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Everton's Somewhat Alarming Lack Of Youth.

By Dick Brody  ::  08/10/2012 News today has revealed that 20-year-old Liverpool midfielder Johnjo Shelvey has made Uncle Roy's latest England Squad. And to be fair Shelvey isn't the only Liverpool youngster starting to make a name for himself around the England squad. Raheem Stirling (17) made the previous England squad, Jordan Henderson (22) made the World Cup squad while Andre Wisdom (19) is currently in the England U21 set up.

If you have just read the above, you're probably wondering why I am talking about Liverpool youngsters? The answer to that is that Everton don't appear to have any youngsters worth talking about.

Since Jack Rodwell departed to Man City in the summer, Everton no longer appear to have any young players who Uncle Roy may consider for England.

Let's be honest, if Uncle Roy looks at Everton at the moment he's got Jagielka (30) and Baines (27) who rightfully get called up but, other than them then there is nobody.

In fact the only other Everton players Uncle Roy could consider are Phil Neville (35), Tony Hibbert (31) and Leon Osman (31). All of them are in their 30s and probably only Osman deserves consideration for an England call up. But at 31 Osman is unlikely to ever make his England debut now.

Dig a little deeper and you find that there are actually a few young English players around the Everton squad. Here's a list of them:

Ross Barkley (18)
Young Ross made his Everton debut in August 2011. He earned rave reviews with Martin Keown gushing "Barkley will be one of the best players we'll ever see in this country." He was immediately linked to both Chelsea and Man Utd and elevated to the England U21 squad. It looked like Everton had unearthed another promising youngster following on from Rooney and Rodwell. But then almost as suddenly as he appeared Barkley disappeared. Did his attitude upset Moyes? Did Moyes stop playing Barkley to kill off the Man Utd/Chelsea rumors? Whatever the reason Barkley made only a handful of sporadic appearances last season and then this season finds himself on-loan at bottom three Championship side Sheffield Wednesday. There has been very little news about Ross Barkley at Sheffield Wednesday. He's not exactly setting the Championship on fire and currently the England U21 selectors are ignoring him.

Luke Garbutt (19)
Had a full season at League 2 side Cheltenham last year. By all accounts did pretty well. But he's a left back and he'll never get a chance at Everton while Leighton Baines is around.

Jake Bidwell (19)
Had a full season at League 1 side Brentford last year and finds himself back there this year. Brentford manager Uwe Rosler raves about him but he\'s a left back and just like Garbutt he\'ll never break into the Everton side while Leighton Baines is around.

Conor McAleny (20)
The young striker has made two substitute appearances for Everton so far. Not exactly getting much experience and looks miles away from the Everton starting eleven.

Behind those main contenders you have Hallam Hope (18), John Lundstram (18) and George Green (16).

But let's be honest Hope, Lundstram and Green currently have as much chance of making the Everton first team as Barkley, Garbutt, Bidwell and McAlney.... No chance! The only hope as they say is No Hope and Bob Hope and er...... Hallam Hope. But mostly No Hope.

So with no English youngsters around the Everton team who are the younger players in the Everton team?

Well currently the youngest player to make the team regularly (although mostly as a substitute) is new recruit and Costa Rican International Bryan Oviedo (22).

Other than Oviedo there\'s Irish Seamus Coleman (24 on Thursday) and striker Victor Anichebe (24) who chose to play for Nigeria. Belgian International Kevin Mirallas is 25 but to call him a youngster is pushing it.

Does is worry anyone else that Oviedo (22), Coleman (24) and Anichebe (24) are the only \'young\' players to be getting regular football at Everton? Are they even young players?

There are a few other players Irish kid Shane Duffy (20) has played for Everton but has zero chance of a regular place behind Jagielka, Distin and Heitinga.

Portuguese star Francisco Junior (20) made his debut in the Cup defeat to Leeds last week and let's be fair to the lad looked bloody awful.

French kid Magaye Gueye (22) was once called the secret weapon by David Moyes. But the secret seems to be that he's not very good. Handful of uninspiring appearances.

