Newly re-signed Essendon forward Jayden Laverde says senior coach Ben Rutten is empowering him to fulfil his potential.
Laverde, 24, earned a contract for 2021 after impressing in an injury-interrupted 2020 season.
He booted six goals from as many games, becoming a regular feature in the forward line until a syndesmosis injury restricted him to just one match after round eight.
The 193cm prospect said he had the backing of Rutten to take his game to new heights.
"We had a chat last week and he (Rutten) mentioned that I'm a good asset to this side, and I told him that too. I feel I've got a lot to give in the coming year. I think I can take my footy to the next level and he agreed with me. He's actually empowering me to do that and I feel backed," Laverde told SEN 1116 on Wednesday.
"I felt like I was improving every game (this season). I'm using next year as a year to really take control of that and make sure I rock up in the best nick I can in pre-season and give myself the best opportunity to perform at the highest level. I believe I've got my best footy around the corner."
Taken at pick No.20 in the 2014 national draft, Laverde has battled through injuries to play 46 games in six seasons.
The Western Jets product has shown glimpses of his talent, but ultimately hasn't achieved the continuity he's after.
He said he was confident his fortunes would change.
"That's (continuity) my main priority. I had a pretty good pre-season last year and got through a lot of work, but unfortunately it didn't pan out (in 2020)," he said.
"Over the years I've learnt a lot about my body. It's just about managing a program that's good for me. Now that I'm getting older, I'm starting to realise things that I need and don't need in my program. The physios are good on that and they know my body well now. We're tailoring a program just for me, and hopefully that works out."
Laverde will formally begin pre-season in early January, while the Bombers' first to fourth-year players will start in December.
He said preparations for 2021 were already gathering momentum, however, with the players clear on Rutten's standards ahead of their return to the club.
"I feel now that Ben has taken the reins, we have a clear understanding of what he wants from the players. He's big on working hard, being on the same page and building our team chemistry," he said.
"We had a couple of weeks off and now we're starting to ramp up into a full program, so we're running three times a week and a couple of cross-training (sessions) a week. We're building the intensity as we get towards January. The boys are working pretty hard."