Everton U18s get past Wigan after Extra Time in the FA Youth Cup

Wednesday, 17 March, 2021 117comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U18s 4 - 2 Wigan Athletic U18s [AET]

Everton U18s started their 2021 FA Youth Cup campaign with a good win after going behind 2-0 to Wigan Athletic in a 3rd Round tie on Wednesday night..

The game was streamed live from Haig Avenue in Southport on the club's official YouTube channel.

Tonight's team included Thierry Small and Tyler Onyango, who have been on the bench as unused subs for the senior squad.

The visitors kicked off but it was Everton who had the first chance of a set-piece, but Whitaker's delivery was disappointing. Wigan won an early corner, that was delivered in well and cleared by Mallon.

The first shot on goal came from a distance for Charlie Whitaker, forcing the save. Theirry Small took a knock that he struggled to run off. Stewart had to save to his right after a good break by Wigan.

Wigan liked to run with the ball and it worked for them as they came forward at speed, with Harry McHugh scoring well. Everton might have equalized at the other end but it was pinball in the Wigan area.

Whitaker had another set-piece that pinged of the top of the wall and was headed over by Mallon. Small could not continue, replaced by Lowey. But more strong attacking from Wigan was irresistible, McGurk shooting low past Stewart for a rather daunting 2-0 lead.

But it brought a decent response from the Young Blues, Mallon taking a good pass from Whitaker after he showed some excellent care of the ball, to score across the Wigan keeper.

Everton were very lucky to get a penalty for a foul on Tom Cannon off the ball, but he didn't hit it well enough from the spot, inviting the save. A nice ball forward for Cannon found him offside.

Seam McAllister came on for Harry Gagan after the break and would play a major part in the goal when Reece Welch was on hand to drive home a rebound and put Everton level.

A tremendous chance for Tom Cannon near the end saw a fine header cleared off the line. Price headed the corner wide. Wigan applied some pressure in the last few minutes before extra time, with Garcia replacing Warrington before the final whistle.

Extra time hard hardly begun when Tom Cannon curled a lovely shot in at the far post to give Everton the lead.

Sean McGurk came very close to equalizing for Wigan before Rafa Garcia rather cynically drew a penalty that Tom Cannon fired home to make it 4-2.

The Young Blues came close to scoring again as Wigan tired, and move on to the next round.

Everton U18s: Stewart, Mallon, Small (25' Lowey), Welch, Kristensen, Hagan (46' McAllister), Price (113' Metcalfe), Warrington (90' Garcia), Cannon, Onyango, Whitaker.
Subs not Used: Leban, Jagne, Tierney.


Reader Comments (117)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:09:47
The kids have kicked off...
Thomas Richards
2 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:15:34
Take thier ipads off them Michael.
That will quiten them down 😁
Michael Kenrick
3 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:19:49
Aye, some of them do look a bit nerdy, Thomas.
Brent Stephens
4 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:20:19
Wigan take the lead. Look a good side.
Phill Thompson
5 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:20:54
0-1, Wigan good value for their lead
Brent Stephens
6 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:23:39
Like the look of McGurk for Wigan. Spelling?
Michael Kenrick
7 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:24:45
What's this business of running at the opposition with the ball at your feet and shooting at goal on sight? I'm not familiar with this... neither, it seems are the Everton lads,
Brent Stephens
8 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:27:17
Getting technical now, Michael.

Small off injured.

Brent Stephens
9 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:29:02
Like the look of Warrington for us.
Tony Abrahams
10 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:30:00
I think footballers don’t shoot because the coaching is to technical sometimes Brent,
Thomas Richards
11 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:31:28
Disappointing Brent.

Hearing big things on this young man.
Was just about to ask the lads watching for a report.

Change it to Onyago.
How has he started?

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:31:52
McGurk scores. He’s really good for Wigan
Phill Thompson
13 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:32:32
Wigan the better team you have to say.
Brent Stephens
14 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:33:23
Thomas, Onyango fairly quiet so far.
Brent Stephens
15 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:34:50
1-2. Mallet
Brent Stephens
16 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:35:20
Michael Kenrick
17 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:35:27
Nice goal from Mallon
Phill Thompson
18 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:39:42
Matthew Mallon is another first year Scholar, 17, usually a straight forward right back, looking useful further forward as a wing back.

Penalty Everton.

Cannon misses it !

Brent Stephens
19 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:39:58
Penalty for us. We were going nowhere. Saved
Michael Kenrick
20 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:48:02
I see the kids are learning how to play it out from the back! Eeek!
Michael Kenrick
21 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:49:40
Who is that on Comms with our Darren?
Phill Thompson
22 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:50:35
Michael it’s ex blue Nick Chadwick

He’s ex Wigan u18 manager .

Michael Kenrick
23 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:52:19
Ah... thanks Phill. Haven't seen him for a very long time!
Phill Thompson
24 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:52:38
1-2 at half time. At this level it’s likely to finish 4-3 or 3-4 he says edging his bets.
Phill Thompson
25 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:54:39
Isaac Price having an impact at crucial moments, winning the ball and setting up Mallon for the goal and providing the through ball to Cannon when he was fouled for the penalty.
Michael Kenrick
26 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:56:15
Chadwick made more than 20 appearances for the first team and scored 6 goals!!! Now that I don't remember!
Thomas Richards
27 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:56:29
👍 Thanks Brent.

Have you seen much of Smalls?

