Everton U23s wrap up Season with Whitaker Hat-trick

Friday, 7 May, 2021 57comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U23s 4 - 0 Southampton U23s

Everton U23s bring their PL2 season to a close tonight with a home game against Southampton.

The side could finish as high as 5th but the season has been one of transition as the old guard have been largely sent out on loan as a precursor to finding new clubs while a raft of youngsters with limited playing time in the U18s have been moved on to the Professional Development fast-track.

This season has seen the elevation of 16-year-old Thierry Small, 17-year-olds Luke Butterfield, Stanley Mills and Charlie Whitaker, while Callum Connolly, Matthew Pennington and Beni Baningime departed on-loan in January; for Connolly and Penington, their Everton contracts expire next month. Kyle John, Ryan Astley and Joe Anderson have all been offered extended deals but top-scorer Nathan Broadhead will see his contract end in June.

The game will be broadcast live from Southport's The Pure Stadium with a 7 pm kick-off on Everton's official YouTube channel.

Everton were rather pinned back from the start and struggled to get upfield. But out of nothing a lovely precision pass in to Whitaker was converted with excellent skill from the edge of the area to give Everton the lead after just 7 minutes.

Everton really should have had two after Tom Cannon cleverly tipped the ball over the Saints keeper but he tried a high volley at the open goal and missed it completely. Rather embarrassing!

From Everton's first corner, won by Small, the ball came through to Welch on the far post and he could not fail to tap in easily.

Whitaker got in a good run at goal from his own half but his strike flew a foot over the bar. Everton had more chances to score before the break, a Stanley Mills volley perhaps should have been executed with more calm control.

Into the second half and the first corner was delivered perfectly by Rhys Hughes onto the head of Charlie Whitaker who had tracked it all the way.

Whitaker came very close to getting his hat-trick after Kyle John had produced a great run down the right and a pinpoint cross for the header but the keeper denied him.

Jenson Metcalfe, on as a sub, gave away a dangerous free-kick but it was clipped wide of the goal. But Whitaker was determined to get his hat-trick and that's what he did a few minutes before the end, controlling a difficult ball to slide it past the keeper.

Everton U23s: Tyrer, John (76' Quintyne), Anderson, Welch, Small, Warrington [Y:50'] (75' Metcalfe), Butterfield, Whitaker [Y:58'], Mills (72' McAllister), Hughes, Cannon.
Subs not Used: Leban, Mallon  

Reader Comments (57)

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Clive Rogers
1 Posted 07/05/2021 at 10:30:44
Just been reading that the club are offering Joe Anderson, 20, a centre-back, a new contract due to interest from other top clubs. This is the first I have heard of him.

Strange he has not been involved with the first team. I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to move as we have a glut of CB’s ahead of him and are looking for more.

I am sure ToffeeWeb have the wrong picture of him as it’s different from other press reports I have seen.

Kieran Kinsella
2 Posted 07/05/2021 at 14:00:03

The article I saw didn’t mention “other top clubs” it said “other clubs” and mentioned the Championship and League One. I get the impression the new contract is designed to garner a fee rather than to actually keep ahold of the guy. A risky strategy we have used in the past with the likes of Pennington and Garbutt.

Dave Abrahams
3 Posted 07/05/2021 at 14:22:49
Michael, I know you are busy, but is there any chance of finding out the full it’s of those offered new contracts and those who are being let go this summer, that is if the list has been issued yet. Thank you in advance.
Phill Thompson
4 Posted 07/05/2021 at 15:08:49
Dave, Michael will have better resources than me, I don't think we have a definitive list yet, I read somewhere, probably Echo, that we've got 7 days after the final competitive match to make an offer to someone out of contract, it was Broadhead they were referencing.

So far the only ones I know offered new contracts are the 3 Michael has listed.

