Neville eyes strong start

Timing of recruitment has been key problem, says Everton captain

Phil Neville: Hoping that stability will ensure a stronger start for the Toffees

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Everton skipper Phil Neville believes a summer of stability leaves the Toffees well placed to put an end to their habit of slow starts.

Everton have become notorious for struggling in the early stages of the season under manager David Moyes before invariably finishing their campaigns strongly.

Neville feels part of the explanation is down to key losses of players late in the summer transfer window - the exit of Mikel Arteta to Arsenal on deadline day last year being an example.

That's a problem Everton appear likely to avoid this year and their captain reckons that bodes well.

"People always ask me why we start the season poorly and only once in my time here have we started well and that was when we signed Joleon Lescott, Tim Howard and Andrew Johnson early in the summer," said the 35-year-old.

"We have looked into many things but I think it is the recruitment which has been most important.

"When it is done early there is not the uncertainty of who we are bringing in or who is leaving.


"Last season the panic and nervousness of the fans spread to the team and I have to admit the team were probably anxious as well.

"We wanted to be challenging for European places and we knew with the squad we had in the first few months it was not deep enough to do that.

"We all maybe felt a bit sorry for ourselves or a little bit disappointed but then at Christmas when Nikica Jelavic, Landon Donovan and (Darron) Gibson game in it was a totally different feeling around the place.

"All of the sudden there was a challenge of competing for your place again and we were probably the form team of the last six months.

"That calmness has gone into us all because we have recruited early and with eight days to go in the transfer window there is no panic if we don't bring anyone in."