing in the right direction.
“Expectations coming into the year were to compete and we have done that,” she said. “In most matches we have given teams a good game. We have heard it from a lot of sides that they hate playing Everton, and that is credit to us.
“There are elements that we need to improve on but I feel we aren’t far off as a club and as players. We have got pre-season in July to put things right and be ready for next year.
“We know we still have a way to go in terms of challenging the top teams in the league, even though we have given them good games when we have played them. There are still those fine margins that we need to improve on.
“But to think that this has been our first season as a full-time club – with a lot of the girls experiencing that for the first time – and we’ve competed, it tells you plenty about us.”
James still admits she is surprised by the decision to name her Player of the Season following her first year at the Club. The Wales international made 21 appearances across all competitions, establishing herself as a key component of Andy Spence’s side.
But the 23-year-old insists the team performance will always come first and is working hard to ensure she is even better next season.
“Football is a team game,” she added. “If I really wanted to pick up all of these individual awards, I would have played tennis instead! You can have individual performances but, if I didn’t have the group of girls that I have here at Everton, then I wouldn’t have been able to put on those displays that I did.
“My teammates have helped me through the season and I will always talk about the team over myself.
“It is still a surprise for me that I won Player of the Season because I don’t feel like a standout performer. I feel like the team has helped me as much as I have helped the team.
“I know my own ability and where that can take me. I feel like I have a lot more to work on ready for next year and there are a lot more improvements I know I can make on the pitch and in the gym.
“I want to work even harder for next year. This first season has been a stepping stone and I know I have to push on again. But the girls will help me with that and I will do all I can to be an even better player in the future.”