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Iliman Ndiaye finishing, Jarrad Branthwaite reaction - five things spotted in Everton training

Everton have released a video of their players back in pre-season training as the club gears up for the historic final campaign at Goodison Park.

After completing their first full season under Sean Dyche, finishing 15th in the Premier League with an on-the-field performance that would have put them level on points with 11th placed Brighton & Hove Albion if it hadn’t been for sporting sanctions, the Blues are now preparing for the 2024/25 campaign. Everton kick-off their warm-up fixtures with a trip to captain Seamus Coleman’s previous club Sligo Rovers on Friday, July 19 before further away games at Salford City (July 27); Coventry City (July 30), Preston North End (August 3) and a home match against Roma, which is yet to be confirmed but is set to be Goodison’s final friendly on August 10.

Ahead of those games, the bulk of the squad have now returned to the club’s training complex in Halewood to be put through their paces and a nine-minute video offered a tantalising glimpse behind the scenes. Here’s five things we spotted...

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New faces

Iliman Ndiaye, Everton’s £15million recruit from Olympique Marseille has already proclaimed how he wants to score the first goals in the club’s new stadium and the Senegalese international forward looks sharp, as demonstrated by a clip that shows him scoring into a tiny goal. Joining him was the Blues’ other recruit so far this summer, Tim Iroegbunam, who was recorded being greeted by his former Aston Villa team-mate Ashley Young.

Old faces

There were also a couple of players loaned out by Everton last season, back with their parent club... for now at least. Brentford didn’t take up their option to turn Neal Maupay’s loan into a permanent switch so the French striker was back among the group and also shown tucking away a chance that came his way while defender Mason Holgate, who was farmed out first to Southampton and then Sheffield United last term, also returned although he is understood to be deemed surplus to requirements.

Branthwaite back

Jarrad Branthwaite’s name has been on everyone’s lips this summer after his hugely-impressive breakthrough season with Everton in which he emerged as a big Premier League star. After being involved on England duty ahead of the European Championship, the centre-back was given extra time off along with the Blues’ other internationals, but he returned just one day after the first of his colleagues.

In between their first session and Branthwaite’s return, Manchester United made a second bid of £45million plus add ons for his services but it has subsequently been rejected by Goodison Park chiefs who value the 22-year-old much higher. The Cumbrian looked relaxed enough among his familiar surroundings though as he was shown going through a series of stretches.

Keep on running

Pre-season – especially the early stages – is all about building up those fitness levels again and Everton’s players were shown going up and down on shuttle runs for five minutes with the idea being to get as high a distance as possible. It was all pretty routine stuff for top professional athletes and probably something of a relative walk in the park compared to the upcoming ‘Gaffer’s Day,’ the annual pre-season ritual that has achieved legendary status under Dyche.

Ball work

It wasn’t just conditioning though for the Blues squad as they worked on some in-game situations in what was an intensive-looking possession drill as half the players looked to retain the ball while the rest of them hunting for it in packs with some relentless pressing. The exercise helped the players to sharpen their touches and awareness with first team coach Steve Stone and assistant manager Ian Woan keeping a watchful eye over them and offering instruction and encouragement.