Everton defender Leighton Baines is looking forward to a pain-free second half of the season after returning from two ankle operations.
The 31-year-old played his first 90 minutes since May in the weekend’s 1-1 draw at Norwich and having got through that test he is now focused on the future.
“This last 10 days or so I’ve felt great, everything I’ve done there has been no reaction and I’m close to being pain-free. I’m in a positive place,” said the England defender after a game for the Under-21s and two substitute appearances for the first team helped his comeback from surgery.
“Getting on in a couple of games was good psychologically and it was good just to be in and around the first team again.
“It had been a long time. Seven months is a long time to be out and so there are going to be little ups and down and I can’t expect to be perfect at the moment but I am really happy with where I am at.
“Hopefully there will be more opportunities to tick more boxes and get more minutes and that one on Saturday was a big one for me getting 90 minutes, it was a full game and required me to manage myself through that.”