Of the older ones, Connolly, Pennington will go. Dennis Adeniran is out of contract without yet being offered another, same with Bowler and Broadhead. The forgotten about Beni Banigime and Nathan Markelo have contracts until 2022.

Michael Kenrick
Editorial Team
5 Posted 07/05/2021 at 15:19:43
Yea, Phill's spot-on, it's all from the Echo. And we may not really know the full list of those being dropped until up to 7 days after the Man City game, as Phill says.

Thanks for the heads-up on our profile of Joe Anderson, Clive. I've been filling that out... until rudely interrupted by a big glass door on a piece of furniture literally exploding and shattering into 10,000 pieces all over the room. The cat looked very guilty (or just freaked out) but I can't figure out how the hell he managed to break it.

Phill Thompson
6 Posted 07/05/2021 at 17:27:05
Clive#1, Joe Anderson is a tall, lanky left back/ left centre back who came through our Academy. I doubt that Championship clubs are interested in him unless it’s their U23s . I think we see him as someone who could add experience to the U23s next season and help the younger players come through, but not anyone who’s even close to our first team squad. By comparison, I wouldn’t rate him higher than Callum Connolly or Matty Pennington at the same age, both are currently playing in League 1. If he gets a decent offer from a Club he should take it, equally if he stays he’ll have a season of security and a chance to impress next season and get a club then.
Phill Thompson
7 Posted 07/05/2021 at 17:31:17
Michael #5, one of our two cats regularly follows me through the house, where they are not normally allowed, to sit with me to watch the football. I’ve lost track of the number of times she’s walked away mid match recently wanting to get away from watching Everton!
Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 07/05/2021 at 18:41:26
Team announced (see main story).

Your cat obviously has good taste, Phill. But training and obedience is not one of their strong points.

We have a bunch of regulars out injured — not just in the loanee department... although I think that's where I put the list, on the Branthwaite thread.

Phill Thompson
9 Posted 07/05/2021 at 18:43:05
Incredible really the changes over two seasons, a 16 man squad with only 4 older players not in the u18s squad, two Schoolboys on the bench.
Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 07/05/2021 at 18:49:19
Showing the five goals against the Saints again – all excellent, all brilliant finishes!
Phill Thompson
11 Posted 07/05/2021 at 18:54:20
Perhaps stating the obvious, but likely 4-2-3-1:

John Welch Anderson Small;
Warrington Butterfield;
Mills Whitaker Hughes;

With flexibility for them to move around, change shape.

Phill Thompson
12 Posted 07/05/2021 at 18:58:08
Haha, commentators going 4-4-2. All depends on how far up Charlie Whitaker plays, in the 10 or alongside Cannon. We’ll see.
Michael Kenrick
13 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:02:53
Amazing... Tom Cannon has been on the bench for 15 of 23 games this season – this is his first start.
Phill Thompson
14 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:09:20
1-0 8 mins. Charlie Whitaker! Tony Abrahams and I are pleased!
Michael Kenrick
15 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:12:34
Who put that pass in to him? It was on a proverbial sixpence.
Phill Thompson
16 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:14:35
Michael, I think it was Rhys Hughes, to Tom Cannon , who passed it , I haven’t seen a replay yet a bit dark .
Phill Thompson
17 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:24:03
2-0 on 20 mins, Reece Welch with two yard tap in.
Michael Kenrick
18 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:25:27
Doing well so far! There's a clip of the first goal at GOT.
Phill Thompson
19 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:52:48
2-0 at half time and pretty comfortable so far. Some great movement down our right at times and very composed at the back.
Jay Wood

20 Posted 07/05/2021 at 19:56:54
Nice 'n easy. Perhaps too easy. After the early goals we lost a little sharpness, but even so still carried more threat than the visitors.

Kyle John and Stanley Mills combining nicely down the right flank. Thierry Small needs to be careful to not get carried away with the hype around him. Yes, he clipped in a nice ball to the far post which Mills got horribly wrong just before the interval, but he has given the ball away cheaply a couple of times exposing the defence and gone for glory for himself rather than play in a team mate on the offence.