Dennis Stevens
28 Posted 17/03/2021 at 19:56:32
Just logged on in time for the half time break!
Brent Stephens
29 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:02:14
Thomas, Small looks really good. Strong lad. But went off injured. Smalls I'd rather not talk about!
Phill Thompson
30 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:05:48
Switched to a back four with Sean McAllister in midfield.
Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:06:15
If the first team don’t depress you, don’t worry these youngsters will sort it out, what way have they been coached? The number eight and number two look okay, seem to know what the ball is for, Price is usually a lot better than this, are they over awed for some reason, Wigan’s number seven certainly knows how to play, wanting the ball and using it well, making and scoring a goal, although he faded in the last ten minutes of the half. One player I have seen about a dozen times for the young Everton teams, never seen a more clumsy player, everything he does seems wrong, can’t tackle, missed placed passes, in the wrong place a lot of the time, never aware or anticipates a move, if he’s being coached he’s not learning or listening, maybe they’ll buck up in the second half after a good talking to by the coach!!
Thomas Richards
32 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:08:49

Discretion always the best way Brent

Brent Stephens
33 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:21:33
Brent Stephens
34 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:22:07
Phill Thompson
35 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:22:09
Reece Welch tucking it away 2-2.

Nice deep corner from Price.

Kieran Kinsella
36 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:36:10
Dave Abrahams

"One player I have seen about a dozen times, never seen a more clumsy player, everything he does seems wrong, can’t tackle, missed placed passes, in the wrong place a lot of the time, never aware or anticipates a move,"

Yeah Gomez is terrible. Oh wait, you're talking under 18s

Robert Tressell
37 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:37:22
There are some decent individuals at this level but the passing and movement is very pedestrian. Very little penetration down the flanks and no real creativity. Cannon completely isolated.
Brian Murray
38 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:40:14
Kieran. Ha ha my thoughts exactly! Maybe the under 18 s means iq. So maybe it is Gomes.
Michael Kenrick
39 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:45:18
Got distracted there... missed most of the 2nd half.

Does this go straight to penalties?

Phill Thompson
40 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:52:14
Extra time first Michael
Michael Kenrick
41 Posted 17/03/2021 at 20:59:27
Thanks, Phill.

There was something in the rules that all FA Youth Cup games had to be played at the home club's main ground. I'm guessing Covid has put paid to that old-fashioned notion?

Brent Stephens
42 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:03:40
Missed much of second half. I see Cannon has put us one up early into ET
Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:03:50
Fuckin’ hell another thirty minutes, I know I can switch off but I suffer from insomnia, so this could help me, the coach certainly worked his magic with his half time talk. “ Your doing great lads, carry on the same way and we’ll win this”

Penalties it is then, COYBB’s

Phill Thompson
44 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:07:25
A well worked and well taken goal from Cannon, 3-2, 27 sec into extra time!
Phill Thompson
45 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:09:50
I’m surprised Seb Kristensen doesn’t go up for corners and free kicks with his height and build.
Brent Stephens
46 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:13:24
Penalty awarded to us. Good move Cannon to Garcia. 4-2
Phill Thompson
47 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:13:27
Another penalty after Garcia was brought down. This time Cannon puts it into the net same side 4-2
Brent Stephens
48 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:14:11
Soft penalty decision.
Robert Tressell
49 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:18:51
Stopped watching after 90 minutes. Did Garcia make the difference? He looked tiny.
Brent Stephens
50 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:19:52
He “won” the penalty, Robert.
Phill Thompson
51 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:24:24
Best move of the match there, nearly scored McAllister
Brent Stephens
52 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:26:03
Garcia quite tricky.
Phill Thompson
53 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:38:46
4-2 final result, after a tricky first 25 mins we got better and deserved the win in the end
Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:39:30
They play Man. City in the next round, I think a week on Saturday, can’t wait!!
Phill Thompson
55 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:43:12
I’m never happy when we play with a back 3 and wing backs at this level and U23s, we always seem to get overrun in midfield. Once we changed to a back four with four/five in midfield we looked much better.
Paul Birmingham
56 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:54:47
Tough hard earned win for Everton, and let’s see how they start in the next game.

A few of these lads playing in the under 23s too, so a tough schedule for some of them.

Seems like 5 mins since Nick Chadwick started out for Everton, where do the years go..

Tony Abrahams
57 Posted 17/03/2021 at 21:56:18
How old is Whittaker, Phill? He wasn’t great, but some of the positions he took up, and his aptitude for hard work impressed me, and one thing you need to do in these games, is to work very hard.
Brent Stephens
58 Posted 17/03/2021 at 22:07:12
Tony, Whittaker wasn't bad was he. Also quite impressed by Warrington.
Phill Thompson
59 Posted 17/03/2021 at 22:18:09
Tony, Charlie Whitaker is 17, first year Scholar and was one of the ones given a pro contract when he turned 17, sept/Oct 2020. He’s got about 6 goals this season though he’s not really an out n out attacker like Cannon. He was in an U23s squad recently can’t remember if he got mins on the pitch.
Phill Thompson
60 Posted 17/03/2021 at 22:22:29
I thought Welch/ Kristensen settled down once we changed to a back four. It’s likely that next season they will be close to being the U23s pairing, depending on what happens with Ouzounidis and Astley, both their contracts are up.
Robert Tressell
61 Posted 17/03/2021 at 22:28:31
It looked like very rudimentary football from us. I was disappointed. Hopefully the younger age groups are encouraging much more progressive use of the ball than this.
Andrew Keatley
62 Posted 17/03/2021 at 23:08:22
Disappointed to see Small pick up an injury, but the team had a much better balance after he was replaced by Lowey (who was very tidy and generally passed the ball well and made good choices).

The referee was very poor, including not awarding us a penalty in the first half for a foul on Cannon that was clearly a yard inside the box - and it felt like he lost control of the players. The challenge on the 16-year-old Jenson Metcalfe in the final minute of extra-time by McGhee (the Wigan 8) was scandalous and could have easily broken Metcalfe’s leg - and Onyango could have been booked at least 3 times for separate fouls. There was also a strange clash between Rafa Garcia and McGhee in the second period of extra-time in which they both seemed to kick out at each other; ref did nothing.