Greek god Apostolos Vellios (20) has made a handful of appearances and got a couple of goals but lately seems to have fallen out of favour and looks likely to be shipped out on loan sometime soon.

Then there's new Scottish sensation Matthew Kennedy (17) who joined the club on deadline day. Don\'t know anything about him except he\'s a long way from the Everton starting eleven.

So let's recap:

Current youngsters (who aren't youngsters) getting first team football. Oviedo (22), Coleman (24) and Anichebe (24).

Foreign youngsters around the squad but not quite good enough for the first team. Duffy (20), Gueye (22) and Vellios (22).

English youngsters who are age appropriate to be playing for Everton but have no chance of breaking into the starting eleven. Barkley (18), Garbutt (19), Bidwell (19), McAlney (20).

And the rest who are probably too young to be considered even though they could be if they were good enough. Hope (18), Lundstram (18), Green (16) and Kennedy (17).

So while the young Liverpool players establish themselves as both Premiership and England stars we at Everton must continue to try to convince ourselves that Anichebe and Coleman are youngsters. When in fact they aren\'t youngsters and they aint even very good.

Now I know that Everton are currently 4th and Liverpool are 14th. And yes I agree now is probably not the time to start moaning.

But there was a time when David Moyes spoke about creating a young team. He even used the words British players.

Lately it seems the young players at Everton have dried up. particularly the young English players.

I\'m an Everton fan and I want to see young English players breaking into both the Everton team and the international scene.

I don\'t want to have to make a case for Osman to get called up. I want to make a case for Barkley or Hope or even Bidwell.

But realistically are Everton likely to have a group of English youngsters who can push Shelvey, Stirling, Henderson and Wisdom for an England call-up?

At the moment Everton don't even have an English youngster in the U21 squad.

Am I the only one who wants Moyes to look at this situation? Dare I say it, but maybe even look accross at the blue print Brendan Rodgers is laying at Liverpool and do a similar thing with Hope, Lundstram and Green?

Your thoughts on this matter are appreciated.

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Reader Comments

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Trevor Lynes
926 Posted 10/10/2012 at 10:16:55
I fully agree with the article and I have been saying similar things for quite a while. Our youngsters by now should be hammering at the manager's door if they are in any way good enough! Even Rodwell never really blossomed and had a poor outing the last time I saw him in a Man City shirt.

Our youngsters do not seem to be thriving under the present trainers. No-one has successfully come through since Rooney. Other clubs are doing far better than we are at bringing through young players. Unfortunately, Liverpool are totally outshining us in that particular department.

We obviously did not see the potential in Jags or Baines as they were both released as juniors and then ironically bought back after they were successfully developed at other clubs.

Our scouts are not finding good youngsters and our youth trainers are not bringing the best out of them. I'm afraid that at the present time our senior players have no pressure from our youngsters and can play as long as they want to!

Dick Fearon
933 Posted 10/10/2012 at 09:34:11
Dick, that was a well researched topic you raised and I cannot find anything in it with which to disagree.
Everton's coaches seem able to to develop youngsters no further than their mid teens. After that its a case of whatever potential they had melts away.
Is it a case of Moyes being too careful with the kids or is it a lack of understanding from our fans when a youngster makes a few mistakes.
Look no further than the Leeds game and the stick copped by Junior.
Weather conditions were horrible for his first senior game away from home. Everton was doomed before a ball was kicked. Is it any wonder the lad had a bad game.
He would not have come in for as much stick from Twebbers had he been an experienced Pro.
It is sad to say yet it is noticeable that across the park you will find that despite all their expected mistakes their kids get maximum crowd support.
Anything less than the finished article is good enough for some Blues.

Nick Entwistle
934 Posted 10/10/2012 at 10:52:39
Simpsons quote:

Bart: Wow! Can I see your club?
Lou: It's called a baton, son.
Bart: Oh. What's it for?
Lou: We club people with it.

Is this just another Moyes bash?

Sam Hoare
938 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:02:05
Have a few gripes with this article.

