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Nathangelo Markelo 58

At the height of Everton's busy 2017 transfer window, Everton added Nathangelo Markelo, an exciting Netherlands U18 international, to the U23s setup from Dutch club, FC Volendam 019.

The Blues' scouts had apparently been monitoring the right-sided defender's progress extensively along with scouts from other clubs in Europe and the club stole a march on their competition by securing his signature in June 2017.

PSV, Utrecht and Southampton also showed an interest in him but Everton were the most concrete in their offer and the negotiations and paperwork were completed within one day.

He said: “If I had been with Ajax, I might have needed some more time to make a decision, but now I immediately realised this was an opportunity I had to take with both hands.

“I'd seen that the likes of Jonjoe Kenny, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Ademola Lookman and Tom Davies had all made it into the first team at an early age while the Under-23s manager David Unsworth also convinced my agent it was the right move for me.”

Prior to confirmation on evertonfc.com, a statement on Voldendam's website said:

"FC Volendam and Everton FC have reached agreement on the acquisition of Nathangelo Markelo. The Premier League club has had Nathangelo watched in the Dutch national team and at some home games of FC Volendam 019 and became so convinced of his qualities. The right central defender / right-back would be available next summer when Under-19 players are left to the first team, but Everton had other plans."

Born in Groningen on January 7 1999, Markelo moved to Amsterdam at an early age. He joined amateur club ASV De Dijk as a striker at the age of 9, after youth coach Joey Jap Tjong had seen him in action, playing football in the street. He then joined VPV Purmersteijn and soon scouts from AZ, Almere City and Volendam started to follow him.

“I could do a trial with AZ in the morning but my mother would not allow me to skip school so I went to Volendam.

“They picked me up in a small bus every day. I have the best of memories of my time in Volendam. I was transformed into a defender and was taught to find ‘footballing solutions’ rather than just kick the ball away as Volendam are known for their tiki-taka style of play.”  

Markelo can play at centre-half, as a full-back or wing-back. He signed a 3-year contract with Everton and joined up with David Unsworth's Premier League 2 title-winning squad.

“It feels great to be an Everton player. It's a nice opportunity for me and I love it here already," Markelo told Everton's official site.

“I heard something about two weeks ago after a tournament I played in and I was very happy. I decided immediately that I wanted to come to Everton.

“I'm looking forward to the season now. I have three years here and I hope to get plenty of playing time, develop as a player and then just keep making steps forward towards the first team.”

He would get a decent number of games for the Under-23s in that first season, and become one of the more frequently selected stalwarts of David Unsworth's double-winning side the following season.

Having come to England, it was Unsworth who converted centre-back Markelo into a holding midfielder. He soon felt at ease, despite some initial reservations over whether he could handle the physical nature of English football after first entering the dressing room to find himself alongside players who were taller and bigger than himself. Markelo said: “They looked like giants. I texted my agent wondering if I would ever make it here. I think the new position is the best place for me.

“I have composure and technical skills to defend well and play in team mates when under pressure.

“I had a spell at right-back too when there were a few injuries and Mr Unsworth claimed I would benefit from the experience and improve my transition play, learning to pick the right moment to join the attack.

“When I moved back to midfield, the manager told me I had become a more complete player.”

Although Markelo has developed a close friendship with Ademola Lookman, he revealed that his first introduction to first-team training was something of a chastening experience as some of Everton's established stars challenged the rookie.

He said: “I was not nervous but had a great time, training with Wayne Rooney and Theo Walcott, but I also had my embarrassing moments.

“We did a rondo (piggy in the middle) and I, as a newcomer, was given a special 'welcome' by Yerry Mina, Kurt Zouma, Lucas Digne, Oumar Niasse, Ademola Lookman and Tom Davies who would pass the ball to me at a great speed an awkward height.

“They did not flinch and I only found out they had tested me like that after the training session when they smiled at me and revealed they always initiated newcomers this way.”

After two years with the U23s, Nathan was given an indication by Marcel Brands that he would get an opportunity with the first team during the pre-season preparations in the summer of 2019. 

Speaking in an interview with Voetbal International, Markelo lifted the lid on his relationship with fellow Dutchman Brands, the club's director of football. He said: “We have a chat every now and then. He is a friendly guy and I can always ask him for advice when we have a cup of coffee. He is always an interested spectator when the reserves play.

“He told me I would be called up for the pre-season training camp with the first team. Some clubs would like to have me on loan but Mr Brands insisted that was not a good idea yet.”

 

FactFile

Squad number 58 
Position Right-back
Nationality Holland
Born Groningen
Date of birth 7 January 1999
Height  
Joined 19 June 2017
Joined from FC Volendam 019
Signed under Ronald Koeman
Transfer fee  
Contract duration 3 years
Contract expires June 2020
Full debut Under-23s only
Previous Clubs FC Volendam 019
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry
» Transfermarkt

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2017-18 58 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
2018-19 58 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
2019-20 44 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
  Totals 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0

Academy U23s Career

Season Team League Apps Cup Apps League Goals Cup Goals
2017-18 Under-23s  12 (2) 10 (1) 0 0
2018-19 Under-23s 17 (2) 13 (2) 1 2

Previous Career

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2014-16 FC Volendam 019 0 (0) 0



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