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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 03/03/2020 at 18:35:29
Thanks for the report, Mark. I know you can't really go on one game and the team has been disrupted with a few players going out on loan. It is also a very young team with just Banginime and Foulds really with much experience at this level. I don't know if Antony Gordon is injured but he hasn't been near any Everton team lately as far as I know. He could be ready for some minutes as a sub, but I would agree with you that there is no young player, at the moment, screaming out to be selected to start a first team game. Thanks again for taking the time to let fans know how the U23s are performing.
Pete Jones
2 Posted 03/03/2020 at 19:51:23
A really informative and entertaining report Mark, thanks. I've been wondering about Everton's youth policy for a while and this really helps. I fear that we are turning out players who will make a good living in the lower leagues but not remotely good enough for the 1st team. As you say, loans appear the way forward - Holgate is the latest testament to that working, but we bought him from Barnsley.
Brent Stephens
3 Posted 03/03/2020 at 20:15:18
Great report Mark. I watched most of it on the Chelsea app on my iPhone. Not the best way to view a match but I wouldn’t disagree with your game and player assessments. I might be a bit more generous on Beni but people will know he’s a favourite of mine.

I don’t like this 4-5-1. Simms isn’t yet good enough to get anything in that setup.

Mike Oates
4 Posted 03/03/2020 at 20:27:00
I've watched the U23s about 5 times this season and I don't see anyone remotely ready for a first-team spot. In fact, as I've mentioned on numerous occasions, the route through our Academy is very poor. In the last few years, we've ONLY had Davies come through, with Holgate and Calvert-Lewin both bought it when they were 16 or 17. Hopefully Gordon might at some time but again he's gone off the radar last months or so.

Compare that with:

Man Utd – McTominay, Greenwood, Rashford, Lingard, Williams
Chelsea – Tomoli, Mount, James, Abrahams
Arsenal – Saka, Nketiah, Nelson and Marinelli bought in as youngster
Spurs – Winks and Alli and Dier bought in young
Liverpool – Alexander-Arnold, and Gomez bought in
Mn City – as per normal Guardiola wont bring youngsters through - only done it at Barcelona as he knew the kids when he managed Barcelona B, but none at Bayern Munich or Man City (Foden might !!)

There is something wrong at Everton Academy, either poor recruitment at 8- to 12-year-old, or poor coaching or poor U23s management. You can win as many PL2 trophies as you want but the job is to bring players through and we are not.

Mark Louch
5 Posted 03/03/2020 at 22:02:14
Thanks for the comments lads. I think Mike you are being a bit harsh when you think Kenny, Barkley and Dowell all, to a greater or lesser extent, made it all the way and I think Anthony Gordon will.

I think the other thing to remember is progress is not always linear. Many of us wrote off Leon Osman who had a very good Premier League career after a few setbacks.

Hopefully Baningime can kick on again and use his head to realise obvious talent.

Steve Ferns
6 Posted 04/03/2020 at 11:13:24
Cheers for the report, Mark. Baningime is living off his efforts from 2 years ago and has a lot to do to be worthy of the high esteem some seem to (wrongly) hold him in. He has a very long way to go, just to get back the level he was at back then, never mind improve and become the player we all hoped he might be. Baningime is going to go the same way as Garbutt and Galloway.

Mike Oates, that's a very selective list, you discount our players who were bought in, then count players other clubs bought in. Discount Gordon, but include some who have barely played more than him, limit us to a couple of seasons, but then use a 27-year-old as an example of someone who recently made a breakthrough! To put that in perspective, Lingaard is closer in age to Wayne Rooney than he is to Moise Kean.

I do agree that the current U23 side is poor, but this is the way of things. You have to wipe a successful side away and allow the next generation to develop. We have perhaps the best generation we have had in decades about to come through: Lewis Dobbin, Tom Cannon, Bobby Carroll, Tyler Onyango, Ryan Astley, Lewis Warrington, Seb Quirk, Kyle John, and add into that Jarrod Branthwaite.

Mike Oates
7 Posted 04/03/2020 at 11:53:52
Steve, I don't count discount purchases, I just stated them. The real question is where are our youngsters who have been at the club since 12-14? A one-club player, not bought in, and we've got Davies who plays reasonably regularly in our first team.

It's no good others quoting Dowell, Baningime, Hornby, Evans, etc etc - they've never made it other than on the odd occasion and have never done well on loan. Jonjoe Kenny has and let's hope a bit like Chelsea's youngsters that he comes back as a first-teamer.

I wish the same for Gibson, at Fleetwood, but he was a multimillion pound purchase not home grown. Hopefully Broadhead as well at Burton, but he's lost his way in the last few months after an injury.

You can quote a new generation coming through with the lads you've named, but we've said this year after year... The last 2-3 years it's been: Markelo, Adeniran, Feeney, Evans, Hornby, Bowler, Walsh, Williams, Robinson... and no-one ever gets through to be a first-team squad player who gets regular games.

Successful U23s teams haven't made successful first-team players; they at least should generate players who, when gone on loan, are so successful they return ready. The odd gem coming straight in is a bonus - and maybe Chelsea have got one in Billy Gilmour last night who, at 18, ran the show – he was signed as a 16-year-old from Glasgow Rangers.