Some nice football and movement all around from all the lads otherwise.

Phill Thompson
21 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:14:13
3-0 Whitaker header from corner 52 mins
Bill Griffiths
22 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:15:12
I watched the youth cup defeat by the baggies and watching this the player who had impressed me most is Charlie Whittaker rather than some of the others who seem to be rated higher.
Phil you seem to watch a lot of the youth games, have you seen much of him and do you rate him?
Paul Birmingham
23 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:16:55
Good to see Everton in control and getting their just deserves for their efforts and finishing off a decent season.
Robert Tressell
24 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:19:02
The player that impresses me most is Welch. I think John is having an excellent game though and seems the one best able to beat the press with passing and movement. Small needs to learn a similar trick - and also not to shoot every time. We do look a bit aimless in attack despite dominating.
Phill Thompson
25 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:22:09
Bill, re Charlie Whitaker very much so. He was everywhere in the highlights of Saturday’s 5-0 win at Southampton, setting up goals, acrobatic overhead kick that nearly came off and a delightful dink over their goalkeeper for his goal. Between u18 and U23s he’s probably scored about 12-14 goals.
Phill Thompson
26 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:35:20
The two Schoolkids come on!
Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:39:20
It’s easy to be critical especially because I’m not watching, but Thierry Small, looks to be very casual, which is not a good trait for a defender, even if the fullback position has really changed over the last few seasons.

Welch looks a very good player Robert, and hopefully this turns out to be a good group of players that might eventually find two or three making the grade at our club🤞

Steavey Buckley
28 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:41:09
The under 23s doesn't prepare players for the 1st team football because there is not a mix of under 23s and 1st team players in the under 23 teams.
Bill Griffiths
29 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:43:55
Thanks for that Phil. I agree with you Tony, the few times I've seen Small he appears far too casual. Can't see why he's so highly rated.
Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:44:44
Do you not think this might change Steavey, now that Everton look like they are going to fast-track these younger players?

Do well at this level and then also get out on loan at an earlier age, seems like a good plan to me.

Steavey Buckley
31 Posted 07/05/2021 at 20:52:24
Tony, fast track players where? Under 23s will only gain real experience of 1st team football when they play with and against 1st team players in real competitive football.
Dave Abrahams
32 Posted 07/05/2021 at 21:23:21
Tony and Bill, I know Small is only sixteen, but for someone who is highly rated he makes the wrong decision far too often for my liking, as well as being too casual.
Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 07/05/2021 at 21:49:05
I thought it was self explanatory Steavey. Reduce the age of the Under 23 players, and the ones that do well will be getting sent on loan at an earlier age, to play competitive football.

If they do well on loan, then they might have a future in the game hopefully at Everton, rather than staying in the comfort zone of under 23’s football, which I agree is probably not really competitive enough for anyone over the age of twenty?

I didn’t realise Small was only sixteen to be fair to the kid

Kieran Kinsella
34 Posted 07/05/2021 at 21:56:26

We are doing what Man City and Chelsea have done, which is play 16- and 17-year-olds at this level, rather than holding them at Under-18 level. They get used to playing larger, hopefully better opponents at a young age, then hopefully follow the likes of Foden and Mount into first-team football in their teens, as opposed to joining the Under-23s at 19, then hanging around until they're 21 or 22 years old.

Steavey Buckley
35 Posted 07/05/2021 at 21:57:27
Tony, academy players who are based at Everton FC can only get experience of playing 1st team team by playing regularly for the Everton 1st team, which is rare as hen's teeth.
Jay Wood

36 Posted 07/05/2021 at 22:12:51
It needs to be said that Thierry Small is not 17 until August, so criticism of him needs to be tempered.

