Small rips up his Everton Scholarship to join Southampton

Tuesday, 24 August, 2021 42comments  |  Jump to last
Updated Everton appear to have finally accepted that Thierry Small has ripped up his scholarship agreement and left the club, as is now reported by the Liverpool Echo. The player's details have been removed from the official Everton website but no statement has been made by the club.

The Athletic is reporting that Southampton have confirmed his signing. They fought off competition from Aston Villa, Leeds United, Chelsea and teams from across Europe to land the sought-after 17-year-old defender. Everton will be due to receive a fee by way of compensation for the time and effort they have invested in his development through the Academy over the last 6 years.

The highly rated young left-back was expected to sign his first professional contract with Everton when he turned 17 on 1 August 2021, but had made it known that he felt his advancement would be stalled with Lucas Digne and Niels Nkounkou ahead of him.  

Reader Comments (42)

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Soren Moyer
1 Posted 23/08/2021 at 22:58:58
Fecking brat!
David Pearl
2 Posted 23/08/2021 at 23:05:18
Yeah Soren, exactly. Little shit thinks he is?
Mike Gaynes
3 Posted 23/08/2021 at 23:07:59
Gee, 17-year-old kids do dumb things? Who would'a believed it?
Andrew Keatley
4 Posted 23/08/2021 at 23:43:14
This may explain why he has not officially signed with another club yet - as they probably weigh up the risk of signing a player who will cost them an as-yet unknown amount when the tribunal decides the level of compensation due to us. Having said that, young players always seem to be significantly undervalued at tribunal compared to market value, so I’d be surprised if we receive anything substantial.

Nicholas Ryan
5 Posted 23/08/2021 at 23:49:10
Complaining about 'stalled advancement' at 17; the world really has gone mad!
Ben King
6 Posted 24/08/2021 at 00:20:39
The attitude of some of these kids (IF the reports are true)….
Winston Williamson
7 Posted 24/08/2021 at 00:31:03
It’s a shame really. No fault on the club in my opinion. The lads probably looked at the competition for places and doesn’t fancy the battle. Or he wants instant success and recognises he isn’t getting it here.

What’s the club to do here? I’d probably opt not to mention anything about it too, if i’m honest. It’s not a good imagine to sell to aspiring young footballers, but silence also avoids giving the young lad a platform to air his views.

Good luck, but a real shame as the lad could of forged a career here, maybe

Derek Knox
8 Posted 24/08/2021 at 05:30:44
Winston, I think the last sentence in the first paragraph sums it up succinctly, a lot of these young players admittedly have talent, but what beggars belief at times is that they think they are better than they are.

If they are genuinely good enough, or outstanding as Rooney was, they will, through their football, rise to the top of the pecking order. Only thing then is, all sorts of clubs want to buy them, sometimes you just can't win!

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 24/08/2021 at 05:56:08
I'm with you, Winston, the path to left-back at Everton looks long with Digne (still only 27) and Nkounkou in front of him.

And at 17, we still don't know if he'll make it to the level we want or need regardless of the potential.

Interested to see where this goes. Has he been badly advised and there is nothing lined up? Or is he just unhappy and wants out or to go home and wait for something to come along? I can't think that's the case, but it could be a factor.

I do always like to add some empathy with some of these young players when they have been taken out of their natural surroundings and away from family and friends at such a young age. He was 11 I believe when he got involved with Everton and he's a West Midlands lad.

I might be getting soft in my old age and civilian life, but just something I always consider. 95 miles is a world away when you're 11 or even 16-17. Didn't Baines allegedly struggle with this for many years?

Ben King
10 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:18:04
Danny #9

He's been doing since 11 years old so must be well used to it now

I'm afraid I have much less sympathy/empathy… I think (from what we're aware of) he's a spoilt brat.

Admittedly that might be harsh but how can he be ready for first-team regular Premier League football at this age… and who is he to determine that?

Matthew Johnson
11 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:30:51
Small is signing for Southampton today, apparently.
Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:43:46
Agree with your last paragraph, Ben. Neither we nor he know if he's ready yet; likelihood he isn't or he'd be playing.

Blows my hearts and minds sentiment out of the water, if true, Matthew. He either doesn't like Everton or doesn't see a short-term opportunity. And he can only be thinking short-term, which at such a young age, I can kind of understand. You want it all and you want it now. Sometimes, no matter how much you are told or advised, you just have to go out and find out for yourself. Even when that means making mistakes.

Colin Glassar
13 Posted 24/08/2021 at 08:44:04
We won't miss what we never had. He'll probably join the long list of big-headed young pricks whose careers were over before they were 20, eg, Ravel Morrison, Tom Ince, Ademola Lookman etc – although Ade still has a fighting chance.
Mal van Schaick
14 Posted 24/08/2021 at 11:08:02
Good. He’s gone to Southampton. Let’s move on and get players in who want to play for our great club.
Andrew Ellams
15 Posted 24/08/2021 at 11:13:52
Southampton seems an odd move but it's his decision.
Paul Hewitt
16 Posted 24/08/2021 at 11:32:07
He's 17 for God sake. Give the kid a break. So he wanted to move, hardly a crime.
Bill Gienapp
17 Posted 24/08/2021 at 11:52:13
At least he didn't complain there was no viable path into the first team and then run off and join Chelsea or something.
Tony Everan
18 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:00:48
Small leaves big club to join medium sized club.