As for the players, well it’s the second time in the last couple of weeks I have watched Isaac Price be massively underwhelming. Clearly he is highly rated at the academy (and seemingly on here) but to me he looks lightweight, almost disinterested at time, lacking in energy and ambition to the extent that he almost seemed unwilling to fight for the ball. Warrington was bright and industrious, Onyango was everywhere, and Charlie Whittaker was a threat all night and worked hard throughout. The less said about Harry Hagan’s performance the better, although the fact he was subbed at half-time tells the story really. Cannon grew into the game, but I was hoping for more from him (as he has been hyped on here). Rafa Garcia looked bright and progressive, although he came on to run at an open and tired Wigan defence.

Don Alexander
63 Posted 18/03/2021 at 01:08:37
I watched the match, the first time I've done so, ever, and was depressed by the lack of verve and ambition displayed by us, just like our first team.

Formulaic shite masquerading as entertainment.


Kieran Kinsella
64 Posted 18/03/2021 at 03:47:41
Was it Cadamarteri and co who last won this for us? I try to ignore my age but that was 20 plus years ago right? (PS I’m 21 y/o probably)
John Raftery
65 Posted 18/03/2021 at 09:23:32
Kieran, it was 1998. Cadamarteri, Ball, Dunne and Jeffers had all played in the Premier League that season. Osman suffered a bad injury and did not break into the first team for another five years. That was a good crop of players with Colin Harvey coaching them. How many of them would have made it into the first team at that age in the current era? I am not counting two minute appearances at the end of a cup tie already won.
Tony Abrahams
66 Posted 18/03/2021 at 09:40:43
I had to look up rudimentary Robert, but have to agree, and that’s why I liked Whitaker, because he kept looking to find little pockets of space, and took up what I can only now describe as, unorthodox positions! The only thing Everton looked really coached thoroughly on, was midfielders dropping in to help play out from the back, and although I can see the benefit of this, it’s a long way to your opponents goal from back there, and the closer they got to Wigan’s goal, the players never showed enough individuality or footballing nouse?

Warrington, always wanted to get on the ball Brent, he started tiring but looked like he wants to be involved, which is definitely the most important aspect of playing midfield imo, and that’s why like Andrew K, I was also disappointed in Isaac Price.

Maybe I’m deluded, maybe I expect to much, but looking back from when I played at this level, and looking round watching other games played at most levels, I watch enough football, to realize that their are a lot of football coaches and football managers, who are robbing a living imo, or maybe I’m wrong, because most football seems to be coached in a rudimentary manner imo, but yet not many teams, seem to be that well drilled?

Maybe just another contradiction of sorts, but it’s why I’ve been most impressed with Scott Parker, and watching Fulham, the longer this season has gone on.

Dave Abrahams
67 Posted 18/03/2021 at 09:46:43
Andrew (62) “ Onyango was everywhere”? Could you elaborate on that, was he good or bad, what did he achieve?

On the referee, who was really very poor with quite a lot of his decisions, one blatant mistake was when Everton’s goalkeeper dived for the ball and slid out of the area with the ball, placed it back inside the area and was allowed to get away with it.

Dave Abrahams
68 Posted 18/03/2021 at 09:56:23
Tony (66), Well Tony, you had your chance to coach, got all your English FA badges, then it was changed so you needed it to be EUFA badges, you never took the trouble to go in for them, did you? How many times were you asked, even got on my knees and begged you, I think, but no you never went in for them!!! So there, mind you you would have drove a lot of kids mad with your talks, half of them would have been on Valium!!
Tony Abrahams
69 Posted 18/03/2021 at 10:15:26
I might have drove the kids mad Dave, but only with hard work though mate. (And it’s took me all these years to realize that hard work, “REAL HARD WORK, AND 100%, NOT 98% DEDICATION” is absolutely everything)

I honestly think most footballers stop listening if you talk to much, and any good points you do make can get lost, if a coach goes on to much.

Dave Abrahams
70 Posted 18/03/2021 at 10:23:28
Tony (69), true, REAL HARD WORK and 100% DEDICATION, that’s what made me the best storekeeper, on building sites, in Merseyside, England even!!!
Brian Harrison
71 Posted 18/03/2021 at 10:25:25
It was reported that Unsworth collared Tyler Onyango after the final whistle and said " listen even though you are training with the first team now, your eating is so important. Make sure you replenish yourself". Dont know what that was all about, also it said that Thierry Small was wearing a protective boot on his foot after going off injured in the first half.
Phill Thompson
72 Posted 18/03/2021 at 10:42:59
It’s interesting reading all the different views. Last night was one of those rare opportunities for me to see the u18s, the last time I saw us in the FAYouth Cup Final was back in 1977 against Palace. I don’t remember us being particularly good back then!
So I enjoyed the game for what it was, Wigan were the better team first half, we were better 2nd half and xtra time. I have no huge expectations to see these youngsters. playing flowing, expansive football, some playing last night won’t even make it into the lower professional leagues. Some though will hopefully make it into our first team squads.
Tony Abrahams
73 Posted 18/03/2021 at 10:44:58
He had a successful career Unsworth, but if that’s true, then it’s just another case of “do as I say, not has I do” but it does carry a very important message though, because most kids think they’re dedicated, but as I said, 98% just isn’t enough in most cases.
Tony Abrahams
74 Posted 18/03/2021 at 10:57:56
I take your points Phill, I always do, and agree with how you saw the game mate. These games are anything but easy, and I usually found them harder than Central league football, which was more structured, and usually a touch slower, surprisingly.

My only gripe is that I never saw enough of that youthful exuberance, and players being encouraged to get on the ball, regardless of making mistakes, (probably the only real way to learn?) and that’s why Robert’s rudimentary shout, made a lot of sense to me.

