We seem to have twelve official new Scholars, plus two new signings, and three U16 Schoolboys who are making their mark and are worth mentioning.
Roman Quintyne, right back, has been the most prominent of the defenders, playing not only at U18 but U23 last season. He’s a speedy, powerful, attacking full-back, not quite as powerfully built as Thierry Small, but I’m sure comparisons will be made.
Jack Tierney, centre-back, played with the U18s last season, featured in the U23s pre-season. Edward Jones and Charlie Wilson are the other defenders but I know little about them.
Jenson Metcalfe played U18 last season and also started at least one U23 game. He looked very accomplished in his U23 start, laying on a goal with a brilliant through-ball and never looking out of place against opponents who were much older than him.
Isaac Heath also played U18 last season and has featured in the U23s this pre-season. He’s quite small, but buzzes about like a speedy Peter Beardsley.
Owen Barker is another who played U18 and has also featured in England U16 squads.
Saja Manafa featured in at least one U18 game last season.
Shae Cahill is Tim’s son, I’ve yet to see anything of him.
Sam Coughlan and Halid Djankpata are the other midfielders but I don’t know anything about them yet.
Troy Smikler-James is the only forward but again I don’t know anything about him yet.
In the U16s, three names have emerged so far:
Emilio Lawrence is particularly highly regarded, he’s played for England through the age groups and is rated as one of the best attackers of his age in the country. He played a few games at U18 last season, scoring a cracking goal after a super run and cross by Quintyne.
Coby Ebre is a big attacker in the Elliott Simms mould. Like Lawrence, he played U18 last season and has featured for the U23s pre-season, scoring one goal so far.
Martin Sherif is the third Schoolboy to feature in the U23s pre-season, scoring one goal.
The Club will release more information soon and we’ll pick up little bits as the season progresses. Meanwhile, if anybody can help to fill in some of the many gaps around the players mentioned here, it would be great.
Reader Comments (43)
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1 Posted 27/07/2021 at 07:25:31
I used to follow it all in the old couple of pages programmes of many years ago when they were the reserves, A,B & C teams which, unfortunately, were thrown out many years ago in one of my mother's decade emptying of the loft.
2 Posted 27/07/2021 at 08:20:44
3 Posted 27/07/2021 at 08:43:23
4 Posted 27/07/2021 at 08:44:14
5 Posted 27/07/2021 at 09:02:48
6 Posted 27/07/2021 at 09:47:27
I really enjoy your reports on the younger teams Phill - please continue!!
7 Posted 27/07/2021 at 10:35:12
8 Posted 27/07/2021 at 12:43:07
No stand-out stars like Barkley but lots of very able players who look like they have enough for the first-team squad. You've named a few more who fit into that category.
And has it all gone quiet on Okoronwo or is that just a formality now?
9 Posted 27/07/2021 at 12:50:01
10 Posted 27/07/2021 at 12:54:44
Robert, like with Thierry Small, Francis Okoronwo is simply waiting to turn 17, then he will formally be transferred to Everton. Small is likely to join Aston Villa on 1st August when he turns 17.
11 Posted 27/07/2021 at 15:36:57
Looking forward to seeing him and Lawrence this season in the streamed u18 games - and Kouyate too.
Maybe one or two more signings for the academy too, like Jagne last season.
12 Posted 27/07/2021 at 15:51:54
As for Small, it's tragic that we have a genuine talent who could go all the way to the top. Certainly our biggest talent since Barkley and maybe since Rooney. His gripes about first team pathway sound like a load of rubbish. What other club has a clearer pathway for a left back than Small? We have Digne, Godfrey, and Nkounkou ahead of him. Godfrey will naturally move out of his way as he is a centre back and will want to play there. Then it's a straight fight with Nkounkou to be backup to Digne. Digne has had a few injuries recently, he is 28 years old, and I would fancy my chances if I was Small of getting ahead of Nkounkou and getting actual games over the next three years. Instead he seems to want to be left back number 5 at Man Utd or left back number 4 at Arsenal. Even at Villa he's not going to get closer to the first team. If he wasn't being a spoilt brat, he could have still delayed signing the contract, gone on our pre-season and played actual games and then seen how the land lies as the season approaches properly.