That said, his profile is high. As well as being Everton's youngest-ever 1st team player with his sub appearance in the FA Cup tie, he featured in a BBC feature 'Football's Wonderkids' last October. His name has been linked to the likes of Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich.

For one so young it can be head-turning so that needs to be managed carefully by the club or it could impact negatively on his football development.

He is a very fine prospect, make no mistake. But for my money in recent performances be it for the U-18s or the U-23s he has been outshone by the full-back on the opposite flank. Matthew Mallon for the U-18s (just a few months older) and the more senior Kyle John for the U-23s (who was excellent again tonight).

Steavey Buckley
37 Posted 07/05/2021 at 22:13:24

If any player from the Academy is offered 1st team football with another Premier League club or Championship club, they should grab the opportunity with both hands. Already, Everton fans are deciding what new players they want to play football for Everton 1st team next season and the lists include no players from the Academy.

Kieran Kinsella
38 Posted 07/05/2021 at 22:20:21

Slight correction, fans aren't “deciding” – they're offering opinions. We have to trust the actual decision to make calls if the youngsters are good enough.

Steavey Buckley
39 Posted 07/05/2021 at 22:36:58
Kieran, in the last 6 years, only Tom Davies from the academy has made it into the 1st team, and his place is not certain. So, the trend of players from the academy not making it into the 1st team will continue, because the manager can't afford to wait around when he has money to buy who he needs.
Andrew Keatley
40 Posted 07/05/2021 at 23:13:40
I thought Rhys Hughes oozed class throughout, while Whittaker showed plenty of clever touches and interplay, causing Southampton problems all game.

Small was unplayable at times but seemed to be on a completely different wavelength to his team-mates at others, while Cannon worked hard but had a frustrating game. Joe Anderson gave a very strong showing, with his passing out of defence being a real highlight.

Kyle John used his pace and strength to dominate the right flank all game, even though Southampton's best player (very poor side so not much competition) was probably their left winger Mitchell.

After a slightly ropey first 5 minutes, Butterfield and Warrington were both excellent – incredibly neat and tidy, working hard throughout to allow the rest of the team the platform to be progressive and take risks; the amount of turnovers won by those two was impressive.

A very good 90 minutes, with plenty of the sort of bright, energetic, one-touch football that I'd love to see the first team achieve.

Don Alexander
41 Posted 07/05/2021 at 23:45:18
Didn't watch the match but did read the Echo's interview with Keiran Dowell.

He said, among other things, "The move to Norwich has worked out perfectly, to leave Everton and then come back to the Premier League the next summer, it's perfect," says Dowell, who believes Everton fans will see a "lot fitter" player than the one they saw in Royal Blue.

Hmm! That's him, Walcott and Vlasic (to name but three) all in effect saying that USMFF is not up to snuff in terms of fitness, just as many of us have said for years.

Or are they all just naughty gobshites?

Robert Tressell
42 Posted 08/05/2021 at 08:14:14
Good group of players for the U23s next season. Strong team last night will also have Kouyate, Price, Jagne, Onyango, Mallon, Garcia and Dobbin available - with much of the squad still eligible for u18s. And top performers like Simms, Gordon and Branthwaite being given a taste of proper football on loan.

This is what we've been crying out for isn't it? The transition away from an U23s team full of 22-year-olds destined never to play for the first team.

Along with Onyango and Small, I can see about 4 or 5 of next season's squad getting a first team debut which would be a tremendous success rate.

Dave Abrahams
43 Posted 08/05/2021 at 11:19:25
Jay (36), just one point from your post, Thierry Small is not the youngest player ever to play in Everton’s first team, that honour belongs to Andy Penman who played in Everton’s first team, the full game, at Anfield in the second leg of the Floodlit Cup, versus Liverpool in a fiercely defended Derby game watched by over 40,000 spectators, Andy was fifteen years of age.
Tony Abrahams
44 Posted 08/05/2021 at 11:40:17
So you want to see academy kids in the first team before they are ready Steavey?
Danny O’Neill
45 Posted 08/05/2021 at 11:59:38
In late on this one and missed the game.