I’ve started enjoying Fulham, Manchester City are a machine, and then it’s only really Leeds I’ve also enjoyed watching, with the common denominator being that all these players, look like they are getting encouraged to just “go and play”

Jay Wood

75 Posted 18/03/2021 at 11:49:02
Tony, I too am impressed by Scott Parker at Fulham.

Key in relegation battles for me are goals against. The more a team concedes is usually a good predictor of who is in trouble. That's why both WBA and Sheff Utd are in the basement and why the likes of Newcastle and Southampton need to be a bit nervy.

Parker has not only tightened Fulham up a lot, he has them playing good football. Yes, they are drawing too many games and need to get over the line and win a few more, but they are good to watch.

That said, as well as they played v City on Saturday, they made three uncharacteristic BIG errors and duly got punished on all three. Nonetheless, I honestly think they will get 3-4 places clear of the bottom 3 by the end of the season.

Rob Dolby
76 Posted 18/03/2021 at 12:24:49
When I watch our junior teams I get the impression that football instinct, will to win and flare gets coached out of most of the lads and turns them into pretty robotic footballers void of inspiration. With coaches pinning hopes and focusing on the odd one or 2 per age group.

fast forward a few years and most of the lads have disappeared whilst the golden 2 are playing centre back or full back, carrying the water for the new golden 2.

The first team then spend a fortune for players that have passion and flare. A commodity that is coached out of kids at the club.

I know Godfrey is our new golden boy but his attributes are not related to football coaching. His desire and pace have him as nailed on starter in our first team. You can't tell me as an academy we can't identify lads who have those attributes.

I know it's not as simplistic as kids grow physically and mentally which can derail promising careers. I think that just because the English academy has a pyramid structure it doesn't mean it's successful.

As a club we have a history of firsts so why not try something more out of the box as far as the academy and development is concerned and move away from the numbers and merry go round system.

Robert Tressell
77 Posted 18/03/2021 at 12:45:33
I don't really like being too critical of individual youth players because they're just boys. But quite a few last night are obviously making up the numbers. Small and Onyango are the most prominent - because they have outstanding physical attributes to match their skills. Still very raw though. I like Price and Warrington too. And they would look even better if they had tricky / pacy players ahead of them and in wide positions. Whittaker and Cannon might also have looked more effective if we had some proper width.

I am convinced that these flair players are pushed out of the system by athletes at a young age. This is because of 442, balls into the corners, set pieces etc - the rudimentary football I described earlier.

But by the time the athletes hit their late teens, their athleticism is of no advantage and their lack if technique and vision means they progress no further.

It means we have players who can organise the defensive side of the game but no one equipped to organise the attack.

Hence we, like most English clubs, buy these players in from abroad at huge expense, where such skills are nurtured much better.

I think we do a huge disservice to our own community by taking this approach. We're miles begind Europe still, even though this has been talked about for the past 20 years.

Tony Abrahams
78 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:01:46
You raise some very good points imo Rob, and you only have to look at some of the football, Arsenal reserves played under Wenger, (they absolutely destroyed the Everton team that came 4th) to see that it’s not just all about talent if you want to make a career in football, especially at the very top level.

I think the only way to achieve anything remotely like what you’re saying though, could only be done if clubs were allowed to play “B Teams” because the EPL is not really the place to develop young players into the team, and definitely not more than one or two at the same time?

I’d say coaching is overrated Rob, because their just aren’t enough innovators out there, and it’s also like they mostly go off the same manual, instead of changing things around, once they’ve got the basic structure in place.

Kieran Kinsella
79 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:07:19

The irony is they brought in all these licenses to improve coaching. But as you say it’s created a boring manual that just creates clones.

Dave Abrahams
80 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:13:53
Some good points of views on coaching in this thread, with Ron (76) pointing out the attributes of Ben Godfrey, the way he has had to fight for a place in football, rejected by Leeds and Middlesborough which left him in tears each time, he was told, when he was let go by one of those clubs to “ Go out and prove us wrong to let you go” With the help of his parents that exactly what he did, his mother told him to back to York City, where he started, that’s what he did and improved himself enough to get a move to Norwich, where a player got injured and gave him a chance in the first eleven, he took that chance and stayed in the team, got a move to Everton, where he loves it and I doubt he will be replaced in the first team unless he moves. He has fought his way to the premier league and taken nothing for granted on the way up, too many young players get too much too soon and learn to regret it,others fight for a second and third chance and reap the benefit of carrying on, some are not helped by inadequate coaches, but at the end of the day it’s how much you want it that decides how far you go and that magic ingredient, luck.
Tony Abrahams
81 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:15:03
Get the Valium out Robert, because I could talk about this subject all day mate!

“Want the ball - want to play, is very rare, it’s more about, do as I say - and forget about making your own mistakes kid”. The innovators are out there, Kendall, apparently watched Harvey’s reserve side, and was that impressed with what they now call “the press” that he instantly promoted him, but 90% of people in football, never offer us anything different, is my own opinion.

Tony Abrahams
82 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:26:19
I’d argue it does a kid no harm to get rejected when they’re younger Dave, and remember in one transfer window, when Everton signed Jagielka and Baines, Joey Barton and David Nugent, also went for around £5 million each, and this was after all four of them had been rejected by Everton, when they were kids?

To much to soon is fair enough, but it could also be argued that some of these kids, no longer have a normal childhood, because of their dedication, and when a little bit of stagnation happens, the most natural thing in the world is for them to go and do a few things that they’ve mostly denied themselves, like having a little bit of fun, away from the game, that has been the only real objective in their lives?

Dave Abrahams
83 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:26:56
Tony (81),” Want the ball, want to play” what did you think of the Wigan no.7 last night, smallest player on the field and possibly the best, his football brain was working overtime bringing his teammates into play, then taking corners and free kicks and not wasting any of them, Sigurdsson and Digne could have learned off him last night.
George McKane
84 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:31:25
TA @81, totally.

I did a Radio piece a few months ago about Dickens and said he was such a genius for the unexpected style and so popular due in the main to the fact that he didn't get "training". He learnt the hard way, practically. Many Victorian writers were snobbish and jealous of him – same with The Beatles and, dare I say it, myself.

