Nathan Patterson has praised the versatility and influence of teammate James Garner and says Everton are raring to go for the coming Premier League campaign after a productive pre-season.
Garner was deployed in a hybrid wing-back/midfield role in the 1-0 victory over 19-time Portuguese champions Sporting CP on Saturday, meaning he worked in close proximity to Patterson as the Blues preserved their unbeaten run ahead of the competitive campaign.
The pair followed similar paths in the second half of last term under manager Sean Dyche, with both Patterson, 21, and Garner, 22, becoming increasingly important cogs of the side.
Garner continued his impressive form over the summer by helping England Under-21s win the Euros for the first time since 1984 - and Patterson says the relationship the pair have off the pitch also helps them on it.
"I enjoy playing with him," Patterson told evertonfc.com. "Obviously, he's a top player and it's always good to have someone like that in front of you.
"We work well together and we're good mates as well, so it's a good relationship we have.
"It was the first time playing so close to him but he showed last season he can be versatile.
"He knows different positions well - centre midfield, out wide and, obviously, he played right-back for England Under-21s in the Euros as well, so he's shown he can do a really good job in a number of positions and he's important for us."
After becoming a regular in the starting line-up following an injury to captain Seamus Coleman, Patterson's season was curtailed following a hamstring strain in the 1-1 draw at Wolves on the penultimate day of the campaign.
But he returned fit and ready to participate in the first day of pre-season and has since featured in all five of the Toffees' warm-up matches, with the Premier League opener against Fulham at Goodison Park now less than a week away.
"It was good to get another 90 minutes in the legs and, obviously, being at Goodison as well in front of the fans," Patterson added after the win over Sporting. "It was a tough game against a good team but it's great to get the win to finish the pre-season games.
"It was a really productive pre-season overall. I've really enjoyed it, starting with the camp in France and Switzerland and then different types of tests along the way with games over here and then a European side, it's been good for us.
"I'm feeling very good. I feel like I've got myself in a good place - I'm feeling really fit and ready to go for the start of the season. It's about staying there physically now and really kicking on for me.
"I just can't wait for next weekend now. The first game of the season here, we know it'll be a sell out and we know it'll be loud with the fans up for it."