The lad has sacked his agent, presumably for advising him to stay at Everton, and I can only guess he has uncle Bryan (Bryan Small the Villa defender) and the rest of his Birmingham based family, in his ear telling him to come "home" and be a "villa legend" or something like that. However, it's probably something else behind the scenes for all I know. It just does not cast Everton in a good light, and we will get very little in compensation for him.
Petulant or not, he's only a 16 year old kid, so I will still wish him all the best when he does leave.
13 Posted 27/07/2021 at 16:33:26
As you say he's tall for a winger but he's been described as a striker too so maybe he's just big, skilful and fast and so can play anywhere across the forward line at youth level anyway.
With Small, we pinched him from WBA, and Villa are pinching him from us. It's a shame but this is the game we're in, with teenagers being shipped about like commodities. I don't really like it. Sad really that Sunderland have lost 3 talents now in Hugill, Mumba and Okoronkwo - all of whom are probably delaying their chances of first team football by moving to a bigger club. But just part of the game now.
14 Posted 27/07/2021 at 16:39:17
15 Posted 27/07/2021 at 16:50:10
16 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:02:36
17 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:07:06
He's handled it badly, but I don't blame Small for leaving a club in such turmoil. Especially since he's returning to home of sorts.
18 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:11:52
19 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:12:23
As for Thierry Small, who knows what his motivation is for leaving the club, but it'll be interesting to see where he ends up if he does go. From what I have seen, he's a promising young player, but a long way short of the sort of superstar that some are making him out to be. He's a bit too "head down and charge" for me – and it'll be interesting to see how he does when he starts playing against players who he does not have a significant pace and strength advantage over.
20 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:29:10
You yourself say the claims from his camp that he wants a pathway to the first team have a hollow ring to them given who is currently 'in front' of him at Everton compared to other likely suitors. I agree with you.
Robert, I think linking the high turnover of Everton's first-team managers to Thierry Small is a redundant one.
After joining Everton Small was 11- to 12-years-old under Koeman, Unsworth and Allardyce. 13- to 15-years-old under Silva and Ferguson. 15- to 16-years old under Ancelotti (who made him Everton's youngest ever 1st team player when subbing him on in an FA Cup game). Small and Benitez's paths have never crossed at Finch Farm.
Anyone who has taken the time to watch him play for the academy sides would fairly conclude he is a long way from being a starter, or even a squad player, for the first team.
A good number who do watch such games write of the same deficiencies in Thierry's game, primarily on his 'day job' – defending.
Sorry to see him leave, but that is his choice. I don't see this as a 'failing' in any way by the club.
Some you win. Some you lose. That's the roll of the dice with young players.
21 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:51:25
Dylan Graham seems to have flown in right under my radar. He already has pages at Transmarkt and Soccerbase – both sites seem to be getting a lot better at tracking our youngsters.
The piece I found says he signed a 3-year deal with Everton... but he's only 16. So that can't be a full professional contract, I assume?
His birthday was 31 October 2004 so he's got a few months yet until he is 17. I'm just puzzled at the nature of his contract and how it can be for 3 years. Is it really a 3-year scholarship, perhaps?
22 Posted 27/07/2021 at 17:58:56
23 Posted 27/07/2021 at 18:04:00
As to whether he's any good, we'll see in the next year or two. He's raw and Andrew's description is apt but he stands out for end product and is the archetypal modern full-back (whether you buy into that concept or not). He certainly looked a likely first teamer before too long - possibly higher up the pitch to start off with before maturing into a full back.
24 Posted 27/07/2021 at 18:18:30
As always, way too early to know how many (if any) of these lads will come through.
But if someone is telling me we have a potential Peter Beardsley on our hands, then that has my attention!!
Thanks again Phil.