I have developed and performed "theatre" all over Europe with young people; I am not theatre trained but now they have a thing called SAILTO training: it is a handbook and every youth theatre group in Europe uses it. It is dull and boring and worse there is now no differential between theatre in England or Poland or Russia or Luxemburg...

I refuse to use the SAILTO Manual. Up The Blues.

Tony Abrahams
85 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:33:23
I'd say it was very enjoyable watching him Dave, until he really tired. I might be wrong but I think he was at Liverpool, and their under 23's, definitely looked like they are encouraged to do this more than Everton's, although I'm only going off one game between the two sides this season.

That's why I liked Whitaker last night; he was careless in possession at times, sometimes through being a little bit too casual, or maybe a lack of concentration? But he done most things natural, just like Price, except he had a lot more desire in his play.

Tony Abrahams
86 Posted 18/03/2021 at 13:40:40
They probably call you a crackpot George, but that's because they don't understand, or refuse to believe that there are genuine innovators out there mate.

The first thing an innovator does, is to understand the people he his working with, because he already understands what he's going to do from the off, although I'm just guessing and trying to sound clever with this second paragraph!

Brent Stephens
87 Posted 18/03/2021 at 14:06:25
Dave #83 McGurk I think is his name, or something like that, the No 7. Stood out head and shoulders above everybody else in both sides.
Michael Kenrick
88 Posted 18/03/2021 at 14:43:35
I know I'm probably gonna regret this, George, but I can't find a dickie about "SAILTO training" or a "SAILTO Manual".

Swimming goggles... yes. But surely not?

Curiosity, as is commonly known, killed the cat.

George McKane
89 Posted 18/03/2021 at 14:48:09
Maybe SALTO EU Handbook.
Andrew Keatley
90 Posted 18/03/2021 at 14:58:31
Dave (67) - Onyango was a nuisance to the Wigan players for 120 minutes, with his physicality and mobility causing them constant problems. I really like the way he looks for open ground in which to carry the ball quickly and directly, and he generally seems very comfortable in possession. I thought he made telling contributions pretty much all over the pitch.

Robert (77) - Hmm. Not sure you're right at all I'm afraid. I mean, yes, the advantage that the "bigger boys" have in those early years does plateau out, but if you looked at either side last night then there were not exactly any players who seemed to fit the profile you are describing.

McGurk for Wigan was probably the game's stand-out player, and he is noticeably diminutive. Harvey Elliott is 5 foot 7. So is Raheem Sterling. And Phil Foden. And Rafael Garcia (the young Everton sub from last night). So while there are obviously some young footballers who are able to use their size and athleticism to paper over the technical cracks in their game, they are generally weeded out well before these age groups. Years of junior academy groups are almost designed to do just this; to separate those that are able to perform well at a young age from those who might have the ability to do so when adults.

And it's not an exact science – otherwise, no clubs would have released the very tall, quick and strong Ben Godfrey. And yet they did. Probably because they doubted whether he had the raw footballing ability that clubs like Leeds, Middlesbrough, and any other top club, are chiefly looking for.

In terms of the style of play and structure of coaching for these young players, well I think that it's all well and good hoping for players to express themselves and play instinctively, but first they need the framework from which to be able to do that. The best of these Under-18 players (Onyango, Small) have already touched the first-team squad and, unless they at least have the beginnings of being able to understand the responsibility and discipline that it takes to play at the top level by this age, they are not going to be trusted to become a regular part of the squad.

Organisation is so important in the modern game, being able to shift systems quickly and adjust what is being asked of you as a player repeatedly over the course of a game – let alone a season. These young players are talented; otherwise, they wouldn't be playing for Everton Under-18s – but the ones who go on to have good careers are probably more likely to be the ones who are best able to merge their individual abilities with the various roles they are being asked to play by the management structure – and show the professionalism that is being asked of them.

Tony Abrahams
91 Posted 18/03/2021 at 15:06:25
You sound like you are complicating an easy game their Andrew, or maybe you’re correct, and football is anything but simple.
Thomas Richards
92 Posted 18/03/2021 at 15:31:28
Slaven Bilic when getting bored with a commentators increasingly complex tactical questions.

"difference between any formation is only 10 or 15 metres. People overcomplicate formations and cause confusion."

Kieran Kinsella
93 Posted 18/03/2021 at 16:02:58
One of the City players was saying that this season because of covid they've dispensed with the video analysis tactical sessions and just do the on field training drills. It seems to be working. RM was a big advocate of the TV analysis with his L shaped coach and all that but it didn't seem to accomplish much. I think a lot of times analysis can be pretty simple and effective. e.g push Brendan Galloway onto his left foot, man mark McManaman, put a lot of crosses in at that dodgey goalie etc
Robert Tressell
94 Posted 18/03/2021 at 16:06:04
Andrew, by athletes I don't just mean bigger boys. Size is part of it but it's also those with pace, strength and stamina. These kids can run talent off the park especially at a young age. Add to that the deeply uninspring tactics and you fail to develop what talent you do have.

Even before you get to the likes of Barca, Real, Bayern and PSG I'd be amazed if u18s football looked anything like this as Lyon, Rennes, Feyenoord, PSV, Ajax, Schalke, Anderlecht etc etc who all produce a good volume of talent. I'd also be amazed if the very fast developing academies of West Africa play football in this unbearably dreary manner. There is no way they're all knocking balls into the corners or just chucking balls into an isolated forward to scrap for.

And there is no way kids in our catchment area have less talent than Dutch or French kids the same age. We should expect so much more.

John Boon
95 Posted 18/03/2021 at 16:27:43
I usually analyse all aspects of a game after I watch the first team. I enjoyed watching the Under 18 game mainly because I saw GOALS. This has become so rare, particularly at the top level. I was not really trying to decide who could possibly make the first team because those players are very few and far between.

