Everton U23s 1 - 2 SouthportSouthport scored late to secure the win in a Finch Farm friendly against David Unsworth's Under-23s on Saturday afternoon.
Ellis Simms opened the scoring with a sharp finish after 31 minutes and Everton had several opportunities to go further ahead.
Unsworth's team played with speed and purpose throughout the first hour, and Rhys Hughes twice forced splendid stops from the away side's goalkeeper. The Southport keeper also made a smart save from the dangerous Simms.
Both sides made a host of changes during the second half and Southport gradually began to assert pressure.
The visitors levelled when Mo Ali applied the finishing touch following a slick free-kick move and snatched victory when Marcus Carver slotted home in stoppage time.
No explanation has been forthcoming as to why the much-heralded new signing, Niels Nkounkou failed to even make the matchday squad.
Everton U23s: Tyrer (46' Hansen), John, Ouzounidis, Astley, Anderson, Hunt, Iversen, Onyango, Hughes, Dobbin, Simms.
Subs: Quirk, Cannon, McAllister, Small, Higgins, Kouyate
Reader Comments (22)
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1 Posted 15/08/2020 at 21:08:01
If he can keep scoring and improving his all-round play, then the chance should come.
2 Posted 15/08/2020 at 22:52:18
But one name is a big surprise: 16-year-old Katia Kouyate. He made the bench for this one and clearly is in reach of Unsworth's team. Fingers crossed, but there's loads raving about this kid. He just needs to focus and work hard. He's reportedly big, strong, fast and skillful.
3 Posted 15/08/2020 at 23:06:19
I was surprised that Small was our only defender, no centre-backs on the bench; it's a good marker that he's impressed someone, he's a bit like Kyle Walker-Peters who recently went from Spurs to Southampton.
A good shout for Kouyate too to be selected, but oddly we only have 5 out and out attackers across the U18s & U23s so he and Cannon will be busy this season.
I checked out the Southport twitter of the game and there was a photo of Brands, Carlo and Big Dunc all watching, good to see. From the remarks, we were the better team in the first half, it didn't say much about the 2nd half, not even who the subs were.
Random fact alert. They mentioned George Newell playing for Southport, he was in our youth set up 5 or 6 years ago but released at 18. He's the son of our ex-striker Mike Newell.
4 Posted 15/08/2020 at 23:15:22
5 Posted 15/08/2020 at 23:16:21
6 Posted 16/08/2020 at 09:27:12
When building a team, most managers start from the back, so if we are rebuilding the structure of the club, then it makes sense to start at the bottom.
A thankless task at Everton (even for a king's ransom) but with players going nowhere because of that same kings ransom, then it's all about that dreaded word “patience”.
Not for the first team-obviously, but when Michael K, asked on another thread why Everton pulled out of the EFL Trophy that offers proper competitive footy against lower league clubs, maybe it's down to this restructure?
7 Posted 16/08/2020 at 09:58:59
2 years ago, we won PL2 without any real talent. Joao Virginia and Antony Evans were it, for me. Last year Anthony Gordon pushed beyond the u23s quickly. We were left with a load of over 18s who were never going to make it, and those who might, out on loan.
I said this last season, and I said youll be able to really judge Unsworth on this “trophies before youth development” accusation because here he will have a load of 17, 18, and 19 year olds who are indeed very talented. Lo and behold, Unsworth is picking them all, particularly now in pre-season and giving them every opportunity to cement starting places.
Its sad that now that Unsworth has the tools to show hes a good youth developer, that its now being suggested that this is not him, its all down to Brands. Im sure the reality is that the two get on and that this is a coordinated effort.
I wish all of this team good luck, because even talented kids like Dobbin need an enormous amount of luck to make it. Imagine if James Vaughan had never had all those bad injuries, I think hed have been a superstar with all that pace, power, strength on the ball, and ability to sniff a goal out of nothing. A bad injury to any of them and it can all start to unravel quickly, also loss of form / momentum at this age can derail a promising career (Kieran Dowell?), and I havent mentioned the off the field issues (Jose Baxter).
8 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:13:52
The positive for me is that they are both working together, in previous years our U23s team at the start of the season would be filled with older players waiting for loans etc. I'm not sure how we will look after the likes of Broadhead, Connolly, Bowler etc but parking them in the U23s no longer appears to be the preferred option.
It's a tough task for Unsworth to meld talented but young and inexperienced players together but a nice challenge.
9 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:20:01
Ledson wanted to leave because he wanted first team football, and maybe a few kids might really improve by getting sent out on loan at a much younger age?
