Mason Holgate says the confidence Everton have in his ability has underpinned his belief he can flourish at the top level.
The centre-back also revealed Marco Silva has already had a positive impact on his game and believes his approachable nature makes him an ideal manager to learn from.
The 21-year-old defender has made an impressive start to the season after being thrust into action as a 40th-minute substitute in the Blues’ 2-2 opening day draw with Wolverhampton Wanderers.
It was Holgate’s first competitive game since March, after he missed the latter stages of the 2017-18 campaign having undergone ankle surgery.
He says he is now “100-per-cent fit and feeling strong” and says the belief shown in him by the Club has been given him a further boost ahead of the new campaign.
“It helps a lot,” he said. “You see a lot of new signings come in but when the Club come comes out and say they see a future for you here, it gave me a lot of confidence.
“They believe I can come in and do the job – and hopefully that’s what I’ve been doing so far.
“I am feeling good now.”
Holgate missed much of Everton’s pre-season preparations as he continued his rehabilitation from surgery but has swiftly got up to speed and produced a series of accomplished performances.
He has made 29 clearances already this season, the fifth highest in the Premier League. Holgate has also showcased his quality in possession – he had an impressive 87.3-per-cent pass success rate in the Blues’ last Premier League game against Huddersfield Town.
The defender – who signed for Everton from Barnsley in 2015 – believes he has already developed under boss Silva.
He says the Portuguese has created an encouraging, challenging atmosphere at USM Finch Farm and is always ready and willing to offer advice.
“I’ve had a couple of meetings with him, just to clear up certain aspects of my game that he has seen or things wants me to do,” he revealed. “It’s helping me out a lot because it’s clear what he wants, then hopefully I can go out and do it.
“I’m really enjoying it [playing under Silva]. Being young, there are still some things I might not be clear on and I feel I can go to the manager and ask questions and he doesn’t have a problem with that. It makes it a lot easier for me.
“He’s been showing us things, we’ve been getting used to his methods. It’s not just me but I think the rest of the boys are benefiting from it. It’s down to very fine details. We’re getting more and more clued up and everybody knows what each other’s jobs are.
“And with the small-sided games, the team shape and the possession we are working on in training – it’s all match-realistic.
“So, with the training I did, I knew I was up to the kind of speed needed for games because I was doing so in training.”
Holgate says the Blues will head into Sunday's game against West Ham United full of confidence they can secure three points and continue their unbeaten start to the season.
Everton will have a number of players unavailable through injury and suspension for the game at Goodison Park, but the England Under-21 international insists they have the depth of talent to emerge victorious against the Hammers.
“Despite the players that are out, we are still going to field a good team and I feel we are going to still do well,” he said. “In every position, we have two or three players who can play there comfortably.
“I think that’s the good thing about our squad, we have got really good depth.
“We believe we can cause anyone problems. On our day, we can beat anybody.”