There are indications that Carlo Ancelotti wants to take a good look at new acquisition, Jarrad Branthwaite, and other highly regarded U23 players as he continues to assess his squad.
Branthwaite and Kyle John were both absent from the Under-23s' excellent 2-1 win over Derby County at Goodison Park on Monday evening after playing in a behind-closed-doors friendly at Finch Farm the day before.
They are both set to continue training with the first team during the winter break as Ancelotti prepares for next Sunday's game at The Emirates Stadium.
The Italian had wanted to "have a look" at Branthwaite, a January signing from Carlisle United in League Two, with John and Alex Denny all taking part in the 60-minute practice match which was arranged chiefly to help André Gomes regain match-fitness.
David Unsworth saw this as yet more attrition of his playing resources for the Under-23s in what has proved to be a difficult season as PL2 Champions but, undeterred, he was able to engineer a fine win against a resilient Derby County side at Goodison Park last night, with youngsters Joe Anderson and Manasse Mampala stepping up from the U18s, Mampala getting the opening goal of the contest.
Reader Comments (68)
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1 Posted 18/02/2020 at 13:54:57
2 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:14:14
I'm not used to all this calculated planning on multiple fronts.
3 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:19:58
I'm just hoping Branthwaite can step up this summer, Mina and Holgate getting better, and we won't have to look somewhere else this summer, unless Keane or any of the above leaves.
4 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:22:27
5 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:38:21
Given the circumstances we all know about under the FFP rules, it is only natural that Ancelotti with his experience will want to develop the under-developed resources of the Academy – something that Silva failed to do and Brands seems to have been a damp squid at.
Again, those in charge at the Academy come under scrutiny in their comfortable roles, maybe there is another Duncan bidding his time for years, to finally come forward?
With some of the consistent inadequacies of some of the first-team squad and the risks of the transfer market, it may be easier to teach a promising youngster new tricks and overhaul the Academy to do this.
It will interesting to see how Ancelotti works Rhino. . .
6 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:53:56
7 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:54:06
8 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:54:58
"So again we lose a couple of players late, but Joe [Anderson] and Manasse [Mampala] came in and did a great job.
"We adjusted, but it's great that they're getting the exposure at first-team level, it's what it's all about.
9 Posted 18/02/2020 at 14:54:58
10 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:05:14
11 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:06:26
12 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:06:32
13 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:06:48
If we hopefully manage to get a European spot, we will need to utilise our squad to the fullest, and as FFP may inhibit close-season spending, we may need to utilise some of our youngsters.
14 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:14:21
15 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:33:03
Anyway, this is yet more of Carlo showing how to do things properly. Great guy. If we can fill up squad places with a few youngsters, then it all helps team spirit and it helps make sure we spend money only on those who take us up a notch.
Sheesh, Silva was really out of his depth with us.
16 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:37:23
I seem to remember it being reported that Koeman had almost to be carried screaming to the one U-23 game he attended at Prenton Park. Alan Ball always said he used to look forward to the regular games at Bellefield when the 1st XI played the youth team.
17 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:46:41
18 Posted 18/02/2020 at 15:55:24
"So again we lose a couple of players late, but Joe [Anderson] and Manasse [Mampala] came in and did a great job."
Is he complaining that U23 players are playing in the first team? I would hope not! He is a teacher trying to improve the grades of his pupils and he should be looking for a good year-end bonus for doing a good job.
I take it that he is complaining that, having prepared the team (not his team, the team) to play Derby, he suddenly lost players. I would complain. But I would be complaining that our club's internal communication is so poor that he did not know what "the first-team department" were doing.
It does show a lack of planning, a lack of consultation, a lack of working together within the club. Where is the monthly meeting, even weekly meeting, with Unsworth and Ancelotti to discuss players, with Unsworth and Paul Tait? Players should be reviewed on a weekly and at worst monthly basis.
Then we would not have to try to work out if there are any tensions behind the scenes.
19 Posted 18/02/2020 at 16:14:18
Didn't Newcastle actually bin the reserves for a couple of seasons a while back?? Bear in mind “a few years” could be 20 as I get older & the decades become blurred!!!
