Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
The 18-year-old made his one and only appearance for Roberto Martinez's first team as a substitute in the Europa League dead rubber against Krasnodar in December 2014 and didn't look out of place against the Russian side.
Since then he has signed a professional deal with the Blues, featured in some of the Blues' pre-season outings last summer and was quietly improving in the U21s under David Unsworth until his 40-yard wonder-goal last week against Southampton.
That sublime effort offered a reminder of the talent the midfielder possesses and brought Dowell's name back to the fore among the players waiting in the wings at Finch Farm to seize their chance at the top level.
“You don’t get players like Kieran in the British game," Martinez said of the Ormskirk-born player on the Everton Show last Friday. "He’s a player who appreciates space, enjoys playing in between lines and the technical ability he has is a natural gift.
“We need to allow him to develop but clearly he has got a role with the first team after that.
“He is a really humble person and strong mentally. It was a shame that he had an injury earlier in the season but he’s starting to get good rhythm and good match fitness, so I think we are going to see a lot more from him.”
Reader Comments (48)
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1 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:23:37
2 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:26:44
3 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:55:20
4 Posted 23/02/2016 at 19:56:34
5 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:09:08
This is meant as constructive criticism; Keiran has grown quite a bit and is six foot or more and a good 12 stone or so but always looks to me to be reluctant to put his foot in and make a tackle, maybe they are sorting this out at Finch Farm.
6 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:09:46
Let's see him on the bench instead of Osman or Kone, then I might believe Martinez.
7 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:38:25
I see Liam Walsh is getting good reviews at Yeovil, and this lad does like to put his foot in.
8 Posted 23/02/2016 at 20:43:55
9 Posted 23/02/2016 at 21:16:19
10 Posted 23/02/2016 at 22:16:10
11 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:26:09
Best I saw was on another thread today, when someone said McAleny would have done better on the left this season than Mirallas, pure fantasist bollocks!!
12 Posted 23/02/2016 at 23:56:08
I wouldn't expect Roberto to throw the youngsters into a position were it could backfire, but there are games were some of the youngsters could gain invaluable experience.
Good luck to Kieran Dowell for the remainder of the season.
13 Posted 24/02/2016 at 00:33:30
14 Posted 24/02/2016 at 01:21:17
15 Posted 24/02/2016 at 03:40:49
16 Posted 24/02/2016 at 08:56:17
But yes I would love to see more of the younger talent get there chance and that applies to all clubs as well.
17 Posted 24/02/2016 at 11:27:26
It's the transition from 18-20 (something I agree with RM about) which is vital. It's rare you get a player ready to step right up into the first team at 16-18...
It's easier for clubs without top 6 aspirations or worries about relegation to blood one or two 16-18 year olds.
In Dowell's case it would be prudent and aid development if he made the bench at some point this season...
18 Posted 24/02/2016 at 12:32:09
Ian Bishop, an Everton youngster in the Kendall era who went on to be a legend at West Ham and City, reckoned he learnt all his football during his four early years with Carlisle United.
Unsy and Joe Royle keep a close eye on all our loanees who all return stronger and hopefully more mentally mature. Some, like Jonjoe Kenny, have an old head on young shoulders and take everthing in their stride. Some, like Lundstram and Browning, are overwhelmed when they mix with seniors and take a while to get there.
19 Posted 24/02/2016 at 12:40:21
20 Posted 24/02/2016 at 12:51:47
To give Martinez his due, he has repeatedly pointed out that something needs to be done to bridge the gap between the ages of 18 and 21 with young players. The FA and senior clubs are doing very little if anything to help these young players.
21 Posted 24/02/2016 at 12:59:09
If we lose a few more games, the chance of Europa League football will diminish. IMO, we should then seriously consider blooding youngsters as it will have been proven over the past two seasons that the current first team squad is in need of revamping.
The main players are all vital; it's more the likes of Osman, Hibbert, Pienaar, Howard, Kone and probably Mirallas too, who I am myself a fan of but is worth a half-decent sum as a transfer and is clearly not part of Martinez's plans.
Signings like Cleverley and Besic are real value to us as our transfer budget won't be big and replacing up to 6 players plus trying to strengthen will be difficult.
We could do with a free, a bargain (Besic, Arteta, Cahill style), a breakthrough for one or two (Galloway style) enough to be a bench player each week, and a main signing who will push the first team on. Ideally, Dowell would be a great option to be the breakthrough as it is much harder to find an attacking player capable of being good enough for the Premier League, than it is to find a full back.
If we still have Martinez as our manager next season (which I'd guess we will), I'd imagine Lukaku, Stones and Barkley to continue to grow, whilst the likes of Deulofeu, Robles and Funes Mori could really step up and kick us on too.
