International Champions Cup Preview: Everton v Juventus

Kevin Mirallas insists Everton are relishing the chance to prove themselves against the cream of European football.

The Premier League side make their bow in the International Champions Cup against Juventus on Wednesday in San Francisco as part of the pre-season tournament that also features Milan, Inter, LA Galaxy, Valencia, Real Madrid and Chelsea.

The competition will offer new boss Roberto Martinez an opportunity to run the rule over his squad ahead of the start of the Premier League, with the Goodison Park club due to open their season with a trip to Norwich on August 17.

And Mirallas believes that Everton will be given the perfect work-out during their stay in the USA.

"The three games we have coming up in the States are going to be quite special occasions, they are big games," the former Olympiacos winger told the club's official website.

"It's a funny one - do you go for three victories and then start off in the league with a defeat?

"Obviously you'd prefer it the other way round where you start with a victory in the league.

"The main thing is that everyone stays fit for the start of the season and are raring to go."

Mirallas will be hoping to make an impact and impress Martinez, as the former Wigan boss begins the task of finalising his best XI for the upcoming league campaign.

The transfer window has seen a host of new arrivals at Goodison Park, with Antolin Alcaraz, Joel Robles and Gerard Deulofeu among the new signings.

Of the new boys, Mirallas has been particularly impressed with Arouna Kone – who followed Martinez from Wigan in a reported £6.5million deal earlier this month – with the Belgian predicting big things from the Ivory Coast striker.

"I think first and foremost, he (Kone) is a great guy,” Mirallas added. "He seems a nice guy and he's settled in well with the squad.

"He's going to bring an awful lot to the team. We have a lot of attackers already, so when you add his presence to the attacking force we had last season, I think it's going to be very positive."

Meanwhile, Juventus captain Gianluigi Buffon believes that the Serie A champions are even stronger than they were last season.

Antonio Conte’s side have been busy during the close-season, bringing in the likes of Carlos Tevez, Fernando Llorente and Angelo Ogbonna to bolster their ranks.

Juventus cruised to the Italian title last season, finishing nine points ahead of nearest challengers Napoli, with Milan a further six points back.

That does not bode well for their rivals, and those three high-profile signings should all get the chance to make their mark as part of the International Champions Cup campaign.

Buffon believes the trio of new recruits will only make the side even better.

"I’ve come back to a stronger Juventus side," the 35-year-old told reporters at the club’s California training base. "Now we’ve got additional elements of excellent quality. We’ve taken a genuine step forward.

"The acquisition of Tevez was a real statement of intent from the club. Carlos is one of those who can tip the balance and the fact that a champion like him has considered Juve is also a point of pride for us players.”


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