Probably an easier path for him for first team opportunities. I think our club had to bet on him or Nkounkou and the latter is more advanced.

Danny O’Neill
19 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:20:08
That's a really good perspective Tony.

Sometimes we slate players for jumping to the big moves too early only to warm a bench.

Now the debate about him overrating himself and being impatient could be valid. But maybe he's doing this for footballing reasons and sees an opportunity to get to first team football quicker?

Time will tell. I actually wish the lad well.

Ian Jones
20 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:34:21
Well, shame that he's gone. To be fair, Southampton is probably a good place for him. They have a history of developing young players, giving players their debuts at 16, 17, 18 and more importantly, letting them play regularly on the basis that they are good enough. If we can't offer them a chance to see what they can do, then why shouldn't players like Small, Browning, Robinson move on to get games.

Here's a few I remember...
Bale, Luke Shaw, Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Lallana, Shearer, Le Tissier.

However, many of the Southampton young players do go elsewhere after a while and have decent careers!

Personally, I would love us to develop a team of youngsters that can go and rule the world..never going to happen. Teams need instant success these days so buy players in.

Small probably just saw players like Luke Garbutt, Matthew Pennington and many others who were still being loaned out in their mid-twenties and thought what's the point

Steve Brown
21 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:41:39
Badly advised.
Brent Stephens
22 Posted 24/08/2021 at 12:43:42
Really disappointed to see him go. I thought he might well be one to come through before long.

As Danny, Tony say, maybe a better chance of him getting first team football there.

At least there are a few in the U23s to give us hope. Small mercies?

Kevin Prytherch
23 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:04:17
I’ve got more respect for Small than some others. He wants a clearer path to the first team and has joined a club that will give him this. We don’t have a great record in recent years of giving young players a chance. I hope the compensation from the tribunal is fair.
Barry Rathbone
24 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:10:14
Being young and ambitious is no crime he might be watching the antics at Finch Farm and thinking "fkn amateurs" whereas the saints have a good rep for bringing through youngsters.

He probably sees Southampton as a better stepping stone plus it's lovely on the south coast..

Michael Lynch
25 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:32:04
I've no problem with him taking a punt on himself and joining a club where he thinks he might get more opportunities. Plenty of players have done it in the past, and a fair few of them have ended up back at where they started, but for a hefty fee.

To be fair, what's the worst thing that can happen for him? He doesn't make it at Southampton instead of not making it at Goodison? If he's any good, he'll be at a bigger club soon enough.

From our perspective, it's a shame. But he fell between two categories - he wasn't ready to be either first choice or first back-up, but he wasn't prepared to just play U23 football. Not sure why he couldn't just go out on loan though.

Nkounkou had better turn out to be brilliant!

Barry Hesketh
26 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:32:19
Barry @24
Why do some Evertonians constantly bleat about the staff at Finch Farm being rank amateurs or unable to do their jobs properly? The lad didn't want to stay at Everton, big deal, he moves on and so does the club.

Sometimes given the views of some Evertonians, I think I'm following a third division no-mark club but then I remember that Everton FC is one of the giants of the game, a fallen giant agreed but still a big club. Other young players leave other big teams from time to time, it's just the way things work out, but if it happens to Everton, it has to be because the club is useless according to some.

Who needs rival fans when some of our own have the knives at the ready at any news which might suit their own preconceived ideas?

Michael Kenrick
27 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:35:57
Kind of ironic that Hassenhuttl – in the midst of talking up Southampton's way with the young 'uns – happens to drop a bombshell that:

“We have already signed a player this summer with good experience at left-back in Romain Perraud, and Thierry’s arrival now gives us a very good balance and a strong additional option in that position..."

Ooo err, Thierry… perhaps the path to stardom may not be so simple after all!

Darren Hind
28 Posted 24/08/2021 at 13:57:09
Too many people whispering in the ear of young footballers these days.

