James McCarthy has enjoyed a well-earned break and is now raring to go as Everton count down the days to the new season.
The Republic of Ireland international has used the summer to rid himself of a niggling ankle problem and work his way back to full fitness.
The 23-year-old says he is now feeling ‘fresher’ and ready to face the challenges of a second campaign at Goodison Park.
His first can be considered a success, as he made 39 appearances under Roberto Martinez, but the intention is to ensure that 2014/15 is even better.
McCarthy said in the Liverpool Echo: “I had a nice summer, pretty chilled.
“I pulled out of the Republic of Ireland squad because my ankle had been bothering me. Martin O’Neill was okay with it.
“For me, it was good to get a break in. I enjoyed my summer, but now it’s back to work. I’m looking forward to getting started again.
“I think the rest will make me a lot fresher and a lot fitter.
“I had a niggle with my ankle, and that has given it time to heal. I feel a lot fresher than I did at the end of the season.”
On Everton’s ambitions heading forward, McCarthy added: “We want to go and win things.
“This is a fresh start, a long season, and one that we are all looking forward to. There are a lot of games and a lot of competition, but we want to win things.
“Pre-season has been good. I don’t mind it. It’s been difficult over the first few days, but it’s good to be back. The boys are really enjoying it and now we’re looking forward to the season getting underway.
“It’s hard work, but enjoyable at the same time.”