Hopefully, here's to a bright future.
22 Posted 24/02/2016 at 13:07:55
Premier League National Futsal Finals 2016
Winners Everton. Runners-up Derby County. Plate winners Liverpool.
Winners Manchester City. Runners-up Aston Villa. Plate winners Derby County.
Winners Tottenham Hotspur. Runners-up Chelsea. Plate winners Newcastle United.
Winners Everton. Runners-up Norwich City. Plate winners Chelsea.
Futsal is a five-a-side game that helps develop close control, on-pitch intelligence and movement off the ball, and it has become an important part of the Premier League's Youth Development programme since the League's Elite Player Performance Plan (EPPP) was introduced in 2012.
23 Posted 24/02/2016 at 13:25:10
24 Posted 24/02/2016 at 13:36:50
I always believed players in the calibre of Ball, Kendall, Harvey, Southall, Reid etc were true legends in my lifetime, but Ian Bishop...nah..
25 Posted 24/02/2016 at 14:11:04
Hang on... is that a pig I've just seen cruising past my living-room window???
26 Posted 24/02/2016 at 14:56:04
Everton are as fastidious in their development of young players as any other club but, in this age of a world-wide transfer market, what chance has any of them of gaining a regular first-team place? I mean, when you can get a star striker like Kone for £6M or so, why would you want to risk McAleny?
The old Reserve leagues Central League and Football Combination were abandoned because 'star' players refused to appear 'in the stiffs' even though the games provided a platform for them to get back to form or fitness. The age group competitions are just an extension of youth team football.
The irony of all this is that today, kids are better off learning their trade 'down the leagues' and then getting a transfer to the Premier League like Stones, Alli and Byrom, than starting at the top and then working their way down the pyramid. The whole system is fooked!
27 Posted 24/02/2016 at 14:57:40
Walsh is another who looks a real talent.
The likes of Williams, Ledson, Kenny and Grant all seem to have potential, but like many before them (Lundstram springs to mind) could turn out to be lower-league players rather than top-end Premier League ones (or may need many years before becoming top-end Premier League players). Personally, I'd use them all next season to find out.
28 Posted 24/02/2016 at 15:21:48
I'm not sure it was for the reasons you say, Phil, but I have to agree that this Under-21s football does appear to be shite though, and doesn't seem to offer anything near competitive enough football.
It seems that most of the kids who come through the lower leagues have a bit more fire in their bellies, which is definitely something Under-21 football doesn't teach.
29 Posted 24/02/2016 at 16:03:12
30 Posted 24/02/2016 at 16:24:04
Futsal is a five a side game, as you said, and it mainly used to encourage skill.
31 Posted 24/02/2016 at 16:52:20
32 Posted 24/02/2016 at 17:16:20
33 Posted 24/02/2016 at 17:20:15
When his contract expired at Goodison in the summer of 2015, Everton offered him a six-month deal but he said No:
"I didnÃƒÂ¢Ã‚â‚¬Ã‚â„¢t feel it was worth wasting any more time, so I just wanted to get out there and start playing first-team football regularly Ã‚â€“ and not on loan for once. It definitely makes a difference being permanent. You just feel much more part of things."
35 Posted 24/02/2016 at 18:07:19
36 Posted 24/02/2016 at 20:02:05
To make games more competitive for the Under-21s, who are in effect the renamed 'Reserves' of yore, the FA and senior clubs have added a lot more knockout games (Everton are playing in both the Liverpool Senior Cup and Lancashire Senior Cup Ã‚â€“ they usually give at least one a miss each season) and have introduced the International Cup competition to have them play against direct European counterparts, as well as introducing their own League Cup competition.
Will these efforts make a difference? Only time will tell. For the cynic, nothing really seems to work and the continued decline of English Youth football, much bemoaned on here and elsewhere, seems set to continue relentlessly...
And personally, looking at the loan system, I am not at all convinced this makes a blind bit of difference. But they are trying, and to say they aren't is I think somewhat disingenuous.
I am convinced the free movement of foreign players (irrespective of some needing work permits Ã‚â€“ how many if any are refused?) is the overwhelming problem that has changed the sport we all once loved. Seems only the election of Donald Trump could change that...
37 Posted 25/02/2016 at 03:13:26
I agree we need another avenue to develop young players from 18 to 22 but I don't think lowering overall standards in the Premier League is the appropriate approach. "Slegehammer... nut" springs to mind. The FA did suggest Premier League B teams being allowed to play in lower leagues but the Football League did not like the idea (and I can't honestly blame them for that).