Bill Gall
29 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:21:43
It seems that a number of people are judging a 16yr old boy who they don't even know. It seems he believes he has a better chance at another club to make his advancement in his chosen career, a career where there are no guaranties of success anywhere.
He believes he has a chance at a smaller club in the future, than at a larger club than Everton who have shown that in the position he plays will pay high fees for an experienced player, and even though he has been given a chance in the first team it was going to be difficult.
We don't know anything about his personnel life outside of football and that may be another factor in his wanting to leave. I wish the boy all the best and hope he becomes in what he believes his potential is.
The league is full of outstanding 16 yr olds that become average players when they get older and who is to say that this boy will become different.
Shane Corcoran
30 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:26:38
The path was hardly that hard. Is Nknoknou necessarily ahead of him? Is Digne untouchable? I think not in both cases.
James Flynn
31 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:49:42
Barring injury, he'll surface somewhere. He absolutely has the athleticism which will at least give him a look-in at the big league level.
John McFarlane Snr
32 Posted 24/08/2021 at 14:51:17
Hi Bill [29],

I agree with you, I have no doubt there are many factors that need to be taken into account. I'm not privy to what goes on in the lives of apprentice footballers, but I'm led to believe that they have to cut all ties with the junior clubs they were involved with. As they get older they more often than not, have to move many miles from home as I understand it, this in its own way can have a dramatic effect, and then the ambitions of any youngster have to be considered.

Bill, I left you a message on the 'Best signing" thread, I hope that it can be of interest to you.

Sam Barrett
33 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:13:27
Maybe they offered him more money?
Michael Nisbet
34 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:35:04
He can hardly say there's no path to the first team, when he's already made his debut for us.

Has he forgotten he is our youngest ever player? I would imagine most players wouldn't expect to be in and around the first team at 16 years old.

Still, he didn't want to be here, and got a move to another real club, so I don't really bear him any ill will.

Kristian Boyce
35 Posted 24/08/2021 at 15:43:48
He's basically admitted in the past that he wants to be in contention for 1st team football (technically being on the bench for us was). I guess Saints getting rid of Bertrand this summer and replacing him with another young player, he's a little closer to the first team then he would be here. With the French national team LB & French U21 LB in front of him, obviously that's a bigger obstacle than his new rival.

I did think this snippet was amusing in the article:
“It’s such a big place and a great city when I came to visit, and I thought this is the best place for me to develop as a player and reach new levels to my game.” As someone who grew up in Hampshire, calling it a big & great city is probably not the first thing I think of, I always thought it was a bit of a dump. Also, the fabled Saints academy is not what it used to be. They aren't churning out a conveyer belt of talent anymore. They've switched to targeting older players (18-19 year olds) from other clubs to try to give them first team action.

Lee Robinson
36 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:01:37
This is a big loss, which I'm sure we will live to regret, he has huge potential and I have no doubt will be a star in a few years. I can't blame him to be honest, the way we treat Nkonkou last season was disgusting after a promising start. Even when DIgne broke his ankle he looked on to see Iwobi and Godfrey playing LB.

He must be looking at other youngsters like Broadhead who is 23 and hardly had a sniff whilst we only have 1 recognised striker. Carlo had very little faith in the youth, this is something we need to address going forward or more talents like Small will look at alternative options. If you look at Dortmund's side there are many 17 - 19 year olds playing week in week out. If we had Bellingham he'd still be in the U23's, we need to be better at giving the youth more game time, especially when the same poor performances (Gomes, Bernard) are rewarded. It's no suprise the lad has left.

Paul Swan
37 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:15:40
No doubt about it he is a very skilful player but each and every time I saw him play, he was a liability. Caught upfield too many times in most games often turning over possession and being caught out of position. Given our current crop of central defenders, this would be a complete car crash if he had been given a run in our first team. I hope he finds a coach who can sort out that flaw in his game and then maybe he would have a chance. I also don’t think our current left back options are the best defensively but they are far ahead of him.
Bill Gall
38 Posted 24/08/2021 at 17:46:32
Thank you John.
It was just something that I seemed to remember from that time, I have since then read his full history.
Barry Rathbone
39 Posted 24/08/2021 at 19:38:20
Barry Hesketh 26

I'm guessing an opinion that "he MIGHT be watching" translates to the definitive "he IS watching" in your parish which if perchance is Orrell Park would make sense. At Blessed Sacrament School there was a Paul Hesketh in the 60s who didn't know which way was up and as we all know the apple never falls far from the tree

Dave Downey
40 Posted 24/08/2021 at 21:23:48
From what I saw of U23 football it's no loss to Everton. Hardly the next Ray Wilson or Pat van den Hauwe. Onwards and upwards...assuming we can beat the mighty Huddersfield Town (Wilson's old club ironically).
Fran Mitchell
41 Posted 24/08/2021 at 21:43:59
Can you really blame him?

I find it funny how one moment we have a thread on Broadhead or whoever, and all the talk is at how Everton's youth coaching isn't up to scratch, how Everton are failing to promote from the academy, how this and that example of failed youth.

Then a young player goes, you know what, maybe i'll be better off at Southampton, a club with a track record of promoting from youth with a number of graduates playing at the highest level and for their national team. And everyone here slates him for being 'badly advised'.

Jason Li
42 Posted 24/08/2021 at 22:35:29
Digne is here for a few more years, Godfrey has played brilliant at left back in many games, and Nkounkou looks more Premier League ready to me.

Not seen anything defensively to say Small is better than Digne or Godfrey anyway. Leave the attacking stuff out wide to players like Gray.

We need to put the money from outgoings towards a decent right back to challenge Coleman, someone ready to play.

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