1) You seem to miss out arguably our best younger player Fellaini, he's only 24.
2) The Liverpool players you mention Shelvey, Stirling and Henderson were all bought by Liverpool for not inconsiderable fee's. True that Wisdom is home grown but money plays a big part here.
3) I think we have had 5 players play recently in the england U19 squad Barkley, Lundstram, Hope, Garbutt and Bidwell and I would not be surprised if at least 2 or 3 of these players did not get decent first team chances at everton in the next 2 seasons.
4) Up untill the summer we had an U21 stalwart in rodwell but sold him (i think wisely) in order to strengthen the first team, which at the moment looks to be a vindicated decision.

I take your point that we don't have a huge amount of 20-22 year olds about to break in but the group just below looks promising and should be given a chance when injuries inevitably disrupt things.

Simon Bradley
940 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:19:49
Certainly not trying to look at things with blue-tinted glasses, and Stirling certainly looks promising (nothing more yet), but please don't spend any time worrying about the likes of Henderson & Shelvey. Average players, in a mid-table team, at best. The fact they're in the England squad says more about the lack of quality amongst English players, than it does their abilities.
Neil Withers
941 Posted 10/10/2012 at 10:54:02
I don't quite understand what you want?
Everton's 1st team are performing well....
We have the likes of Baines (touted as the best LB in the PL or even the world in some reports), Jelavic who is hailed as the best CF we have had since the mid 80's. Fellaini being one of the best players in the league so far this season.
Yet you point to youth not getting a chance - Bidwell, Garbutt, McAleny, Barkley.
I think the youth's we have look promising (add Green/Kennedy in the mix) but do you really want these in the team at present when we are doing (reasonably) well.
I get it that it would be great to be top of the league with a team full of under 21 internationals.
But realistically we have a team who appear to be as good as what we have had for years, currently in a top 4 position - Would you swap that for Liverpool's position and to have a few youth players pushed into the England squad (to fill places).
Patrick Murphy
942 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:13:04
Good points on the younger element at Finch Farm , there is a lack of young'uns. Everton have always produced good young players in abundance in the last 50 years and it is worrying in these dour economic times that we appear to have stopped doing what is essentially our life-blood.

Where would we be if Rooney , Jeffers et al had not been produced and sold on for fees which quite possibly saved the club from financial ruin.

It is also a concern that our near neighbours appear to have stolen a march regarding youngsters as their financial clout although lessened is still far greater than our own.

I am also concerned that everything Everton achieve seems to be about David Moyes, we are a football club not a one man band.

DM has done many good things at the club , but if everything is down to one man then we are in serious trouble if and when he leaves.

I'm sure Arsenal and Man U are heavily influenced by their respective managers but the managers in question would acknowledge that they rely on their Directors , coaches , physios and backroom staff for any of the sucessess they have had.

At Everton it would appear that without Moyes , we would find it difficult to continue on a steady course. This to my mind is gross mis-management by those who run the club , ie the board of directors.

Jim Knightley
947 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:31:25
I don't understand the point of referring to youngsters Liverpool have brought and developed for a very short doesn't display any coaching prowess, but rather simply an ability to spend more of their bigger budget on younger players. If Moyes had had the extra 200-300million Liverpool have had during his tenure, I'm sure we've had alot more youngsters coming through. The reality is that, most of the youngsters who make it in the premierleague are brought from lower division or foreign clubs, most probaly because of a severe lack of youth development in this country, in comparison to other foreign countries, most obviously Germany. Some of the Liverpool players are also currently only making a mark, because of their severe lack of personnel. In a team like United, Spurs or Arsenal, Sterling or Shelvey wouldn't be near the first team at the moment, and if Sterling or Shelvey played for Wigan or Norwich, they'd not be making the England set-up.

And please...never mention Henderson as a representation of youth development. He was brought for a fee approaching 20mil at 20ish, has barely played a good match for Liverpool, cannot make even their depleted first team, and was being offered around the premierleague on deadline day. If anything he has regressed as a Liverpool player, and serves as a perfect representation of a wasteful transfer policy which has ended their tenure as one of the countries top clubs.