When you get a manager who implements a system from youth through to first team and insists on it, everything becomes a natural step up (or down) rather than a huge leap. Players know what to expect so it becomes more a case of “same shit, different players”.
It is the reason why so many of our U23s can look good at that level but then appear proverbial rabbits in headlights when they step up. Within reason, they are one player in a team of 11 and if they have the talent and understand the system, they should, in theory, slot in relatively seamlessly.
Dare I say on these hallowed virtual corridors, we unfortunately have the perfect example when we look across the park. Klopp has a coaching and playing system in place throughout the club, top to bottom, left to right, corner to corner. I know there are other factors, but this is important if you genuinely want to leverage the academy system.
It pains me to praise them, but they are great example and the outcome is evident: none of Liverpool's youngsters look out of place when they step up because they know what is expected, having being coached, day-in & day-out, exactly the same as the 1st team. It is a natural progression to the extent they can even put an entire team of kids out and win – just as we most painfully experienced.
I would argue their kids are not necessarily more capable or naturally gifted than ours; they are simply drilled in the system, therefore make the transition much more effortlessly.
20 Posted 18/02/2020 at 16:28:19
I'd have hoped Unsworth saw this as an opportunity to meet a challenge set. It wasn't ideal if at short notice but he had adequate cover: both Foulds and Anderson can do left centre-back or left-back; Astley is a centre-back.
Or even change the system and go 4-4-2 with Mampala alongside Simms with the other 4 midfielders he played. It should hardly have been a big deal for Unsworth.
21 Posted 18/02/2020 at 16:31:04
It's worth noting that we have two defenders playing for Fleetwood as Callum Connolly (age 22) is there on a season-long loan as well. In the 2-1 victory over Peterborough they seemingly lined up with a back three consisting of Connolly on the right and Gibson on the left.
Maybe those two knowing each other and having played together is part of Fleetwood's defensive improvement since Gibson's arrival?
22 Posted 18/02/2020 at 17:37:40
Under Koeman, he would not give the time of day to the U23s either training or eating at Finch Farm.
With Carlo, he is not only managing the first team, he seems to have time for everyone from the first team, the U23s, right down to the supporters.
I can see Carlo still being here as we move into our new stadium; it's been a long long time since we had this togetherness at Everton. A big mention has to go to Dunc who started it all off.
23 Posted 18/02/2020 at 18:44:59
This is good news that Ancelotti is looking closely at the Under-23s. It's been a constant issue for some time that young British players don't get the chances they could get, because of buying in foreign players, with all the massive escalation in transfer fees that has accompanied it. Perhaps this will now start to change, with more emphasis on bringing through home-grown talent. After all, home-grown talent is no less talented than the imported variety.
24 Posted 18/02/2020 at 18:54:21
Whatever the necessity of the exercise to give Gomes minutes, it has to be thought of as a good thing. Carlo will be left with impressions of some of the young players and their development will be near the forefront of his mind over the coming months.
It's good for the club that the young lads know that there is no glass ceiling and, if they are good enough, they will get a chance.
25 Posted 18/02/2020 at 18:56:22
Ajay @1, they ain't started even building it yet.
26 Posted 18/02/2020 at 19:29:23
The fact that Unsworth now takes part in first training one day a week (Interview last week reported in the Echo) means that he is now one of Ancelotti's coaching team and the relationship is two-way, Ancelotti gives advice and some instruction to Unsworth and Unsworth gives Ancelotti insider info on his young charges. Having some of them training with the first team is a good practice. I noted too that Simms was playing up-front alongside Richarlison in the game created for Gomes. As I stated on another thread, Ancelotti has a lot of Liedholm's man-management skills.
27 Posted 18/02/2020 at 20:00:17
I'll remember this the next time the first team is announced at our next home match. I won't need to bother cheering Holgate, Calvert-Lewin and Tom Davies as Unsworth is holding them back for the Under-23s.
Remember the final home game of Moyes's last season when Unsworth was in charge and he and Joe Royle blooded several youngsters that day?
Short memories on how good a person and coach Daviod Unsworth has been during his latest spell at Everton.
28 Posted 18/02/2020 at 20:27:32
29 Posted 18/02/2020 at 20:29:34
Barton cannot speak highly enough of Gibson. He raves about him. Plus Gibson is playing under the pressure of having to win games for promotion!