Years ago I regularly watched the Liverpool boys team who had the likes of Aidan Maher and a lad called Gerry Glover. This was not a LFC team but boys who represented the city of Liverpool. Many were considered outstanding potential, but only about 4% made it at any professional level.It is even harder today with competion from abroad.

With all this in mind I just sat back and enjoyed a bunch of lads playing football. It was a pleasant change from watching Millionaires rolling around the field because someone had the nerve to tackle them.I really did not see those kids copying those fragile heros with inflted egos. Generally they just got stuck in.

Today's Professional football is over analysed to the point of utter boredom. In so many cases whoever scores first wins 1-0. Last night I saw an Everton team go 2-0 down. I still felt we could come back to win and we did 4-2. That almost never happens in the Premier League.Sorry to push the point,but that is why so many older supporters yearn for action and goals. GOALS GOALS and more GOALS make the game exciting.

I really do like living in the Present with so many modern conveniences to help older people to enjoy a healthy life. I also admire the skills of todays footballer. Unfortunately the players have become almost machine like, and those machines break down far too easily. AND when those machines break down they whine and whine and don't get fixed for months. BUT even when they are fixed they still can't score goals.

Andrew Keatley
96 Posted 18/03/2021 at 17:01:59
Tony (91) – Not sure developing promising young players into successful professionals is an easy game. In fact I think it is incredibly hard and is beset by pitfalls in all sorts of places. While I largely agree with what you say about the importance of dedication, I would argue that it can be hard to get that message successfully across to the young players that do not arrive with that a healthy dose of dedication and focus already in their back pocket.

Robert (94) – You and I have very different ideas about how things work. Rightly or wrongly, I have you down as someone who uses the internet to read scouting reports on players that you know relatively little about, watch a few highlights reels, and then come on here and talk them up like you've been following them closely for years.

Various posts you've written have talked up the systems in place at various other clubs – RB Leipzig, Dortmund, etc – and while those systems are able to be successful in their respective leagues, there is not a team in the Premier League that is currently prepared to regularly take those sorts of risks with that sort of volume of young players.

Computer game simulators have made the act of running a football club seem easy and immediate, and I think the notion of just trying to replicate a system that works elsewhere under wildly different conditions, or worse, trying to build a Frankenstein's monster of a system by cherry-picking the perceived best features from several clubs from the relative safety of your armchair... well it's fun to do, but it's a folly.

Sorry if I'm sounding harsh, and particularly if I've read you very wrong, but that's my take.

Mike Gaynes
97 Posted 18/03/2021 at 17:31:56
"Rightly or wrongly I have you down as someone who uses the internet to read scouting reports on players that you know relatively little about, watch a few highlights reels, and then come on here and talk them up like you've been following them closely for years."

Andrew, what a charming comment!

I could use some easy cash. Can we make a wager on the accuracy of that assessment? I'll bet on Robert and give you odds.

Andrew Ellams
98 Posted 18/03/2021 at 17:42:01
I don't think youngsters have developed as well in this country since the old reserve system was replaced by the academy.

They learnt the physical side of the game as well as the technical in the old Central League because they were playing seasoned pros every week.

Thomas Richards
99 Posted 18/03/2021 at 17:46:52
Andrew, 96

Bit harsh there.
Where do you get your information that you use in posts from?

Andrew Keatley
100 Posted 18/03/2021 at 19:47:18
Mike (97) - I’ve apologised in advance if I am not on the money, so no need for you to swoop in and police things (as is your wont). In truth I think what I am saying (about scouting reports and YouTube) is not a bad thing in and of itself; I mean how else are people supposed to get their info? I just wish people put their hands up about it more rather than act like they are watching football 24/7.

Thomas (99) - See above. My posts are generally just my opinions, which are largely born of a decent amount of playing experience to a decent level and general appreciation of the game. If there is anything I have posted that you want to go into any detail on then let me know and I’ll give you specifics.

Also Mike, I worked in the gambling industry for the best part of a decade so what odds do you want to give me?

Dale Self
101 Posted 18/03/2021 at 19:56:43
Andrew, consider this the old tap on the shoulder. You should not be addressing Everton elders in that fashion. That pre-apology is basically an admission to the offence, you should make a separate post to make that offer to the gentleman or woman offended.
Tony Abrahams
102 Posted 18/03/2021 at 20:04:03
That’s exactly what I’m saying Andrew, that not even a healthy dose of dedication is enough, because it isn’t. Most kids are dedicated, why else would a lot of them leave home at an early age, if they weren’t?

We could talk for hours mate, but I’d say if some of the coaches were as fair, as talented, and as dedicated as the kids, then I’d argue we could bring more players through?

You’re so correct about the pitfalls, but that’s life, I don’t think it will ever change. I remember Martinez saying that England has some great talent, but something seems to happen between the 18-21 age bracket, and whilst the obvious thing is to say that’s when talented kids get spoiled by big contracts, (money can spoil most things) but maybe a long term solution would be clubs having “B Teams” and kids might just see a clearer pathway, which might just keep them focused on something they’ve dedicated most of their young lives to?

Andrew Keatley
103 Posted 18/03/2021 at 20:06:15
Dale (101) - Consider this the twist of the unwelcome hand on the shoulder. I’m sure Mike is more than equipped to deal with any misgivings he might have.

By the way, all I’ve really done is suggest that I’m not a big fan of the armchair expert who acts like they are up to speed on the ins and outs of the top level game. I’m not saying those people can’t have good opinions, or be good analysts.

Dave Abrahams
104 Posted 18/03/2021 at 20:17:09
Andrew (90), I honestly thought he was more of a nuisance to his own players, getting in the way of them lots of times. I thought he made as many misplaced passes to the opposition as he did to Everton players and he went backwards as many times as he went forward. Although, to be honest, he played better when the match was won in the second period of extra time, but we all see the games and players differently.
Robert Tressell
105 Posted 18/03/2021 at 20:37:51
You're welcome to your views, Andrew. I've never had an axe to grind with you particularly and I'm not sure why aspiring for a better academy has touched a nerve.

