Idrissa Gana Gueye has promised to be an even bigger hit with Everton next season.
The midfielder, one of the Blues’ star performers over the past year, believes that a combination of rest and recuperation, plus a full pre-season with Everton, will enable him to have an even greater midfield influence than he did in his excellent maiden season with the Toffees.
Gana joined from Aston Villa only a week before the Premier League kicked off last August but quickly became established in Ronald Koeman’s side, making his debut on the opening day against Tottenham Hotspur and playing 35 times in all competitions - a figure which undoubtedly would have been greater had it not been for a month at the Africa Cup of Nations in January.
He scored in Senegal’s 3-0 victory over Equatorial Guinea at the start of June but has since spent time with his family in Dakar in his homeland during his summer break.
Gana told evertonfc.com: “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.
“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.
“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.”
A measure of just how well he adapted in his first season with Everton, Gana was a close contender for both the Everton Player and Players’ Player of the Season accolades, missing out narrowly in both categories to Romelu Lukaku.
The midfielder added: “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.”
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