DAVID WEIR is keeping himself in top condition – in case Everton need his rock-steady presence to bolster their defence next season.
The 42-year-old is loving being back in pre-season mode with the Toffees, and admits that he is not quite ready to hang up his boots permanently.
Everton suffered a defensive crisis in January when they lost both Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka to injury, and had to promote untried Republic of Ireland U21s rookie Shane Duffy into the first team fold.
Weir arrived for his second spell at Goodison the following month, and although he is aiming at a career in coaching, the veteran aided Alan Stubbs’ reserve side to a strong finish by featuring in the heart of the defence – and is still considering playing on next term.
Now the former Rangers defender – who made 269 apperances for Everton in his first spell at the club – is determined to use this pre-season to stay match fit, while he also learns the ropes from Everton’s coaching staff.
“I’m loving it,” he said.
“I’m still training now and again and doing a bit of coaching as well, so I’ve got a foot in both camps, but I’m just enjoying watching, learning and getting involved.
“I’m getting a taste of what a pre-season is like at Everton after being away for a while.
“I’m really enjoying that and working with Stubbsy and Taff (Andy Holden) – the whole experience has been really good and I’m enjoying every day.”
Weir is part of the travelling party for the friendly fixtures against Dundee United and Motherwell this week – and he believes both will offer challenging work-outs for Moyes’ men.
“They will be competitive games in Scotland, as they always are,” said the centre-back who has also played for Falkirk, Hearts and Scotland.
“You are guaranteed to get a game of football in regards to effort and will, so we know we’ll have to be ready for that and have to match that.
“Dundee United had a good season last year.
“The last two or three years they have been there or thereabouts in the SPL. They’ve always got good young players and they’ve promoted their players out on loan and used them when they’ve come back.
“They’ll be a young, fit team and they’ll give us a test.
“Motherwell qualified for the Champions League this year by finishing second in the league, so they get the opportunity to go and test themselves at that level. Both of those teams will be up and running and give us a proper game.”
The Blues will be based in St Andrews for the duration of their stay in Scotland, a place that holds fond memories for Weir from previous visits.
“It’s a fantastic setting,” he said.
“It’s a real Scottish town on the coast and there’s a lot of golf there as well. I don’t know if the lads will get to do much of that, but it’s a great environment to train in.
“There’s a good climate and a decent standard of game up there with good training facilities, so it’s got a lot going for it.
“I’ve been there with Everton. We went up there a few years ago and I’ve also stayed there with Scotland a few times.
“There’s plenty of football around. There’s good facilities for the football and there’s also a bit more than that for the boys to keep them entertained as well.”