Andrew Ellams
948 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:39:57
Those players would be just as far down the pecking order at Liverpool as some of the kids at Everton if Rodgers had been given some cash to spend in the last week of August.

Also, Henderson, Shelvey and Sterling cost something close to £30million between them, add £11million for Borini (what is he 20/21?) puts the remergence of the Liverpool conveyer belt into a bit more of a realistic perspective doesn't it.

Col Wills
949 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:31:49
I think what everton do is bring on players who can reach a certain standard but cant quite reach premiership level. I'm thinking of players like Wallace at tranmere (although he's playing top drawer for them) Lucas Jutzciewikic, Jose Baxter etc. Its not evertons fault if these players don't have the natural talent to progress that bit further.

i wouldn't be saying that shelvey, henderson etc are any better than those type of players, its just that they are getting a chance cos liverpoo are so poor at the moment and i'm so glad that everton havent gone and wasted £20m quid on that type of player.

In my opinion, these young players have maybe 4 good games max then fade until they physically mature to the rigours of the premiership. Much better to send them out on loan to 'toughen up'

Tony J Williams
952 Posted 10/10/2012 at 11:52:30
What the fuck has Rodgers got to do with most of the names given there? he didn't buy them and wasn't there when they were brought into the academy.

What is the constant need for people to want to bring in players that they know virtually nothing about? We tried that at Leeds and look what happened?

Fuucking Football manager has a lot to answer for I tells thee!!

Dave Whitwell
998 Posted 10/10/2012 at 16:53:32
Shelvey and Henderson wouldn't get anywhere near our 1st team, the fact that there in the Liverpool set-up says more about there position than ours.

Sterling is also getting games out of necessity as they no longer have top class internationals to play ahead of him. In short his a gamble worth taking for Rodgers.

For us if we have any young players that are better than Pienaar/Feliani/Osman/Mirallis in midfield they will get a game, if we have a better young forward than Jelavic they will get a game and so on, if you look around the premiership there are very few young English players anywhere that you would pick out to play ahead of our 1st team players, possibly Wilshere and Oxelaide Chamberlain the only 2 I can think of.

Barry Rathbone
000 Posted 10/10/2012 at 17:30:40
Regardless of the reds activities our youth policy is over stated - "flatter to deceive" should be the motto. The number of vaunted players who vanish into the ether makes you wonder what's going on.

Check Southampton's list of players who've come through and went on to be REAL players.

Bridge, Bale, Walcott and Oxlade Chamberlain are among them.

Wayne Smyth
003 Posted 10/10/2012 at 17:47:13
I won't talk about liverpool or their players.

I will say I'd like to see our players who have undoubted PL potential, like George Green and Ross Barkley given a LOT more time in games.

Barkley basically spent all of last season playing reserve football. Even before his injury at about this time last season, I recall Moyes saying that we shouldn't expect to be seeing him play for the first team(again) until March/April......all because he had a dodgy game where he was at fault for a goal if I recall rightly.

How many goals have jags, heitinga, distin or Neville given away? How many "dodgy" games did Louis Saha have? Tim Cahill? How are young players meant to acclimatise if as soon as they have an off-day they're banished for 6 months to the youth side? Blame supporters if you like, but that decision rests squarely with the manager.

Last season, Barkley should either have been played, or loaned out like he has been at Sheff Wed. This season, when we're leading games like we have been against southampton at home, that would be an ideal opportunity to give the likes of George Green or Junior 10-15 minutes to have a run and get experience with less pressure.

Whatever you say about the lack of money the club has, I think we can and should be doing more to ensure that young players that we do have get every opportunity to improve. I think Dick's post certainly has some validity in that respect.