Out of interest, how did Warrington play? I liked the look of him on the few times I saw him for the U18s, but I don't confess to follow the youngsters as much as others here.

You shouldn't pull kids to the first team until ready, but then that's the manager of the day's call. As with us supporters, that comes down to opinion.

I don't like the U23s construct, but then I didn't like the old Reserves structure. I'd be interested in exploring the B Team idea, but then in the current climate that could be perceived as the big clubs taking over more space in the league at the expense of others.

Tony Abrahams
46 Posted 08/05/2021 at 12:24:15
I think Ancellotti has put Gordon in the first team before he was ready Danny, and now he’s been sent out on loan because it was obvious the kid wasn’t ready to play in the EPL on a regular basis.

I don’t know how Gordon’s loan spell is going, but it looks like Ellis Simms is doing okay, so maybe it’s about finding out the levels these young kids are ready to play at.

Maybe league one might have suited Gordon better? Because it’s maybe not a question of natural ability, but more about learning the physical aspect of the game, and maybe Simms, might improve enough to play in the Championship at some stage next season, now that he’s adapting to playing at the top end of league one?

The EPL is so physical that very few young players are ready to play in such a demanding league at an early age, so maybe getting them playing in the lower leagues, and then progressing through into the championship by the age of 20/21 seems the way forwards, rather than playing in the non-competitive Under 23 league, and stagnating, which is definitely what happens to kids who are not constantly being challenged, imo.

Robert Tressell
47 Posted 08/05/2021 at 12:28:00
Warrington played pretty well, Danny. I saw about an hour of the match and he does a very good job protecting the defence, winning the ball and recycling possession. Nothing too flashy but intelligent and disciplined. Saints u23s offered almost nothing so hard to judge. But could certainly see him make the first team at some point.
Jay Wood

48 Posted 08/05/2021 at 12:33:27
Dave @ 43. I'm guessing you are recalling this story.

Two 1st Team Players Younger than Thierry Smaller

That, or I wouldn't put it pass you that you attended both games and can recall both teams' starting XIs and minute-by-minute action!

I'm guessing as the club's official records don't list them in front of Thierry that the fixtures they featured in don't count as recognized first class games for some reason.

Whatever, like Robert and others I see a clear policy change probably Brands-driven of exposing and playing younger players earlier in age groups above their band. A kinda make or break, if you will. Personally, I like what I'm seeing.

Robert Tressell
49 Posted 08/05/2021 at 12:33:29
Tony, I'd rather see Gordon somewhere like Holland or Denmark or Scotland - playing quicker one touch stuff rather than scrapping it out for Preston. Like Mount and Maddison he's a technical player and they first flourished at Vitesse and Aberdeen.
Phill Thompson
50 Posted 08/05/2021 at 12:38:11
Andrew#40, a nice summary, in contrast to a number of negative posts on here following a bunch of mainly 16/17 year olds outclassing albeit a poor side.

Adding a bit to your post, Reece Welch had another fine game, very composed and looks very comfortable playing out from the back. I look for wee signs of improvement in all of them, and Welch is now better at knowing when to clip it forward and not trying a short pass if players are closing him down.

Small is erratic at times, but the difference I see in him compared to other full backs is that he often drives into the box, not settling for an easier cross. As a result he can frustrate by running into a dead end. But often he shoots and yesterday he drove to the line, had nowhere to go, got his head up and chipped a lovely ball back over the defenders to Stan Mills who miscued. So signs of improvement from him too.

