Alcaraz keen to forget nightmare year

Everton defender Antolin Alcaraz is targeting a strong start to pre-season after a nightmare debut season at Goodison Park.

The Paraguayan was restricted to just seven appearances in an injury-plagued campaign after joining from Wigan Athletic last July.

However, the 31-year-old was fit enough to be named in the matchday squad for the final nine games of the year, and is relishing the chance to return to training with a clean bill of health.

"On a personal level, it's one (season) to put behind me," Alcaraz told evertontv. "It's one to forget almost as it's been full of negatives on a personal level. But it's gone now and it's not worth looking back and feeling sorry for yourself.

"You have to look ahead, be positive and I'm looking forward to next season and hoping for better things.

"The frustration as a player is that an injury stops you doing what you most enjoy. It's almost like it is taking your liberty away from you and you become a prisoner in your own situation.

"But there is nothing you can do about it and what I took solace in is that I was able to play a few games towards the end of the season and physically I came through those okay, and that is promising for next season.

"What I want more than anything is to make sure that I am 100 per cent fit, totally free from injuries and have the chance to do what I do. And basically what I do is play football, work hard and prepare."

Everton will compete on four fronts next season after qualifying for the UEFA Europa League with a fifth-place finish in the Premier League.

And Alcaraz has his eyes on further silverware having won the FA Cup during his time with Wigan.

"I've had a long career in football and at my stage the key is to want to improve every day and continue to feel like you want to get better," he added.

"That doesn't just mean I'm content with improvement – I want to win titles and win everything that I take part in. It was the same when I played in a World Cup – I wanted to win that if we could."


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