Everton leftback Leighton Baines can’t wait to get started. After a 2015-16 season marred by injury which possibly resulted in the player losing his spot on the England squad for the Euro 2016 tournament, Baines wants to make sure he gets the upcoming season off to a good start.
The 31-year-old has already resumed his fitness training at Finch Farm since the beginning of last week, and had an opportunity to meet new manager Ronald Koeman last Friday during the Dutchman’s first official press conference.
In an interview with evertontv, here is what the defender had to say -
“I had a break with some time away with the family. I was doing bits whilst I was away and, being back now, I’ve been in to Finch Farm because it is a more comfortable environment for training with having the gym to yourself and all the correct facilities, bearing in mind the specific things that we get in our programmes over the summer.
“I’m in the middle of that now and I’m trying to get some work done and into decent shape for when we all start back.”
Baines will want to be in peak physical condition after reports earlier this week that Koeman’s coaching unit is planning a strenuous pre-season when the squad returns to training in early July.
“It’s been really relaxing with time to switch off. I’ve spent time with the family in a change of environment. When you get the opportunity to do that, you enjoy it but then get to the point where you start wanting to come back.
“The most difficult thing for me during the summer is doing nothing. I start getting a bit anxious about losing fitness. The difficult thing is forcing myself to take 10 to 14 days of total rest. I’m always happy when I’m away enjoying family time but I’m training as well.”
He made no mention of the snub by Roy Hodgson, but did say that he had tried to keep up to date with what had been going on at Euro 2016, where all seven of Everton’s representatives have made it into the knockout rounds.
“I’ve caught a couple of games. I’ve been away in America so the time difference is quite significant.
“Tournaments normally tend to start a bit edgy then catch fire towards the end of the group stage when the pressure is on.
“The knockout stages are when it gets really interesting so I’m looking forward to seeing the upcoming games, especially the games which our lads are concerned as well.”