38 Posted 25/02/2016 at 07:11:39
As Tony said, it could be they are hungrier than the Premier League Academy players. With an Academy player, he thinks he's the business at 15 or 16. He gets released at 18 and a lot of the time he disappears from the game altogether. Players from lower league clubs seem to have the heart to keep going.
It could be to do with the fact that the lower league isn't as pressurised an environment. As a young player, you will get the time to get games under your belt at your own club. This is a much bigger incentive and opportunity to develop than being sent out on loan to the other end of the country to a club you feel nothing for. At 18 in the Premier League, if you're not the next Rooney or Barkley, you're not getting a game.
39 Posted 25/02/2016 at 07:47:37
Very good points. The best way to develop promising young players is to get them out on loan to lower division clubs. A season of being involved in the physicality of the lower leagues will toughen them up.
Also, opponents in the Premier League stand off more and allow you to play. After playing in the lower leagues, they appreciate more space... even if it is a yard or two quicker.
40 Posted 25/02/2016 at 09:37:03
I would love to get the viewpoints of these players when they come back after being on loan; I bet they don't want to play in these U21 games.
I think Paul (38) has got it right along with us old farts.
41 Posted 25/02/2016 at 10:47:14
42 Posted 25/02/2016 at 11:45:58
43 Posted 25/02/2016 at 15:40:40
It has also limited the opportunity for established players to gain match fitness after absence / omission from first team activity. Is all.
44 Posted 25/02/2016 at 16:37:36
When you look at most of the clubs in the Premier League, they seem to produce very few who go on to become regular first team players.
So, is the system fit for purpose which is to produce first team regulars? Looking around the league... apparently not.
45 Posted 25/02/2016 at 16:58:04
I recall LFC being famous for having a reserve team that mirrored the first team so any new signings played there for some time to get to know the "Liverpool way" before they made their first team debut. Terry McDermott claims he wasn't too happy about it but appreciated the system once he'd got his first game behind him because his "promotion" was seamless.
46 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:28:19
Interesting point about players like Galloway, Stones, etc whom we have bought in some time before they make it to the first team; by my recollection, I don't think they go out on loan, or very rarely (Henen?). I think the loan system is more trial by fire and allows the club to make the cut with a little more confidence, for the 95% who simply ain't gonna make it.
I hear what you say, Dave, about the boring play in the U21 games, and I believe it. Even adding these sudden-death games, and higher-profile Euro clashes at Goodison probably hasn't changed their fundamental approach to playing the game. How you maintain the drive and ambition as young Academy players through years and years and years of meaningless lower-level footy that is such a huge contrast to the cut-and-thrust of senior games... well, that just defies my comprehension. So indeed the ones who make it have to be incredibly dedicated and committed.
I'm not convinced, Phil, that what you describe has actually happened. If you look back, I don't think the Central League was really that much more competitive than the current system, which also provides ample opportunity for recovering seniors to get a run-out as 'allowable' over-21s So I don't believe the opportunity is limited in any way... although very, very few seem to take advantage of it. Why is that, I wonder?
I think Brian is reflecting the same feelings I have about the system, which you have to judge by results. The dropout rate is absolutely huge as the number of players going through the Academy system is huge (I'd guess at 10 to 15 'new' U18 players each year). Is that only to be expected? that only a very small number will ever make it? Or is there something more fundamental at fault with the system?
I hate talking about Liverpool, Ray, they get far too much attention as it is, and I know nothing of that psychological trick to upgrade their reserves; I suspect this was a rarity, again falling into the Fond Memories of Olde category.
47 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:45:29
Either you can try your best with local talent, where few will come through to first team, or go down the unsavory Chelsea, Man City, Arsenal route of farming kids from all over the world just to make profit on their loan fees... and still, few will come through to the first team.
48 Posted 25/02/2016 at 21:52:51
The old reserve games were fun but that league was another type of holding pen.
I suspect we have a really good set of young players coming through, actually, and quite a few of them brought up in our system. A good number will fall away, it is true, but we may be in for some pleasant surprises.
49 Posted 25/02/2016 at 23:30:46
If we take a look over the last 10 seasons and use the figure of 3 young players that were ready to step up to the senior team. how many of the 30 have made it?
The major problem with young players coming through the age groups, is they play with players around their own age groups and it is only the exceptional ones (Rooney, Barkley) that can still use their talent against the older experienced players.
The major problem is "money". Clubs and supporters demand success and that means that the Clubs with the most money are more interested in buying experienced players than giving their youth players a chance unless they are exceptional.
Everton have constantly had a good youth set up but there seems very few of them that can produce 3 -4 players for the first team.
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