Ashley Young admitted that while building fitness is the key objective in pre-season, securing victories along the way could prove important in helping to grow confidence in camp ahead of the Premier League’s return next month.
The versatile campaigner became the Club's first summer signing earlier this month and marked his maiden appearance for the Blues by thundering home a brilliant strike just after the hour mark to help Everton overcome Wigan Athletic 1-0 at the DW Stadium.
It’s Everton's second win in as many pre-season matches after they dispatched Stade Nyonnais with a 2-1 victory over in Switzerland last week, and Young believes building momentum, even at this early stage of the summer, can help the Blues make a positive start to the new season.
“When you’re winning games, you build that winning mentality, and you get full of confidence,” he told evertontv.
“That’s where you want to be going into the start of the season. You want to start the season well. Hopefully, we can do that. Keep building in the games we have got coming up in pre-season. We have got tough games coming up, but while it’s about fitness, when you’re winning games it breeds confidence throughout the whole squad.
“Hopefully, we can continue doing that.”
There was a competitive edge to proceedings against the League One side on Saturday afternoon, although, it was Everton who produced the game’s best moments and came away worthy winners.
“The weather didn’t help us,” young added. “In July, we thought it would be sunny weather but pre-season games can be tough, so we knew it wasn't going to be easy coming here, it was always going to be tough.
“It’s about getting your fitness, but you want to put on a performance as well. In spells and in parts of the game, we were on top. We were on the front foot. We defended well, too. It was a team performance.”
The game was Young’s first in front of the travelling Toffees, and despite the contest only being a friendly, the winger was left blown away by the support on show at the DW Stadium and the 38-year-old admits the clash has whet his appetite further for his maiden Goodison appearance in royal blue.
“I’ve said from the minute I signed I can’t wait to play in front of the Everton fans,” said Young. “The fans are fantastic – there were more Evertonians than Wigan fans here today! They were fantastic and I cannot wait to get to Goodison Park and to be playing in front of them.”
"It felt amazing to be back on the pitch. Pre-season is about getting your fitness, but to get on the scoresheet and get the win - that's how you want to start it."@youngy18 on his #EFC debut, winning goal and pre-season so far... 🎙 pic.twitter.com/5loomRbQD5— Everton (@Everton) July 22, 2023