Selby Wells
013 Posted 10/10/2012 at 18:56:11
As much as I would like to see the first team stuffed with talented young blues, we've got to be realists and intruce them at the right times. At the moment the first team is strong and winning games but tougher games are coming up - not least the derby. I agreed with blooding the likes of junior against Leeds (as did many on the sight) as the first priority is the league. But was a little dissappointed that Duffy, etc weren't given a chance when the game was won against Swansea, etc.
Ian Bennett
017 Posted 10/10/2012 at 19:36:43
Spot on Sam, well researched my arse. If we going to make stuff up I am going to reclaim baines and jags.
Pat Finegan
051 Posted 11/10/2012 at 01:10:35
We're jealous of Jonjo Shelvey, Andre Wisdom and Jordan Henderson? Maybe the points system is like golf now, lowest score wins. Don't be surprised if Rodgers is rocking a green blazer next weekend. The man is a champ.
Robin Cannon
063 Posted 11/10/2012 at 02:40:32
You can spin it any way you want. Our squad's average age (and this is the registered squad, not youngsters) is 27.50 - hardly cause for massive concern. Our oldest striker (Jelavic) is 27, our best player so far this season (Fellaini) is 24, our overall arguably best player (Baines) is 27. Our new signings are 22 (Oviedo), 25 (Mirallas), 26 (Naismith) and 30 (Pienaar).

The only genuinely "old" players are Distin (34) and Neville (35).

Our youngsters are all around the 17/18 year old mark. A time when they should perhaps be making a few inroads, but not playing regular first team football in a successful team.

Kase Chow
073 Posted 11/10/2012 at 07:52:59
Why compare shit L'pool youngsters with our players?

Which of them would get into our team?

Was Shelvey really more deserving of a call up than Osman (forget age-am talking about ability & form)

Some ppl are NEVER happy. How do you know whether Bidwell, Garbutt etc will get a chance? So what if they play left back? Baines could get injure or sold or they may change position (G Neville was a ctre mid and switched to RB, Hibbert was a striker and switched, Scholes was a striker and converted to ctre mid, Rodwell was supposedly a ctre back and went midfield).

Why would we bother to buy Green & Kennedy if we have no intention to develop them?

Since Jags/Baines how many youngsters have we released that have gone on to make it? None: hence the players aren't good enough: they're getting squeezed out by the foreigners.

How many Liverpool youngsters are better than our players? Is Kelly better than Duffy?

By the way, when did Moyes say 'I'm dropping Barkley cos of his mistake vs Blackburn?' do you really think the guy is such an amateur that he has a tolerance rate of 1 mistake? Why wouldn't he drop Distin or Howard etc for the numerous mistakes they've made then

Would you really rather be mid table with unexciting youngsters like that lot or would you rather be 4th with a good team/squad and knowing that actually Bidwell, Barkley & Garbutt ARE out there getting experience?

Who was the last young lad that we let slip thru our fingers that them lot snapped up? Gerard?

Things have changed finally

Dave Lynch
081 Posted 11/10/2012 at 09:39:07
What a complete load of bollocks.

Do you seriously believe the smoke and mirrors trick being spouted by that gobshite Rodgers.
I thought he was a man of integrity and all he does is moan and fucking groan about how badly they are done too.
Regards his players, he has no choice but to bullshit them up as he hasn't got a pot to piss in. Do you seriously think if he had a wadd of cash them kids would get anywhere near the first team.
As for Shelvy ! If he is international class then so was Brett Angel, the lads a fucking yard dog, a wannabe Stevie-me without the talent.

Mike Gwyer
083 Posted 11/10/2012 at 09:47:53


Can you also take into account that Roy has a definate weakness for players from the dark side. I mean Henderson is total shite - he's lucky if Rodgers gives him a peak at the pitch but somehow Roy plonks him into his squad. I'm guessing that Henderson in the English squad keeps his value somewhere close to a fiver - mind you nothing like the 18m they paid for him.

As for Shelvey, the guy's a thug and would last about 20 minutes against a proper international side before the ref gives him the boot - make no mistake though him and Gerrard are going put it about when the come to GP.

