STEVEN NAISMITH hopes his half-hour hat-trick against AEK Athens has proven his fitness – and earned him a starting place in Everton’s Premier League opener against Manchester United.
Naismith netted a treble in Tuesday’s Tony Hibbert testimonial, his first outing at Goodison since the former Rangers striker’s summer arrival on a free transfer.
The 25-year-old has not played a competitive fixture since suffering a serious knee injury while playing for the Ibrox outfit last October.
But the Scotland international has been working hard on his recovery since his move south of the border and is now eyeing a place in the first XI on August 20.
“My appetite has been there since the day I signed,” said Naismith.
“I am coming to play in the best league in the world and with me coming back from injury and playing again I have probably enjoyed pre-season more than most players might.
“Hopefully I can do enough to get in the starting XI.”
Naismith opened the scoring on 39 seconds following fine build-up play between Marouane Fellaini and Steven Pienaar.