The path doesnt change, producing players is the only long term plan, and hopefully this restructure helps that aim, because nothings changed its a sink or swim environment and it always will be.
10 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:20:25
Ledson wanted to leave because he wanted first-team football, and maybe a few kids might really improve by getting sent out on loan at a much younger age?
The path doesn't change, producing players is the only long term plan, and hopefully this restructure helps that aim, because nothing's changed – it's a sink or swim environment and it always will be.
11 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:31:10
When you look at the top sides, they play a lot of 16- and 17-year-olds in their Under 23 side. They tend to loan out the older players who may be on the fringe of making the first-team squad. This allows them to see these players playing in competitive leagues against seasoned professionals, and help clubs assess whether a player will make the grade of their first team. By doing this and freeing up space for youngsters to play in the Under-23 side rather than an Under-18 league will help the players progress quicker.
For me, the job of the Under-23 coach is not necessarily win trophies but to produce players to fit into the first team and challenge the established first-team players. Also to asses which players would benefit from a loan deal, and which sadly won't make it into the first team. To have an Under-23 side with 21-year-olds is not the way forward, at that age these players should be either on loan or in the first-team squad or moved on.
12 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:39:10
I know Everton have been banned from signing kids into the academy but, once this restructure has started, I would then expect Everton to really start pushing again in the younger age bracket (12 to 16).
It took Chelsea years, but they have definitely reaped the benefits lately, and it wouldn't surprise me if they are also in profit, although I'm obviously not sure about this.
13 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:42:20
On another note, this is a great opportunity for Unsworth. He's shown he can build sides, team spirit etc – that's his forte. So giving him a younger (more talented?) group might work well all round. Getting talented teenagers drilled in a team structure in readiness for the step up to a loan or the first team.
I thought the U23s was broken but I like the look of this new approach.
14 Posted 16/08/2020 at 10:54:59
This to me suggests that the club will need to start fresh and build up and through the ranks. No more square pegs in round holes and also loan out the better up-and-coming players so they can learn the realities and life skills of playing professional football, in the Championship or lower.
To me, after watching the U23s regularly for the last 5 years, it's not quite the same last season but that's because of not winning trophies, it's that there's not enough players being given the chance to transition to the first team, and generally not enough players making it at Everton.
The current global economic structure will mean all clubs will need to assess their internal player development structures. Time is money, and all things considered, there's the challenge of attracting top class players and the need to provide good youth talent.
In the 70s and 80s, Burnley were pretty good at doing this; not so much since. Everton are lucky to get one gem per 20 years.
Is the club dysfunctional? I'd say no. Is the club connected within in terms of football and coaching styles? At the moment, who knows... but I'd like to think Carlo Ancelotti will be able to influence this process.
For sure as Evertonians it's the hope that kills you but we live in hope eternal.
15 Posted 16/08/2020 at 11:34:33
16 Posted 16/08/2020 at 11:45:03
Though in the match report Hughes had a few shots on goal so he may have been further forward. Iversen has usually played on the left of a 4 or 3, Hunt on the right.
At this age, they need to develop further areas, not just one position, so I'm sure they switched a bit. Maybe Kouyate or Cannon coming on to the right of Simms, Dobbin on the left in a 4-3-3 system but all just guesses on my part; we continue to be poor communicators on players at this level, which is sad as a few of us are genuinely interested.
17 Posted 16/08/2020 at 12:03:05
18 Posted 16/08/2020 at 13:08:12
Going on the reports of yesterdays game we seemed to have played very well for an hour then both teams used multiple substitutions, only naming the goalkeeping one, it might have been that these subs changed the flow of the game. Anyhow it is all about getting fit at this stage of the pre season, hopefully we will turn out to be fitter than we have looked for the last few seasons.
19 Posted 16/08/2020 at 15:08:07
I'm not sure if it's better fitness or a firework up the jacksy that our 1st teamers, mainly the midfield, need, Gordon apart.
20 Posted 16/08/2020 at 21:34:01
I think this could be his chance to break into the first team reckoning – maybe as back up to Digne.
Gibson and Nkounkou training with the first team can only be good for club as both of them will push each other harder to be Digne's understudy this year.
21 Posted 17/08/2020 at 03:36:42
Your 'Firework up the Jacksy' must be an English version of the Australian Cracker up the Clacker. A year ago, to impress his Sheilla, a bloke up in Darwin did that.
22 Posted 17/08/2020 at 09:19:19
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