Michael Keane continued a season of vast improvement under Marco Silva at Everton with his first England goal in the 5-1 victory over Montenegro on Monday night.
The former Burnley defender struggled in his first season at Goodison Park but this campaign has gone much more smoothly.
And he has lifted the lid on why he feels that is to the Toffees’ official website: “I really belong here now. I feel a lot fitter than I did last year. I’m just feeling more confident than I have; I’ve always had the belief in myself but when things aren’t going well for you on the pitch you sort of lose a bit of confidence.
“But I’ve always had the belief that I’m good enough to play at Everton. It’s obviously a top-class club and you have to play well week in week out to prove that to the fans.”
There were concerns last season that Keane couldn’t cope with playing in a team who play expansive football with a higher line than he was accustomed to at Burnley.
There have also been doubts over Marco Silva’s ability to organise a defence, but Keane has put both of them to bed, getting his England place back in the process.
Keane, who Spotrac claim earns £60,000 per week at Goodison, has made himself Everton’s first-choice central defender and with plenty of work still be done to get Silva’s side where they need to be, he must continue that into next season.