Everton duo recovering well
Everton's Mikel Arteta and Leighton Baines are well on the road to recovery after surgery.
Last Updated: 07/07/08 4:29pm
Everton have been handed a double fitness boost with the news playmaker Mikel Arteta and left-back Leighton Baines are well on the road to recovery after surgery.
Arteta endured an injury-plagued season last term but is hoping for better times ahead after undergoing groin surgery, while Baines had an operation on his ankle.
The pair's rehabilitation is going well and they both hope to feature in the Toffees' pre-season preparations.
Arteta told the club's official website: "Gradually the groin got worse and the pain was bigger. I did everything I could not to miss as many games as other players with the same injury have in the past. But, in the end, we thought the best way to resolve the problem was surgery.
"I've been doing rehab all summer so fingers crossed I'm going to feel much better. We've got a long pre-season and I plan to play at some point."
He added: "When you play with pain you can't train in the week and obviously that affects your fitness levels and your confidence.
"It was tough - all the hours I had to spend on treatment and on different exercises instead of training outside.
"It does affect you because you are out of the game. You lose that sharpness and that confidence, and every time you want to kick the ball and do something special you are very limited. And it's not an excuse. I am just the first one to criticise myself.
"I had to get used to expecting the pain all the time. The only thing I'm asking now is not to have the pain because I know if that is the case I have a lot to offer. Hopefully this season is going to be a big one."
Meanwhile, Baines is aiming to feature in Everton's tour of the USA later this month as his comeback from ankle surgery gathers pace.
It was feared he could be out for as long as four months but, while still not ready to kick a ball, he is taking part in running sessions with his team-mates.
Baines told the Liverpool Echo: "Hopefully I'll be able to get a few minutes on the pitch when we go to America.
"I know I've just got to be careful at the minute. I know I'm not too far away but I don't want to do too much and suffer a setback. Fingers crossed there won't be any problems."