Goalkeeper Sandy MacIver stressed the importance of building on Everton's progress this season after she was named the Club's Young Player of the Season.
MacIver rejoined the Club in January 2020 after spending three seasons with the Clemson Tigers in the United States.
The 22-year-old spent her youth in Everton's youth system and, since her return to the Blues, she has cemented herself as Willie Kirk's first-choice goalkeeper.
MacIver's impressive performances this campaign - including six clean sheets in the Women's Super League - merited recognition from her coaching staff as she was announced the Club's recipient for Young Player of the Season.
The award came as a pleasant surprise for the England international.
“It’s something I’m really proud of and I think it’s been a really good season for us," MacIver told evertontv.
"Willie has put a lot of his faith into me as a young goalkeeper which has been crucial for me, especially with my confidence."
Manager Kirk's style of play begins from the back with the distribution from his goalkeeper, as asset which MacIver views as her biggest strength this season.
“I know it’s something Willie is very keen on, playing out from the back and the goalkeeper being the starting point for that," she added.
“It’s always something I’ve worked on and I believe it is my biggest strength. I think that’s something that I bring to this team.
“It allows us to employ my style onto the team as well."
While Everton recorded their best league finish in a number of years, MacIver stressed there could be no complacency and that the team must push on.
“I think from the day Willie came in he made his intentions clear on where he wants to take this team," she added.
“Where we are now is an improvement on last year and the year before, but for us that’s not good enough.
“At the start of the season we set out that we wanted to get Champions League [football]. We have come short of that but I think the fact we have made an improvement on last season shows we’re heading in the right direction.
“I think we’ve shown that in the last month. Going into the last few games, fifth was settled for us. We couldn’t move up or down, but we came out against two big teams like Arsenal and Manchester United and matched them in our performances.
“We were a bit unlucky not to take points from both games, but I think that shows the mentality of the team that we’re still looking to push on even when statistically there’s probably nothing for us to fight for at this point in the season."
MacIver's success in a Blues shirt saw her debut for the Lionesses as she received her first senior England cap in February 2021, when she came off the bench for the final 29 minutes during a convincing win over Northern Ireland.
The experience of a senior England training camp and her first international cap was a special moment for MacIver.
“It was a very big game for me. It’s something since I have been back in England that I’ve really set my sights for. For it to have actually happened was a really proud day for me and hopefully it’s the first of many to build on.
“I think the quality of goalkeepers in the country is arguably the best pool of goalkeepers in the world.
“Competing with the likes of Ellie [Roebuck], Carly [Telford], Karen Bardsley and Hannah [Hampton] throughout the league every week is testament to the quality that we’ve got.
What a day to be a lioness🤩— Sandy (@SandyMacIver_) February 23, 2021
Wouldn’t be where I am today without my friends and family❤️ pic.twitter.com/h0qy1W8DLl
“My target this season and since I’ve been back with Everton is to cement my place as number one with the team and build upon my performance.
“For me, anything with England is a bonus and the fact that I was able to get my cap this year was again just a really big bonus for me."