One thing I think we can all guarantee is that Barton will not have any shrinking violets in his team and Lewis will definitely at some point see some fireworks in the dressing room! For me a great chance for him to learn.
After having a few defenders we all comment on needing to be a bit nastier and clever in their fouling, I think going to Fleetwood under a master of the dark arts will bring Gibson on hugely!
30 Posted 18/02/2020 at 20:40:55
31 Posted 18/02/2020 at 21:40:47
32 Posted 18/02/2020 at 21:54:19
Duncan Ferguson's spell in charge and the transition also needs to be mentioned. I am absolutely positive about the way we are moving and, while there are bound to be bad patches and the dead wood has to be shifted on, it is looking very good.
33 Posted 18/02/2020 at 22:06:22
However, I am sure that the Everton staff are fully appraising themselves of the youngsters including those out on loan and hopefully the progress will benefit the first team down the line.
34 Posted 18/02/2020 at 22:11:58
I primarily did so to see how our ex-seek-and-destroy missile, Gana Gueye, played and I was curious to see the phenomena that is Erling Haaland as, again, I haven't seen him live.
What a BEAST of a player Haaland is. Quick. Strong. Mobile. Alert. Good team player. Great technique, movement and awareness. Always looking to make forward runs. Unless there is a serious relapse or some dreadful injury, he looks destined to join the greats on tonight's showing.
Poacher's goal from some pinball in the PSG defence for his first. An absolute stonking strike for his second. One touch to open his body up facing goal, thumping strike from outside the area which literally lifted the net off the ground.
As for Gana, I don't know if tonight is typical of his performances for PSG since joining them, as I don't watch them, but he was much more static than when he played for Everton. Interesting, because some claimed during his time with us that he was ill-disciplined and never held his position.
Well, tonight, you could have almost thrown a blanket over his default position on the pitch. It was receive and give all night long for Gana, suggesting he was playing to orders at Everton with his more roaming role.
But Haaland? What a star!
35 Posted 18/02/2020 at 22:25:43
I guess PSG have a lot more of the ball than we do so it might not be that's he's needed the same way. Why buy him and reign him in?
36 Posted 18/02/2020 at 22:40:34
I personally never bought the line that he was as poor a passer of the ball as some claimed during his time at Everton, but there can be no denying PSG has better technical players and better passers than Gana that they want to get on the ball more.
His job now isn't so much to be a dynamic tackling machine all over the park, but more a fixed point for players to play out of defence to as a means to quickly move the ball upfield.
I liked his all-action game with Everton more than the way he is being asked to play now.
But tonight, my eyes lit up with my first real look at Haaland. What an absolute diamond of a player.
37 Posted 18/02/2020 at 23:04:22
38 Posted 18/02/2020 at 23:33:33
I totally agree with you in regard to developing youth for the first-team squad. But this has not been happening at the Academy. Hopefully Ancelotti will be able to change things. Others were not able to.
I would be a liar if I said I liked the statement: 'David Unsworth saw this as yet more attrition of his playing resources for the Under-23s'.
39 Posted 19/02/2020 at 05:04:00
I would be a liar if I said I liked the statement: 'David Unsworth saw this as yet more attrition of his playing resources for the Under-23s'
But it is an attrition of resources for the U23s. It's a fact. So surely no problem with Unsworth stating this.
He's not saying he should have kept them for his squad. In fact, he thinks the opposite as he goes on to say: "We adjusted, but it's great that they're getting the exposure at first-team level, it's what it's all about."
There's no problem here.
40 Posted 19/02/2020 at 05:29:55
Thank you for putting up what Unsworth actually said: "... but it's great that they are getting exposure at first team level. It's what it's all about."
Rhino is as big an Evertonian as anyone who posts on here, or who goes to every game. That people still question his desire to do anything that isn't for the good of the club defies belief.
41 Posted 19/02/2020 at 07:17:35
42 Posted 19/02/2020 at 08:06:46
I think it depends on how you read the article, the purpose of which was to highlight Ancelotti's interest in Jarrad Branthwaite and other U23 players.