If you are being honest it isn't much of an accomplishment representing England - I doubt spain, germany etc give a fuck about Henderson, Shelvey or any other RS player. Even now Roy's talking about converting Gerrard into a CB.

James Morgan
084 Posted 11/10/2012 at 09:40:18
Maybe Woy is just trying to appease the gob shite fans so they stop hating him.
Shelvey and Henderson? Absolute pap.
San Marino wouldn't want Henderson!
I'm sure a few of our lads will come through in the next few years, especially Barkley and Green.
I'll be honest, I thought Vellios would be more prominent, the lad looked sharp when he played. I wonder what happened?
Ajay Gopal
087 Posted 11/10/2012 at 10:43:09
We are all desperate for our youngsters to become the next "Man U Golden Generation" - who will all develop at the same time and conquer the world for the next 20 years. But that was a once in a lifetime occurrence and it is unlikely to happen again, is it? We need to keep our expectations in check and allow the youngsters to develop - some will make it, most will not and the ones who don't will be much, much more disappointed than us fans. Having said that, I do think that our youth setup will be better served by adding more technical coaches than Alan Stubbs (no disrespect).
Paul Bernard
106 Posted 11/10/2012 at 13:48:57
IMO we do have some promising kids such as those mentioned, like Duffy, Barkley, Vellios & Green. I also like the look of Lundstram & McAleny. The difference between us & 'them' is they have no choice to play Sterling & Shelvey, reason being is they had to trim their wage bill a little, mixed with the fact Enrique, Henderson & Downing have been rather poor & that King Brenny likes the kids.

On the other hand, David Moyes prefers to play his more experienced pros no matter how good or bad: Cahill, Neville, Arteta, Heitinga, Distin, Osman & Hibbert to name a few.

While Leon's name is mentioned, it's a point to make that he will never play for England because he simply isn't at Liverpool or Man Utd or Chelsea. I think Joe Cole would play ahead of Leon if push came to shove.

Many are also overlooking the fact that kids in football chase money not medals; for every Ryan Giggs, there will be 10 Judas Lescotts (in fairness, Lescott has now won a title but Judas wasn't guaranteed a title at the time). If players wanted progress to enhance their skills, Rooney would of stayed longer, Rodwell may have wanted to try harder to stay, etc, etc but many realise these days that a football career lasts about 10 years or 2 contracts so take the money while you can.

My rabbling on is just a few ideas I have as to why England as a footballing nation is suffering compared to Podolski dropping down a level to Cologne to reach Arsenal; Gary Cahill leaving Villa to play regularly at Bolton to reach Chelsea is the only English example I have.

Lee Mandaracas
113 Posted 11/10/2012 at 15:14:55
Roy Hodgson knows Liverpool's youth players because of his background with the club, contacts there, etc. For me, that is a catastrophic flaw in an England manager. His job should be to focus on getting to know as much as possible about the players he does not already know well to get the best possible overall picture. Why isn't he seen at a minimum of one Premiership ground every weekend scouting and researching? This is his full time job for Christ's sake!

I think it brings his position into question when there is so much better talent elsewhere (not necessarily in our own ranks) being overlooked in favour of the dark side - and that is me really trying to take my blue-tinted specs off too!

Paul Joy
161 Posted 11/10/2012 at 20:50:02
I am not sure that any English club is bringing through top level talent. We are not and those examples at the RS are mediocre too. In fact Henderson isn't good enough to be mediocre.

Hodgson picking Shelvey and Sterling is laughable but his idea of converting Gerrard into something could help England because Rodgers has converted him into an anonymous midfielder.
Paul Gladwell
187 Posted 12/10/2012 at 08:06:09
Paul Bernard, spot on mate, the red shite have no choice to play them, we can wait and bed Duffy in as he is a centre half, it,s an area were players generally come to their best when they hit thirty, how many teams are playing kid centre halved in the top flight?
As for the rest of the criticism, I bet we are right up there with teams who's youth system has made the most money through player sales over the past ten or fifteen years, our youth system has kept the club afloat at times with sales of Rooney,Ball,Rodwell,Jeffers as well as smaller sales such as Vaughan etc.
Jimmy Sørheim
235 Posted 12/10/2012 at 15:04:07
The reason we have such a big gap between young players 21 or older and Under-18s is because Moyes has let go a handful of youngsters each summer for the last 2-3 years. So that is why Barkley and Vellios are the only ones left in that group.

