6 great sport channels
Football, Rugby, UFC, GAA
All free when you join eir Broadband
Everton players have returned to pre-season training ahead of schedule as manager Ronald Koeman bids to get to know his squad.
Koeman was appointed as Roberto Martinez's successor in June and the new manager has wasted little time in making changes by recalling the squad from their summer break.
The majority of the first team had been due to report for pre-season training on Thursday, but Koeman has opted to bring them back three days early to ensure he gets acquainted with the squad before they depart for a training camp in Austria.
“I’m very much looking forward to getting down to work. I’m extremely full of energy after a long summer and the players have had a lot of holidays as well," Koeman told evertontv.
“That's one of the reasons I decided to change the date for starting the pre-season because it was planned in for 7 July and we changed it to 4 July because I think the best pre-season is five or six weeks of planning.
“After a long holiday, the boys need to work and to get back fit to play football.”
Koeman has been joined at Everton by assistant manager Erwin Koeman, fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg and Patrick Lodewijks, who will take over as goalkeeping coach and the Dutchman believes it is important for the players to get used to the new regime as quickly as possible.
“With a new technical staff, we need to show them how we will work together. (We will look at) organising in the training sessions, we will have some good friendly matches and it's all about preparing the team for the first Premier League game," he explained.
"In pre-season, you get time to know all the players, to know the young players and, okay, you have the training sessions, but around the training sessions you have time enough to have a coffee with them and to have a talk to them.
“Of course, they need to know the manager, they need to know the rest of the technical staff and we need to know the players, the characters of the players and that's important. You get that time more in pre-season.”