Given the other recent bombshell story about Man City's European ban, the obvious connection I did not state in the story, but which was picked up by a few posters in the comments above, is the possible need for self-imposed restrictions on expensive player acquisitions, which have proved in the last few years to be less than stellar, and which may force the club to look even harder at their U23 talent moving forward. So both important current themes to my mind.
Regarding Unsworth, I think I prefer David Ellis's characterization at #39 which nails it. Whenever we talk about him, though, I'm still curious about the rumours some repeat that he is leaving at the end of the season. Maybe there's another story there? Or maybe it would just be "filling space"?
43 Posted 19/02/2020 at 08:14:23
And has kept to the party line about it being all about getting players into the first team... which it is. But having been there, it does your head in.
44 Posted 19/02/2020 at 08:48:54
it was not true, I gather, with other recent managers.
45 Posted 19/02/2020 at 08:49:35
Just speculating, but my guess for the club management's first team squad building strategy for next season would be:
Tie down Richarlison, DCL and Holgate to better, long term contracts
Try and sell Schneiderlin, Tosun, Siggy, Iwobi, Walcott (not all, but maybe 2-3 in that list) to help fund the purchase of 1 central midfielder and 1 right sided mid-fielder.
Move on most of the loanees: Bolasie, Besic, Sandro, Pennington, Connolly, Garbutt, Dowell, Broadhead, (I hope some of their contracts will anyway wind down in the summer, saving us the trouble)
Bring in a few select loanees - I can presently think of Gibson and Jonjoe Kenny and maybe, Lossl ? and integrate them into the 1st team squad
Most likely, Baines' contract will not be renewed. Most definitely, Niasse and Martina as well. Perhaps, Stekelenburg as well.
Not sure about what Ancellotti thinks of Sidibe
Move a few select U23s to the 1st team: Simms, Beni, Virginia ?
And, of course, move a whole bunch of promising U-23s to the loan system - I can think of Feeney, maybe Gordon, and a few others.
Next season, Everton's squad could look something like:
GK: Pickford, Lossl, Virginia
CB: Mina, Holgate, Keane, Gibson
RB: Coleman, Kenny
LB: Digne, ?? (Delph/Coleman can fill in if necessary)
CM: Schneiderlin (or Siggy), Gomes, Delph, Davies, Beni, 'NewOne1'
Wide Midfield: Bernard, Walcott (or Iwobi), 'NewOne2'
Forwards: Richarlison, Calvert-Lewin, Kean, Simms
Will this squad be enough to challenge for a Top 4? Perhaps not, but maybe for a Top 6 finish, as well as compete in the Europe League (which is a distinct possibility, at the moment).
All my speculation, of course.
46 Posted 19/02/2020 at 08:56:11
This can only be a good thing, because Im sure the main point of recruitment will now change, and Brands can get on with his main job, of restructuring the whole club, especially the academy, something which David Unsworth is already ahead of.
We are, and we should continue, to shout Carlo Ancelloti from the roof-tops, because hes a legend in the game, and should be made to feel loved, because we want him to give this same love back to Everton, and hopefully take us back to a place we seem to have long forgotten about, but a place where we need to belong!!
47 Posted 19/02/2020 at 09:02:07
48 Posted 19/02/2020 at 09:11:39
49 Posted 19/02/2020 at 10:03:53
I would have thought the youngsters,esp the defenders are being looked at because we have sent so many in loan in Jan. One may be needed in an emergency.
After another couple of weeks of rest and training, will be interesting to see the midfield patterns of players against arsenal. I expect another big step forward.
50 Posted 19/02/2020 at 10:42:18
51 Posted 19/02/2020 at 10:50:42
As for when things went wrong, the blame should be attributed to Ronald Koeman. Martinez had them close together and wanted the U23s to feel they were close to the first team in more ways than one. Koeman built a fence and moved the U23s away from the first team. It was he who didn't want to know.
Allardyce wasn't there long enough to change anything. Should Silva have changed it? No; he was only head coach and this is the remit of Brands. I'm glad Ancelotti is doing more and hopefully he can revolutionise Finch Farm and utilise our world-class facilities and make us behave like the big club we want to be.
52 Posted 19/02/2020 at 10:51:41
Manager wants to look at all his players shock.
