Lucas Digne says he is “100-per-cent fit” and ready to give everything to help Everton have a “great season”.
The left-back, who hurt his quadriceps representing France at the European Championship last month, played 70 minutes of Everton’s 1-0 victory over Pumas in Orlando on Wednesday.
Digne was on the field for 61 minutes of Sunday’s Florida Cup success against Millonarios, too, as manager Rafa Benitez progressively implements his methods.
Moise Kean scored the only goal against Pumas, capping a week of intense training in scorching temperatures.
For Digne, it was a first week of pre-season, the 28-year-old reporting back a fortnight after most his teammates following his involvement in the summer international tournament.
He sustained his injury playing against Portugal on 23 June.
“I feel very well, I worked very hard during my holidays, with my team, and now you can see I am 100 per cent,” Digne told evertontv.
“I am behind the team and I will give everything for the team.
“I want to see a very good, strong team all year. More consistent than the past few years.
“We have to take care of the detail, of course. We have to see a winning spirit – every game, not just some games.
“I think it can be a great season if we do that.
“It was good to finish the week with a victory.
“We are working very hard, with the conditions [during the week in Orlando] it wasn’t so easy but we have a good spirit and have to keep like this.
“We know we have to work very hard during pre-season
“We have just one more game to prepare and have to keep this spirit and keep working hard.”
Everton had chances to add to their lead against Pumas, gained when Kean strode onto a terrific pass from Demarai Gray and finished into an empty net after his initial effort was saved.
Anthony Gordon and James Rodriguez were both denied by smart stops from the Mexicans’ goalkeeper, Julio Gonzalez, and a second goal would have reflected Everton’s control.
Gray was excellent on his first start in an Everton shirt, while there was another encouraging 45 minutes for fellow new arrival Andros Townsend.
Benitez used his entire complement of players against Pumas, making nine changes at half-time and another three in the second 45 minutes.
The Spaniard has one more warm-up match – at Manchester United on 7 August – before his first competitive game in charge of Everton, the Premier League meeting with Southampton seven days later,
“He is a very good manager, everybody knows him,” said Digne.
“We have to adapt ourselves to his style, which is different, and every player has to give their best for the team.
“We are doing a lot of video, a lot of tactical work. I think it is good for the team.
“We have very good players and a very good team. Everybody is giving their best for the team and that is the most important thing.
“It was important to have a good spirit and work hard [throughout the week in America].
“To work hard in these conditions was not easy all week.
“It was very hot, it will be better to be back in England as soon as possible and we can feel the benefit next week.”
A productive day for Everton began with confirmation of the news captain Seamus Coleman had signed a contract keeping the Irishman at Goodison Park until at least the end of 2022/23.
Coleman, who signed in January 2009, has played 350 games for the Club and his new deal will take him into a 14th full campaign with Everton.
“I am so happy because he is a legend,” added Digne.
“He is a real captain on and off the pitch.
“We are so happy to keep him for one more year and hopefully he can stay 10 years more than that.”