Anyway, like it or not, we've seen football change dramatically so reserve leagues etc are a thing of the past. The loan system and feeder clubs are probably the future, as the bridge between academies and our first team, the U23s is not really working.

There are academies around Europe (and beyond) producing a good volume of high quality players. We can do so much more for our kids. Maybe we should import the coaches rather than the players.

As for the high volume youth strategy, I think it's fairly plain Wolves and Leicester punch above their weight this way and in what appears to be sustainable fashion.

And as for the risk, I can't see it being higher risk than the crap strategy we and many others have used of spending vast sums of money to go backwards or bust.

Andrew Keatley
106 Posted 18/03/2021 at 21:09:48
Tony (102) – We could indeed talk for hours about it, and I'd enjoy every second.

Dave (104) – I think what I admired about Onyango is that he got about the pitch, showed industry and skill, and a range of passing and running with the ball that was often very effective. By the end of extra-time, he was as full of running as anyone. That's what I saw. Someone who has it in them to take the game by the scruff of the neck and drive it forward.

Robert (105) – It's not the aspiring for a better academy, it's the suggestion that the solution is so simple as to buy talented young players from other academies, or take the risk on highly-rated youngsters that have already broken through elsewhere, or import coaches from abroad, or any other number of (forgive me) simplistic quick fixes. Your hypothesis for change seems to consist of “we should just do what clubs with more productive academies do” – and I think that overlooks the complexity of the transition from where we are to where you want us to be.

As for Leicester and Wolves, well I disagree with you there too. Yes, they've both acquired some good young players – but no more than we have really. And Wolves have struggled massively since the Jimenez injury, with the £35 million they spent on Fabio Silva looking (to me at least) like the worst transfer of the season. I've said this to you on this site before, but knowing who will hit the ground running in the Premier League – and who won't – is incredibly tough to predict.

The league has proved to be a burial ground for big reputations, young and old. Some of the best players of the last 30 years have struggled here. I think we're all frustrated with the fact that we have not made greater progress with our squad make-up since Moshiri took over, but I don't think it's down to the strategy being markedly wrong, more to gambles that were taken that did not come off.

Tony Abrahams
107 Posted 18/03/2021 at 21:17:51
I don't think importing coaches from abroad would be a quick fix (although I do think it would be too complex) but I wish the richest league in the world would import some decent referees though!
Robert Tressell
108 Posted 18/03/2021 at 23:16:31
Andrew, perhaps you're just determined to misunderstand. I agree that transfers are a lottery. All clubs have their failures. After all, the commodities being bought and sold are human beings not mineral deposits.

So how do you reduce your exposure to this costly lottery?

In an ideal world you'd produce more of your own players. Presumably you agree we should be doing that?

Then you have to do your homework etc and make sure the player is a good fit. Moyes did that well given financial constraints.

But, even then, there are failures. Failures damage future recruitment by tying up wages, so you need to get rid before you can replace. Paul the Esk's excellent analysis demonstrates this better than I can.

However, if you buy someone at the peak of their powers or on the way down, they're extremely hard to offload.

If you buy young, you will much more readily find buyers for your failures. Then you can go again.

As the successes accumulate, you dip into the market less frequently for first teamers who need to hit the ground running. They're the biggest risk. Henry, Vidic and Evra all looked a bit iffy in their first seasons in the Premier League. As you say, it's not easy. Much better to develop players until such time as you're confident they can slot in having got accustomed.

So none of my suggestions are a quick fix: I don't believe there is a quick fix short of spending £500M or more on new players in one fell swoop.

Wolves spending £35M on Fabio Silva is not a quick fix. He's not expected to replace Jiminez this season, hence they brought in Willian Jose. Fabio Silva is expected to be a top player in the next 3 or so seasons when Jiminez is getting over the hill. And if he doesn't quite make it, they'll be plenty ready to take on a talented young Portuguese striker as was the case with Andre Silva. However, if he does make it, they have a hell of a player who can lead their line for 10 years or one they can sell for a huge fee.

And the thing is, Andrew, that you like to pontificate as a critic but I'm yet to hear what your suggestions are. Perhaps you think we should go all out for Zaha, Rice and Grealish – without ever explaining why Rice and Grealish would take this sideways move when they haven't yet been tempted by the overtures of Man Utd (where Zaha failed). Maybe you don't actually have any idea about what we should do...

Mike Gaynes
109 Posted 18/03/2021 at 23:49:41
Andrew #100, not policing a thing. I wasn't even expressing my opinion of somebody who throws a comprehensive insult and then issues a just-in-case namby-pamby sort-of-apology (e.g. "Sorry... if I've read you very wrong, but that's my take") as if that mitigates the insult.

I was just trying to make a sporting wager.

Andrew Keatley
110 Posted 18/03/2021 at 00:33:15
Robert (108),

I'm really not determined to misunderstand, but my chief point is that the process of player recruitment and development is extremely difficult. I don't have the audacity to come on here and confidently suggest a roadmap towards success.

You say “failures damage future recruitment by tying up wages so you need to get rid before you can replace.” I agree. But where we are in the pecking order – with the various restrictions that dictate who we might be able to attract, and what budget we might have for fees and wages – will occasionally end up forcing our own hand.

Maybe that's signing a player for free but on inflated wages (Bernard, Sandro). Or paying over the odds out of desperation as the window closes (Sigurdsson). Or switching targets at the last minute because the desired target was too out of reach (Iwobi instead of Zaha).

