By Danny Wright
Jose Baxter is taking part in an intense fitness regime to get himself back up to speed when he rejoins Everton in July.
The 24-year-old is currently serving a one-year suspension for a drug ban and will be given a second-chance by the Merseyside club as he will join on a 12-month deal in the summer.
After originally being released by the Toffees in 2012 after refusing to sign a new contract, the once promising academy product is now working hard to repay the faith shown in him by his old employers.
Everton chairman Bill Kenwright and under-23 boss David Unsworth came up with the idea to offer Baxter another chance when they made a verbal agreement to sign him in January.
“As soon as he comes through the gates of Finch Farm in July, he will be treated like an under-23 player and we work very, very hard. It is up to him and down to his football performances. Nothing else,” said Unsworth, as quoted by the Times.
“Jose will start with me and the under-23s. We can play three older players so that is not an issue. Then it is up to him.”
In 2008, Baxter became the youngest ever player to ever represent the Blues when he took to the pitch against Blackburn at the age of 16 and 191 days – a record he still holds to this day.
The future Everton signing was recorded by Peak Performance Liverpool in his training for his upcoming spell with the development squad at Goodison Park.
“The athletic rebuild of professional footballer Jose Baxter is now in its third phase,” said the fitness centre on their Instagram page.
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Speed, Strength, Agility!!! The athletic rebuild of professional footballer Jose Baxter is now in its third phase! This tailored sports specific programme aligned with the daily dedication from Jose & our team of physiotherapists, strength/conditioning coaches has yielded fantastic test/re-test results. 👍🏻👍🏻👏🏻👏🏻💪🏻💪🏻 ⚽️⚽️⚽️ Well done Jose, all the coaches & athletes of @peakperformanceliverpool are proud to be on this journey with you!!! #football #professionalfootballer #fitness #forgingelitefitness #strength #conditioning #uksca #personalcoaching #personaltrainer #personaltraining #physio #physiotherapy #physicaltherapy #crossfit #reebokcrossfit #fitnessprofessionals #results #speed #agility #plyometrics #athlete Make the change, become leaner, faster, stronger with our team of professionals!!
Baxter featured 15 times for Everton in the early days of his career.
He made a name for himself as a versatile player who could play in any midfield role and he was also often deployed as a striker.
The Bootle-born player enjoyed his best spell with Sheffield United as he made 121 appearances and scored 28 goals in all competitions.