The two Schoolboys were on for only a short time with no significant impact. Jenson Metcalfe was steady but once again got eased off the ball by a stronger player five years older. Roman Quintyne is a speed merchant at full back with decent defensive qualities, he only showed his speed once yesterday. Last week for the u 18s against Wolves he won the ball in his own box, passed it forward, took the return and 70 yards later reached the opposite goal line, got his head up, picked out the unmarked Lawrence and cut it back for him to score. Teams rarely play schoolboys at U23s level, they often lack physical development yet and are not training full time. It’s great credit to Metcalfe and Quintyne that they’ve been given game time twice now at U23s, despite their comparative physical deficiencies at their age.

Danny O’Neill
51 Posted 08/05/2021 at 12:38:50
Thanks Robert. That pretty much describes what I've seen of him so far. He looks promising in what I would describe as a traditional sweeper role sat in front of the defence

To Tony's point, let's not rush the kids. If we think back, it was not uncommon for players not to hit the first team until they were 22 to 24.

Now we seem obsessed with getting them there by 17 when they still have a lot of developing to do, both football wise and physically. Then by 21 we have judged them as not being good enough and we've all been guilty.

I agree with competitive football being the way forward. At the moment that can only be through the loan system. That's why I'd be keen on looking at the B Team concept (as in Spain). Playing in Leagues 1 or 2, but for Everton.

Great shout on the continental route Robert. I agree with that, especially for the more technical players.

Tony Abrahams
52 Posted 08/05/2021 at 13:43:37
Yes that is a good point about sending the kids abroad into different leagues Robert, and I wasn’t aware that Mount had already played in Holland.

The problems come when players outgrow their current level, and are then not given the opportunity to move forwards, because this can lead to stagnation, and I’d argue many kids don’t make the grade for this reason, rather than it being about them not having enough ability to begin with?

Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 08/05/2021 at 13:59:49
Jay (48), Jay, too true I remember that game, as well as the first leg at Goodison, why wouldn’t anyone remember a fifteen year old boy playing in a red Derby game, because that’s what it was, look at the date Jay, 1958, in between the eleven years when there there was no Derby league games between Everton and Liverpool, but every Liverpool Senior cup games and the one fa cup game were treated as seriously as the former league games, not going on about the 4-0 trouncing we took in the fa cup game at Goodison.

The game at Anfield when Andy Penman played I remember very well and recognised them all in Dave Prentices write up of the game HE never saw, including the penalty Liverpool were awarded by the referee, the only bastard in the ground who saw the alleged incident, which won Liverpool the game but not the cup, we won on aggregate over the two games.

Concluding, In my mind Andy Penman was the youngest peace time footballer who ever played for Everton, Jay if you’ve heard about Andy, google him, he had a great career in Scotland after staying just one year at The Blues, a fabulous individual, by all accounts, off the field as well as on it. Everton’s loss, Dundee and Rangers gain.

Danny O’Neill
54 Posted 08/05/2021 at 14:03:01
How many times do we see that Tony? Not quite ready at the club they're at in a point in time, but give them the opportunity to progress somewhere else and they carve a successful career.

I know it's difficult as Evertonians, but if we put our football heads on, we want these kids to succeed in football. I'd love that to be at Everton but if not, then coach them to have a career in football.

Dennis Stevens
55 Posted 08/05/2021 at 16:39:30
Yet again, a thoroughly enjoyable match from the youngsters. Really looking forward to next season now!
Tony Abrahams
56 Posted 08/05/2021 at 16:53:30
I think Everton have done that as well as any club Danny, but maybe times are changing and a more demanding system is being put in place, and is possibly why Marcel Brands was initially brought into our club?
Danny O’Neill
57 Posted 08/05/2021 at 16:59:48
Agree Tony, we forget how many of our former academy players are out there enjoying a career.

I know he's just gone down with Sheffield United, but I remember watching a young Lundstram playing for our U18s away at QPR about 10 years ago. You could see a player in him. Disappointed he didn't make it at Everton, but you probably know better than me, to play top flight or even Championship means you have something about you.

Our academy may not be producing to the standard we want, but it is producing good players who go on to have careers in the game.

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