Matty Foulds says Everton Under-23s' La Manga training camp has strengthened the bond between the players and laid the platform for another successful season.
Boss David Unsworth and his coaching staff – assistant manager John Ebbrell, coach Franny Jeffers and goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly – have overseen a series of demanding training sessions focussed on technique, fitness and teamwork.
Defender Foulds was part of the Under-23s’ side that won an unprecedented Premier League 2 and Premier League Cup double last term.
Manager Unsworth is now aiming to shape another winning team, with several members of Paul Tait’s Everton Under-18s making the step up to his squad.
Foulds revealed a strong team spirit has already been established within the new-look group, and believes the volume of work the players have undertaken in La Manga can underpin another strong campaign.
“It’s a great bonding time for us,” the 21-year-old told evertontv.
“We’ve got a very young squad this year, with the lads who have stepped up from the Under-18s.
“It’s very important for them to come here [to La Manga], train with us and get to know what Unsy is all about.
“The young lads have come in and done what Unsy wants and that’s what helps bring the group together.
“The training is very intense, and you need it. It puts you in good stead for the rest of the season.
“No other team will be working harder than us.
“We are a hard-working team. We always have been. We want to be the fittest in the league and that’s why we win trophies.”
A strong, composed defender with impressive ability on the ball, Foulds is comfortable playing at either centre-back or left-back.
Manager Unsworth, of course, excelled in those positions during a 17-year professional playing career that included 350 senior appearances for Everton, as well as spells at the likes of West Ham United, Portsmouth and Sheffield United.
Foulds says Unsworth is an inspiring leader, and added the Everton Giant’s vast experience marks him out as an ideal mentor.
“I’ve learned a lot from him, both as a player and outside of football,” he said.
“If there are things I don’t know about the positions I play, he can tell me because he’s got that knowledge.
“He’s played hundreds of games at the highest level, so it’s vital for me to learn from him for my career going forward.
“He’s created a real tight unit here, with the players and the staff.
“It’s just a great club to be at. Hopefully we can win trophies again.”