Ronald Koeman will finally get to meet the majority of his Everton squad as the Blues converge on Finch Farm for the beginning of pre-season training.
It was reported that the squad were to join up later next week, with Everton’s under 21 squad starting on Friday, July 1st. Koeman scrapped those plans so he is able to see the senior and under 21 squads together, starting Monday.
Romelu Lukaku is the only Everton player still taking part in summer international football so he will not be present. Neither will Ross Barkley, Seamus Coleman, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady or Ramiro Funes Mori.
Leighton Baines has been back in training earlier than most, as he’s been reporting to Finch Farm for the previous few days. He met up with Koeman after the Dutch boss took part in his first Everton press conference.
Fitness will be the goal
Pre-Season is all about fitness. Under David Moyes, training was rigorous and intense but the Blues moved away from that under Roberto Martinez, focusing on working more with the ball at their feet.
Koeman’s Southampton team had good levels of fitness and it showed in their play. The Saints pressed well and caused trouble for their opponents. This is something Koeman is looking to implement at Goodison Park.
The new Blues boss has already had the input of Duncan Ferguson and David Unsworth and will also look to fitness coach Jan Kluitenberg to put into place unique training programs for certain groups of players.
Koeman’s squad will then travel to Dresden, Germany to take part in the Dresden Cup. The Blues will face the hosts, Dynamo Dresden, on July 29th before taking on either Real Betis or Werder Bremen on July 30th.
The Blues will then take part in a testimonial match for former player Wayne Rooney against Manchester United at Old Trafford. It’s likely they will also hold a pre-season game at Goodison Park a few days later, although this is yet to be confirmed.