Matt de Boer is hoping a full pre-season and improved fitness levels can help him become the inside midfielder he wanted to be at the start of last season.

The 21-year-old said an interrupted pre-season leading into 2011 meant he couldn’t get himself to the level he needed to be at to play in the position.

“I was hoping to play an inside midfielder role but my fitness levels weren’t there,” he said.

“Hopefully this year I can take it up another level and step in there.”

The back-to-back Best Clubman winner at Fremantle has fully recovered from a medial ligament injury sustained on his knee late last season and is set for a full 2012 pre-season campaign.

Always one to put the team ahead of himself, de Boer said that if he could slot into Freo’s midfield in 2012, he’d be more than happy to see his teammates get all the credit if it meant a victory for Fremantle.

“I’ll be working really hard so I can try and feed the ball out to Hilly (Stephen Hill) and David Mundy and let them do the flashy things on the outside,” he said.

“I just like going out there and playing with the boys. Hilly can outrun anyone and I can put my body on the line for the team, so I’m happy to do my part.”

De Boer said that it was crucial for Fremantle’s young group to continue to develop in 2012 to help out the club’s senior players.

“Players like Pavlich and Sandilands are doing as much as they can, but their level of improvement won’t be as much as ours will be,” de Boer said.

“There’s a big emphasis on that and the boys are getting a lot better at being more demanding on each other to make sure we take that next step sooner rather than later.”

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