Defender Michael Keane has stated that the Everton squad will begin the Premier League season next week fitter than they’ve ever been.
The players have had their fitness put to the test by Sean Dyche and his team over the summer and Keane insists that the pre-season regime will ‘stand us in good stead’.
Indeed, the £30m defender and his teammates participated in Sean Dyche’s summer tradition of ‘Gaffer’s Day’ recently, a gruelling work out that consists of large amounts of running.
Speaking with the Liverpool Echo about the pre-season routine under Dyche, Keane said: “It has been about fitness, sharpness, and being mentally and physically prepared for the season ahead.
Since I have been at the club, we haven’t been as fit as what we are going to be in the next few weeks after we finish this pre-season. Hopefully that stands us in good stead.
I’ve enjoyed being back and working hard. I think the manager made it clear at the end of last year that we would be working really hard in pre-season, and that has been the case.”
Michael Keane admission a worrying sign of previous levels of player fitness
Sean Dyche is renowned for demanding his players be amongst the fittest in the league and Everton should benefit from a full pre-season under the 52-year-old.
Immediately after his January appointment, the intensity levels increased on the pitch, and no doubt did during training at Finch Farm.
The Toffees avoided the drop by just two points last season in the second consecutive brush with relegation, and the tiniest of margins can have a big effect come the end of the campaign.
However, with Michael Keane, who has been at Everton since 2017, admitting that the players ‘haven’t been as fit’ as what they will be by next week, it is no wonder we have struggled over the past few years.