53 Posted 19/02/2020 at 11:22:49
"I thought Ellis was absolutely terrific.
“Take the goal out of it – he'll get all the acclaim for that – what he's done tonight was what we've been trying to work on all season with him. His hold-up play was excellent, as was his linking with the midfield and defending for the team.
“His touch to spin in behind for the goal and his finish was top class. He was a handful.
“He hasn't half come on this season. We all know he can finish but you need to have all the other attributes to be a Premier League striker and he's certainly going in the right direction.”
54 Posted 19/02/2020 at 11:27:03
55 Posted 19/02/2020 at 11:30:57
Unsworth said the right thing about him, that he needs to (and did) improve his link-up play, his approach play, and he needs to be able to do something other than score goals. Because, unless Ellis scored goals, you didn't see him. He didn't get involved. He had a lot of deficiencies to his game. Unsworth says he is a work in progress, and I would agree. This means he is getting better but he has a long way to go.
If he stepped up to the first team now, the worry is you'd see a little boy lost. He'd certainly not have the pace or power to run away from defences, so what else has he got? Not enough, right now, for the first team. I'm sure this is not lost on Carlo Ancelotti. In the summer, Ellis will be roughly the same age Moise Kean was when we signed him. He has a long way to go to be as good as Moise was back then.
There's a lot to like about the kid, but he has a lot of work to do, and he's probably not ready for a loan just yet, because he has so much work to do.
56 Posted 19/02/2020 at 12:09:33
Thank you for explaining the context, which seems reasonable enough. But I have always felt there was a lag in bridging the gap between the U23s and the first team.
57 Posted 19/02/2020 at 16:18:12
The only thing I'd add is that it will be difficult to compare Ellis Simms with any other player in terms of age and development. He's on his own (upward) curve, maybe a year behind Gordon who's a similar age, maybe 2 or 3 behind Kean, maybe he'll never catch up as those two were blessed with natural talent and skill at an early age.
Simms has had to work hard to keep learning and improving in the 2½ years he's been with us. You could see in the two recently streamed games how he's improved his hold-up play, laying the ball off, turning with the ball etc. But of course this is only U23s level he's still a huge amount to improve on.
Training with the first team will help, Big Dunc can teach him how to bully centre-halves, and playing against two Premier League centre-backs in training, it will be hard for him to find space and a good learning experience.
58 Posted 19/02/2020 at 17:49:34
Imagine him in a Guardiola side. He wouldn't look very good. He's not a technically gifted player. His raw speed and power would count for little for them.
Fortunately we saw it. We harnessed it and played to his strengths. There's something to be said for not playing like the first team, perhaps?
59 Posted 19/02/2020 at 18:57:19
Short term gain versus longer term success?
Hey, I appreciate most clubs operate under the model of hope and see if someone comes good, so thats not a criticism of that system.
Im just (sadly) quite impressed with what Klopp has implemented throughout Liverpool. It didnt happen overnight, but it is now clearly paying dividends and looks like it will do so for a generation.
Ill be honest, Im influenced through life experience. I spent some of my childhood in Germany as my father was in the Army. I then served in Germany in the Army myself. I consider myself fortunate to have played in their football system as a kid and adult; thats how they do things. The clubs (from village through to Bundesliga) apply the same system throughout; youth to first team.
I know our focus is Everton & club, but I just think you have to look at the sustained & long term success of their national team to see how they have it more right than us. Our national team has relied on one-off / once in a generation players or collection of, to deliver a now 50+ year success we still talk about & has resorted to considering a semi final or better than expected tournament performance as success. There is no long term vision as we rely on the odd individual(s) coming along periodically to carry the dead wood.
60 Posted 20/02/2020 at 12:22:57
We are reminded by Brands of the need for patience in order to build lasting success. These two men hold our future in their hands.
61 Posted 22/02/2020 at 16:10:15
62 Posted 22/02/2020 at 17:17:20
63 Posted 22/02/2020 at 17:28:16
64 Posted 22/02/2020 at 17:34:17
65 Posted 22/02/2020 at 17:41:59
66 Posted 22/02/2020 at 18:34:47
67 Posted 22/02/2020 at 19:32:35
68 Posted 23/02/2020 at 10:18:29
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