Moyes needs to find much better youth coaches than for example Alan Stubbs. He also now needs to buy youngsters in the age group of 17-20 who have real top potential. The only player that Moyes has got that fits that category is George Green.

Liverpool have bought their youngsters for high fees, and we cannot afford to do it exactly as they do and nor do I want us to. You have to balance it, try and find top talent for less money. I do think we need to look outside of Britain if we are to find that balance between fee and top talent.

Finally, I agree with many on here who find reds youngsters overpriced and not very good at all. Kind of a follow-up of their senior transfer policy, spend huge amounts on shite players.

Moyes needs to be as active looking for top talented youngsters as he is when looking for his senior players. Currently Moyes is only looking to find first team players, but that will have to change in order to get something from our youth players in the future!

Peter Jones
421 Posted 14/10/2012 at 00:47:30
Our youngsters are miles away from our first team because our first eleven is awesome. Liverpool's youngsters, which a few of you gentleman have mentioned came at astronomical prices, play because Liverpool is a mid-table team at best and has no other option because of self imposed financial restrictions.

For all we know, our youth players could be better than Liverpool's if given the same opportunities to shine. But that would involve breaking up a fairly unanimous starting eleven that has only lost once in the last 16 Premier League games. The kids have gotta wait their turn. It'll come soon enough. For now, they can learn a lot from just watching us do what we do.
Mike Allison
453 Posted 14/10/2012 at 08:33:08
Dick, my initial thoughts without reading anyone's replies are that your headline is about an alarming lack of youth and then you name between 8-12 young players who've been in and around the first team or have stood out at youth level. This seems to be something of a contradiction.

Secondly, youth for its own sake in the first team is not a good thing, you pick the best players, and ours are all good ages. Only Neville and Distin are genuinely old.

Thirdly, Liverpool have made it a policy to buy in youth players, they don't develop them all. They're picking them, but they're not winning games, so maybe they shouldn't be. We could pick four teenagers in every game if we wanted to. We probably wouldn't win as much.

I've voiced my thoughts on the Everton youth system in the past. It's decent, better than most, but a club in our financial position should be putting everything into having the very best youth system around. If we produced one first-team player a season, and sell two to lower division clubs, we'd have a steady source of income and players. With the whole of Merseyside and beyond as our breeding ground, this should be possible on a consistent basis. Baxter for example should have been given a contract, possibly loaned out, and then sold for money, even £500k would be worthwhile.

Mike Allison
456 Posted 14/10/2012 at 08:43:12
Most of my other points have been made by other people. I can't agree with the OP at all.

Just two more things though, Baines was NOT released by Everton as a youth, he was released by Liverpool.

Also, Barkley is still only 18 now, I think a lot of Toffeewebbers need to remember that. I don't see the need to rush him, especially as we're performing extremely well and have been since February.

Sean Allinson
458 Posted 14/10/2012 at 09:13:05
Mike #456. Re Baines.

I'm afraid he was released by us. But not because of a perceived lack of talent. His entire age group were let go as a 'cost-cutting' exercise. The group also included Joey Barton and Phil Jagielka. Saved us a few bob there!

Leighton then went on to sign schoolboy forms for the RS before being released by them too.

Alexander Sterpikov
459 Posted 14/10/2012 at 09:23:19
Sean, Wikipedia states that Baines started his career at Liverpool.

Sean Allinson
475 Posted 14/10/2012 at 12:24:39
Alexander, Liverpool were the first team he signed for, but on Thursday nights (I think it was Thursday) he was part of a group of lads who trained at Bellefield. The group included Jags and Barton, and we could have signed them all but let them go. As I said, it was supposed to be a cost cutting exercise. It must have cost us £15million+.

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