Gana relishing pre-season challenge

Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye believes that the opportunity to spend a full pre-season with his teammates will enhance his value to the club even further.

The Senegal international, signed during the final week of the Premier League off-season in 2016, needed to hit the ground running at Goodison Park and did so with aplomb, even challenging Romelu Lukaku for two of the club's top accolades.

Speaking to the club's official website, Gueye made it clear that a period of rest followed by a comprehensive pre-season regime will see him perform at an even higher level.

“It was a long season so it [the summer] is a time to cut off from it all and have a break, relax and rest up. I have to make use of the time to see my mates, the family, go away with my wife and child. Then I will be back here," the 27-year old stated.

“Everyone knows that it is vital for a player to get in a full pre-season. It’s all about charging the batteries so you can last longer throughout the whole season," he continued.

“I arrived in early to mid-August last year so I didn’t manage to get that full pre-season, but I struck lucky because I came across a good bunch of lads and a good squad that helped me settle in.”

Gueye went on to say that his nomination for the club's Player of the Season and Player's Player of the Season awards was a source of motivation for him to lift his game even further.

“To be voted amongst the top two players at the Club is great but something I didn’t expect – it is something that makes me want to focus and work even harder for next season.

"This [last] season hasn’t been bad. I’m quite satisfied with my first year at Everton but I know I can improve. 

“We’ve achieved our first objective, which is to qualify for the European places. We are aware there’s lots of work to be done over the summer to go again,” he concluded.