Evans Relishing Under-23s' Stamford Bridge Opener

by Peter Lennox

Everton Under-23s midfielder Antony Evans insists he is ready to “kick on” for the young Blues, as he revealed David Unsworth’s intense pre-season programme has got him feeling fighting fit ahead of the new campaign.

The Toffees begin their Premier League 2 season against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge on Sunday (kick-off 1pm), and Evans is eager to get started after having his 2017/18 campaign prematurely brought to a halt by a knee injury in March.

The 20-year-old was flying before he suffered the setback, acting as one of the young Blues’ chief creative forces while offering a constant goal threat himself.

Indeed, his performances impressed boss Unsworth to the extent he was handed the captaincy of the side.

The midfielder says he determined to pick up where he left off last season.

“With my injury, it was a bit of a kick in the teeth coming at the time it did,” Evans explained. “But I got straight back into pre-season and had no issues with it [the knee injury].

“Pre-season has been tough but I’m feeling physically strong now. Unsy works us hard to say they the least! He makes us put a shift in no matter what.

“Our week in La Manga was the hardest but all the lads know what we want to get out of it and I think we did that. Once we got back from there we have had a lot of matches and it has been important to get that game time.

“Now I am just looking forward to Chelsea. It’s a chance to kick on.”

The young Blues had their final friendly ahead of the new campaign last Saturday, playing out a fiercely-competitive 0-0 draw at Manchester United.

The clash rounded off an impressive pre-season for Unsworth’s side, who had hit 11 goals in their previous three warm-up games. After winning 3-1 at Bamber Bridge, they saw off Stockport County 4-2 before thumping Chester 4-1.

Evans says he is now eager for the Premier League 2 action to get under way and is looking forward to the opportunity to showcase his quality at Stamford Bridge on Sunday afternoon.

“Last week against United was a good run out and a good end to pre-season,” he said. “We finished the game really strongly – we were well on top in the second half – and I think that’s a good sign.

“We are ready for Sunday now. Playing at Stamford Bridge will be a good experience for us, too. Those are the type of stadiums you want to play in.”

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