Every Premier League club has similar stories of hopeful missteps. We've also had notable success stories in the transfer market, including current squad members (Holgate, Godfrey, Digne, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison). Unfortunately there have also been a handful of decent acquisitions that have been squandered by managers who were unable to find ways to successfully integrate them: Vlasic and Lookman in particular would improve our current squad.

You also say “If you buy young, you will much more readily find buyers for your failures.” But at what price? You cite Andre Silva, who I believe AC Milan paid (according to Transfermarkt) £34.2M in 2017, and who then recouped a mere £2.7M in 2020 when they sold him to Eintracht Frankfurt.

As for Wolves and Fabio Silva, of course they bought him for the future. The fact (allegedly) that they paid Jorge Mendes (who is not even Silva's agent) £6M of that fee to broker the deal adds another layer of complexity to modern-day recruitment. And if you're laying down £35M for a 17-year-old, then there is much more downside than upside.

My feeling is that the 20-year-old Fabio Silva is more likely to be worth less than £20M than he is likely to be worth over £50M, but that's the gamble I am talking about. Does this club – any club – choose to spend its money on potential, or on the oven-ready, mid-career option that may not have great sell-on potential? The answer is that most clubs, if not every club, spreads its risk around and tries to cover all bases. I don't see why we would or should be any different.

Finally, was I way off – like Mike Gaynes suggested – on my initial suggestion in post 96? You've replied to me twice now and not referenced it, so it does make me wonder how close I got to the bullseye.

Andrew Keatley
111 Posted 19/03/2021 at 00:51:37
Mike (109) - And what is your opinion of “somebody who throws a comprehensive insult and then issues a just-in-case namby-pamby sort-of-apology”? Go on. Say.

I think “comprehensive insult” is not a very accurate description anyway. All I was suggesting is that half of the players Robert lists on this site (of which there are many, maybe even three figures) as viable transfer targets are largely hopeful punts that he has thoughtfully but speculatively cribbed from elsewhere. We can all be arm-chair scouts, but there are some that actively hunt for names from other sources and confidently pass off inherited opinion on them - and I suspect Robert is of that breed.

Nothing intrinsically wrong with it, but when other posters are lapping it up like we've got our own legit super-scout then I think it's okay for someone to ask the question. If you want me to retract the “namby-pamby” disclaimer apology then so be it, but I was trying to lessen any sense of drama or tension. Seems that was fruitless. Why so sensitive?

James Flynn
112 Posted 19/03/2021 at 02:08:09
Andrew Keatley, I like him. Generates good and interesting conversation.

Alternatively, this guy needs to take a hike posting this nonsense:

"Andrew, consider this the old tap on the shoulder. You should not be addressing Everton elders in that fashion."

ToffeeWeb discussion threads are flat, level playing fields. No "Everton elders" exist.

Dave Abrahams
113 Posted 19/03/2021 at 11:01:05
Andrew (106), If a player has got the ability, like you say “ to take hold of the game by the scruff of the neck and drive it forward” then I’m sure I’d notice that from the beginning of the game, not near the end of it, but I’ll leave it at that, we see different players In Onyango, which surprises me, because I usually agree with a lot of what you post on here, I’ll watch him more closely next time he plays.
Andrew Keatley
114 Posted 19/03/2021 at 13:24:58
Dave (113) - I think the fact we both agree that he was doing it by the end of the game means that we both think he has the ability to do it. Obviously doing it from the start of a game is much harder, but I was heartened to see him become more and more influential as the game wore on. If and when he learns to pull out of the challenges that could see him get himself in trouble, and improves his focus and concentration slightly, then I think he’ll be not that far away from getting more chances with the first team. In my opinion he has all the raw materials, even if some of them are still too raw to see him get those chances this season.
Phill Thompson
115 Posted 19/03/2021 at 17:19:04

For me, Onyango is on a steady upward improvement curve. Two years ago, he was starting for the U18s as a big gangly schoolboy, who loved to stick his long legs into tackles, poke the ball away from opponents. Once he was full-time last season, he improved some more, but the small pitches they use at U18 didn't really help him.

When he started playing at U23s last season, with Beni Baningime calling the shots in midfield, he improved again, relishing the chance to be box-to-box on bigger pitches. This season, he's now our main man in the midfield, calling the shots if you like, helping to guide the likes of Isaac Price.

Wigan overran our midfield for the first half and Onyango was back to scrapping for balls, sticking his long legs in etc, with little opportunity for him, or Price, to influence the game. Once we changed formation, then (for me) he came into his own, finding the space and more and more dictating the play, and as others tired he got stronger.

I see him as the closest we have to a young Doucouré. But he's got a lot more improving to do. Onyango is not starting material yet and not the sub who comes off the bench to win matches.

The dilemma for me is that Allan is the ideal partner to help him develop if he comes off the bench, but Carlo won't use him unless the result is secure, in which case he's likely to take Allan off to rest him.

I actually think Onyango will get Premier League game time this season. He's not capable yet of taking a Premier League game “by the scruff of the neck”, but he is a disciplined player as we briefly saw from his FA Cup cameo. He doesn't rush about seeking the ball and get out of position as many youngsters do. I'm hoping that the work he's been doing with the first team will show he's capable of performing a role in our midfield if, through injuries, he's needed.

Andrew Keatley
116 Posted 19/03/2021 at 18:23:37
Phill (115) - I'm pretty much entirely in agreement. When he came on for the final five minutes v Sheffield Wednesday in the FA Cup game there was one SW move down their left by the corner flag where he got passed around and failed to track his runner.

The move got snuffed out but it suggested to me that his discipline (in terms of shape/position) is still quite formative. It was his debut though, so maybe I should cut him a bit more slack – but I really like the look of him, and those box-to-box rangy ball-carrying midfielders are something we desperately need in our squad.

Dave Abrahams
117 Posted 20/03/2021 at 12:39:22
The U18’s are losing 2-0 at Man. Unt with twenty minutes left, Garcia having a good game with a few shots on goal and putting himself about.

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