In the latest Everton news, Mason Holgate is hoping to compete for a regular starting spot next season after getting back into the swing of things with pre-season training.
Holgate came through Barnsley’s academy before going on to make 20 League One appearances in the 2014-15 campaign.
Everton, who are 10/3 to secure a top-six finish with Sky Bet, had been keeping an eye on his development for a while and they eventually signed the versatile defender in the summer of 2015 on a five-year deal.
His progress has stalled since joining the Toffees with opportunities tough to come by and he has made just 33 Premier League appearances in the last three years.
However, he is hopeful of finally getting his chance when the new season gets underway as he attempts to get his career back on track at Goodison Park.
The 21-year-old was involved in Everton’s 22-0 demolition of Austrian lower league outfit Irdning on Saturday, although there are likely to be much sterner tests ahead.
Marco Silva’s appointment this summer may well bring about more of a pathway to the first team for Holgate and he insists he will work hard to force his way into contention.
Holgate said: “Each year, you need to keep pushing on and I’m at a point where I want to be playing more often than not so I think this year’s big for me because I need to go out and prove I can do that week in, week out.
“There are a lot of young lads in our squad so it’s good for us to all hear that.
“If you look around, there’s not just me, there’s a few other boys and it’s a positive for us.
“When a new gaffer comes in, there’s always different things he wants but we’ve worked a lot on shape in the last two weeks and I think it’s only going to help us as a team and as a defensive unit. I’ve learned a lot.”