25 Posted 27/07/2021 at 18:33:54
26 Posted 27/07/2021 at 19:15:10
27 Posted 27/07/2021 at 19:16:52
Nothing malicious. Nothing dismissive of his talents or potential. Just balanced comments by respected TWers who take a keen interest in the academy. Nothing like the rage of match day threads or the live forum.
He's good. But there were many individual performances that outshone Thierry in pretty much every game that was available to view.
It is notoriously difficult to gauge just how good a player may be at this age. Unless your name is Wayne Rooney who was evidently destined for greater things and ready for senior football at an even younger age than Thierry is now.
Thierry has yet to show he is in that sort of category IMO.
28 Posted 27/07/2021 at 19:57:21
I think a lot of us, myself included, don't always see what the real scouts are looking for. Small definitely has it. He's up there with anything in the u18s age bracket in British football. That's not my judgement, it's the judgement of the England set up and scouts across Europe.
29 Posted 27/07/2021 at 19:57:42
Interesting you say that Robert, Kyle John has always played right wing until about 12 months ago! I was impressed with how much better he played at full back, but that was usually in games where he was racing forwards from deep and using his pace as opposed to his acceleration.
Interesting to read Unsworth has now released that there is a rotation of coaching in the academy setup. They have implemented one style of play. On top of this the coaches will rotate in and out of the u23s, presumably so Unsworth can improve them and get them on the same page as him? That's the way I read it anyway.
30 Posted 27/07/2021 at 20:15:44
31 Posted 27/07/2021 at 20:24:04
32 Posted 27/07/2021 at 20:40:34
Here's an article on the subject if you are interested: Link
33 Posted 27/07/2021 at 21:01:39
34 Posted 27/07/2021 at 21:04:47
As you say, it is difficult to gauge ability at a young age. My dad scouted round Irish football for sixty years and found some decent players( By the way, I was right under his fucking nose for many of those years, but, hey)
We watched the Milk cup together and he was absolutely entranced by Franny Jeffers. He had IT, according to my dad.
The best footballer I have ever seen in Ireland, after George Best, played one season as a centre half in the Irish league.
I won't give his name, but he had it all.
My dad arranged for him to go to Sheff Utd. He un-arranged it. He said he didn't want to be a footballer, it was a pretty stupid thing to do as a job.
I'm going back to what Steve said about kids being set up for. life. The very best are almost unaware of how good they are. It is unfathomable, and indescribable. Five thousand have the same natural ability. One of the lucky ones is Tony Hibbert.
Five hundred have incredible talent and a lot of luck. They make a good living. One is Rooney.
Ability, belief, injury, confidence, coaching, desire, luck, who you meet, your girlfriend, your parents, your mood.
Take that to Finch farm and then set targets for the coaches!!
35 Posted 27/07/2021 at 21:32:17
36 Posted 27/07/2021 at 22:18:30
37 Posted 27/07/2021 at 22:24:37
38 Posted 27/07/2021 at 22:32:19
39 Posted 28/07/2021 at 10:25:04
40 Posted 01/08/2021 at 18:24:04
41 Posted 02/08/2021 at 16:35:22
With all the chat on our financial problems, the lack of *decent* transfer activity to date (as in exciting) then the reliance on youngsters breaking through and providing us some potential excitement only gets greater so will be interesting to see if Mr Small does move on or whether he stays and is given a chance by the club to step up into the 1st team this year.
42 Posted 03/08/2021 at 01:33:05
In addition we rarely sell a youth player for a fee. If we do it's minimal. None of our Academy players under the present coaching staff have ever gone to make us rue their departure either.
I genuinely take no pleasure at all in pointing out the obvious but I'm really perplexed by how many of us, us fans that is, seem perennially unwilling to point the finger of responsibility for our treadmill history of mediocrity, at best, for well over 30 years, at the owner, chairman and boardroom we've been cursed by.
Musing on the likes of Thierry Small is music to the ears of those complacent, failing shysters in the Liver Building. They see us as soaks, probably willing to accept for decades any old crap whilst they contrive to enrich themselves, and themselves alone, with minimal personal investment.
43 Posted 03/08/2021 at 09:22:40
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