Late start a blessing - Neville

17 August 2011 12:00

Phil Neville believes Everton's delayed start to the season could prove a real bonus.

The Toffees' scheduled Barclays Premier League opener at Tottenham last weekend was postponed due to safety concerns following the London riots, and their campaign will now get under way when they host QPR on Saturday.

Neville told "The aim at the start of pre-season was to go into the first game of the campaign with everybody fully fit. I think we are there now."

He added: "We have worked hard over the past six or seven weeks. We suffered a little setback on Saturday with the game being off, but you never know.

"God works in mysterious ways, and it gave two or three of the lads some extra minutes on the pitch."

Everton took on Irish side Bohemians in a friendly on Monday night in which midfielder Mikel Arteta stepped up his recovery from a foot injury sustained earlier in pre-season.

Arteta played 68 minutes of the 1-1 draw after being named in the starting line-up and Neville was delighted to see the Spaniard's progress.

"He looked fit and strong, and I think he is ready for the start of the season now," Neville said.

"It is always difficult when you miss part of pre-season through injury, but he has come back this last week and worked really hard.

"I think we are all ready for the start of the season now. We were frustrated when our game was called off of course, but now the real stuff starts."

Source: PA

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