Steve Ferns
8 Posted 04/03/2020 at 14:32:24
Mike, you are right that successful U23 sides do not make successful 1st team players, the greater indicator is successful U18 sides. Our successful U23 sides have not been successful U18 sides. The standard has not been good. There is nothing wrong with the U23 side as they are improving what we have and delivering trophies.

Your criticism is selective in the extreme though. You are discounting players and changing the parameters to suit your argument.

Go and apply your 12-14 test to the success stories you named. You will see it falls apart. Do you want to criticise our ability to sign players for the academy, like Billy Gilmour? Well, we are banned from signing Billy Gilmour. I think you must have forgotten that we have a ban.

England won the U20 World Cup with five Everton players, two were bought in (Calvert-Lewin and Lookman) and three were homegrown (Dowell, Connolly and Kenny):

Dowell has had lot of opportunities but seems unable to make the next step.

Kenny, I think, was mis-managed but, saying that, after a period of success in Germany, recent reports have been less glowing.

Callum Connolly was a great utility player, but I always thought he was a jack of all trades and master of none. He was never going to be a top full-back, he lacked the ability to get up and down the wing, to beat a man, and to get a cross in. He was too scrawny to be a centre-half. So he was always going to be a central midfielder or nothing for me, and I always thought that on a technical level, he was lacking.

These five (three in reality) were not part of a top U18 side, even when they had a younger Tom Davies playing in the side.

The simple fact of the matter is, Everton produces more than their fair share of youth players. You just do not look closely enough, which is why you are lumping in 27-year-old Jesse Lingard to make your argument. If you want to use Lingard, then you cannot discount the younger players who have come through our academy, like Barkley, or those bought in, like Lookman or Stones.

As for the current U18s, we have not had a team with such attacking talent for decades. Even the Tony Hibbert side that won the FA Youth Cup in the '90s (yes our last silverware at U18 level) could not boast the firepower of the current generation. The fact that most of them will still be under the age of 18 at the end of the season highlights just how talented this group is.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 04/03/2020 at 14:41:52
I neglected to mention, one thing that sticks out is that our U18s have always been local lads. It's only the last 5 years or so that we have lads from further afield than the counties bordering Merseyside. What's the reason for that?

Poor Scouting Networks? Lack of Pulling Power? Whatever the reason, we didn't convince 11-year-olds from London to move to Liverpool, in the same way Man City and Man Utd do.

But their practices are very dodgy, and they have tie-ins with prestigious schools and give full scholarships regardless of whether the boy remains in their youth system. We tried something but that led to us getting a ban on signing players under the age of 16 or 18. I thought it was 18 but obviously we have signed Jarrod Branthwaite, so it must be 16.

This Under-18 side shows a massive change. We have lads from Luton like Tyler Onyango, Stoke - Lewis Dobbin; London born Rafael Garcia is classed as Spanish and was signed from Fulham before the ban. He is not being talked about due to breaking his leg but he is back soon and he is meant to be a star, and again, just 17 years of age. There's very few of the U18 side that are from Liverpool, just Ireland international, Tom Cannon.

Antony Kelly
10 Posted 04/03/2020 at 18:03:16
Unsworth is not a developer.

He tries to win by playing older players: Harry Charsley, Beni Baningime, Nathangelo Markelo and many more over the years. Jose Baxter was parachuted in to play as a ringer not so long along.

Unsworth is not a possession coach so our kids will not improve technically.

Looks to me like Brands is onto him by reducing his responsibilities.

Kevin Prytherch
11 Posted 05/03/2020 at 11:18:45

Charsley was playing out of gratitude to help some of the younger players integrate into the team and to help him find a club. I think it was commendable by Everton to retain him. Imagine being at the club since you were 10, then you get a bad injury just at the time you need to find another club and they just wash their hands of you? Doesn't set a good example.

Baxter was another one-off. Ex-Academy player who made mistakes. He worked for free with Everton in the Community for a year so we gave him a peanuts contract to get fit and to find another club. Again, he helped with some of the younger players. Again, I think it was commendable by the club, especially with recent events and what can happen when people feel isolated.

Baningime is 21. He is playing for his future. Shall we not play him because he is 21?

Markelo has just turned 21, and was touted as a top prospect when we signed him. Again – do we bin him because he is 21?

At what age do we then stop playing players? Is it 21? Or 20? How about 20 years and 8 months?

Do we fill the U23s with 17-year-olds? Then fill the U18s with 16-year-olds?

Rob Dolby
12 Posted 05/03/2020 at 12:48:52
I am not sure of the philosophy at U23 level or indeed the academy at all.

If the club brought in its own rules about only playing lads from within a certain distance from the club and they had to play a certain style, I would be happy.

For me, 'development' means getting beaten an awful lot more than winning. You learn more in defeat than beating an opposition with the oldest more mature physically kids.

The national team has never had an identity and can only get so far in tournaments due to individual talent. The Germans and Italians play to a system and, surprise, surprise, they win stuff.

Chasing parents of kids at the age of 14 to sign is wrong on so many levels. The local talent is there, the coaching isn't. It's a results business from a very early age and that's to the detriment of the game and clubs in general.

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