Seamus Coleman says he has witnessed “more leaders” emerge within the Everton squad, as he underlined the importance of team spirit and resilience to the Blues achieving success in 2021/22.
Coleman is in the thick of his 13th pre-season as an Everton player, having joined the Club from Sligo Rovers in January 2009 for £60,000.
He signed a new one-year contract with Everton last week and declared he will “continue fighting tooth and nail” to help the Blues realise their ambitions.
Coleman says the squad's collective strength of character will hold the key to achieving greater consistency and improving on last season’s performance.
And he picked out three of Everton’s young players whose professionalism, application and communication skills have impressed him.
“Slowly but surely, we are gathering some more leaders across the squad,” he told evertontv.
“The younger lads are coming in. Tom [Davies] has captained the Club numerous times, Mason [Holgate] has captained the Club and is a loud voice in the dressing room.
“Ben Godfrey has come in and is an unbelievable character with a lot of leadership qualities.
“But it's something we all need to do as a group for the bigger picture – every day turn up with the leadership skills.
"If you are in the team or not, it shouldn't change what we are like as a group.
“And I do see that improving, definitely.
"We need to have more of a tougher resilience. We had some great moments last year and then fell away at times.
“Like I've said numerous times, it's about improving and having that team spirit, but to have that team spirit you need good results.
“If we can start the season well and can stay on top of the little things then we can improve on what has been a disappointing couple of seasons in terms of league positions.
"We know, as players, we need to be achieving a lot higher position than that.”
Speaking during Everton’s trip to Florida last week, new signing Andros Townsend hailed Coleman’s influence in helping him swiftly settle into life at Everton.
Townsend also described the Irishman as a “great leader” and explained how he will aim to use his experience to support the Blues’ younger talents on and off the pitch.
The England international is only two weeks into his Toffees career, but Coleman says he has already shown qualities which will endear him to Evertonians.
“Everton Football Club has always been about hard work,” said the Blues skipper.
“Talent is so important to us but it's been about roll your sleeves up and working hard – the fans take to that a lot.
“Andros, since he came in, has shown that in training and you can see his work ethic is there. I've been sitting beside him a lot at dinner and having good conversations – he's got that experience and professionalism to help us going forward.”
Coleman added: “I do think, as captain, you have a responsibility to players and staff to make them all feel welcome and make them feel part of it because, if we are all going in the right direction, we can only be stronger.
“It's my job to make new players feel as welcome as possible.”