Everton U23s secure important win over Brighton

Monday, 22 November, 2021 101comments  |  Jump to last
Everton U23s 2 - 1 Brighton U23s
Everton U23s take on Brighton at Goodison Park tonight. Kick-off at 7 pm with live streaming on YouTube.

The starting line-up included Branthwaite, Simms and Onyango, fresh off yesterday's subs bench at The Etihad, plus Dobbin, with this being Ellis Simms's first competitive appearance of the season after suffering injury problems since his loan spell with Blackpool last season.

Everton did well to gain the advantage in the first half with goals from Lewis Dobbin and Reece Welch. Tom Cannon and Joe Anderson came on after the break.

In the second half, Brighton came back into the game strongly with a stream of attacks that included hitting the post and forcing important saves from Harry Tryer. Mills was the last sub, replacing Lewis Warrington.

Evan Ferguson had been a danger all night for the visitors and he finally scored with 12 minutes left after a fine run and hard shot that Tyrer could not stop. But Everton held on to secure an important win.

Article continues below video content

Everton U23s: Tyrer, Astley, Welch, Branthwaite [Y:35'] (46' Anderson), John, Onyango [Y:27'], Warrington (72' Mills [Y:90+4']), Price [Y:11'], Hughes, Dobbin, Simms (46' Cannon).
Subs not Used: Barrett, Garcia.


Reader Comments (101)

Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer

Brent Stephens
1 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:43:04
Our U23s play Brighton at 7:00 tonight at Goodison. Televised on EFC YouTube site.

Interestingly, in our last U23s game, we beat Man City U23s 3-2, having gone a goal down. And what a cracking game that was.

Brent Stephens
2 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:43:58
PS, it's not at Southport but Goodison Park. Two different parts of EFC website had conflicting information.
Jay Wood

3 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:49:44
YouTube Live link here.

Everton v Brighton U-23s

Ellis Simms starting tonight for those interested. First run out for any team this season.

Phill Thompson
4 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:59:04
Looks like the strongest team we've put out this season.
Dave Abrahams
5 Posted 22/11/2021 at 18:59:19
Thanks, Brent and Jay, I didn't know this game was at Goodison. I might have gone, but will watch it on my iPad instead.
Dave Abrahams
6 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:00:47
Phill (4), well come on Phill what is it!!
Jay Wood

7 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:02:07
Phil @ 4.

Including the first team in that comment, Phil..?


Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:07:27
Team tonight v Brighton: Tyler, Astley capt.John, Branthwaite, Welch, Warrington, Dobbin, Onyango, Simms, Price,Hughes.
Phill Thompson
9 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:07:47
Jay, if we’d included Gordon, definitely.
David Pearl
11 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:11:02
Well alright! Let's see what these boys have about them.

Looking forward to this.

Brent Stephens
12 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:20:31
Unlucky Astley header off the bar.
Stu Gore
13 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:21:26
Good goal from Dobbin. Price looks handy.
Phill Thompson
14 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:21:29
Looking the best player so far Dobbin, great goal,
Brent Stephens
15 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:21:55
Great Dobbin goal cutting in from the right.
Phill Thompson
16 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:23:30
Unsworth played Dobbin in a right midfield attacking position last season before his injury, give him the space and he’ll use it.
Sam Hoare
17 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:23:38
Looking decent so far the U23s though more of a team than a stand out ‘star’. Always like Warrington and Dobbin very lively.
Brent Stephens
18 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:30:35
Welch headed goal from Hughes corner.
Brent Stephens
19 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:31:09
Hughes free kick not corner.
Derek Moore
20 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:31:58
Looked a pen prior, but not given.

I like Brighton's away kit.

What the fuck was Branthwaite doing getting booked when they're two up, in their half?

Dave Williams
21 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:40:43
These lads move like proper athletes – more fluent than most in the first team.
Stu Gore
22 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:44:16
Passing through midfield is good. Dobbin is sharp. Shoulda passed to Simms though there.
David Pearl
23 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:48:08
I missed first 20 minutes. Just wondering why we are defending so deep.

Do the U23s always set up in this formation? Looks like 4-1-4-1 from what l've seen.

Brent Stephens
24 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:48:50
Excellent first half. All playing well but Dobbin really showing well.
Brent Stephens
25 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:50:23
David, yes Warrington normally sits in front of back four. Forward of that it tends to vary.
Phill Thompson
26 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:52:09
Best 1st half performance so far this season, really good to see Dobbin upping his game again, his best performance for a long time. Still needs to work on his weaker left foot though to be a danger at Premier League level. Very encouraging performance so far.
Jay Harris
27 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:53:32
Very impressed with Branthwaite, Dobbin, Simms and Onyango in that order.

Branthwaite looks far too good for this level (apart from a rash tackle) and Dobbin has a good pair of afterburners.

David Pearl
28 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:55:46
Thanks Brent. I've heard Warrington is a good player from a few people. Looks like it will take something special for Benitez to give one of these lads a shot.
Robert Tressell
29 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:57:25
What an enjoyable match! I only caught last 15 or so mins of first half but good stuff.

Dobbin looks very threatening at right-wing and took his goal well. Simms seems to be feeling his way into the game rather than dominating – which might explain his lack of first-team minutes after injury. But a good bit of back-to-goal hold-up play.

Onyango very quiet – almost disappointingly so but maybe he was better before I started watching. Price is getting about the pitch very effectively though, terrific engine.

Jay Wood

30 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:59:27
Very impressive half from pretty much all of them.

Real options and good passing and movement through midfield.

Lewis Dobbin the standout. Got his full-back, indeed the entire Brighton defence, on toast.

Nice hold up and linking by Simms. Warrington and Price the steel in midfield. Price looking slightly more beefed up from his spindly look of last season.

Branthwaite. Smooth as silk.

Brighton lucky it's not 3 or 4, with a hat-trick for Dobbin alone.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 22/11/2021 at 19:59:36
Phill (26),

Yes, they look like a team with a plan, well worth their two goal lead, Dobbin looks like he is out to impress, any senior coaches there tonight?

Mind you, he got a bit greedy near the end of the half when he went for the goal with Simms on his own waiting for the tap-in, but his pace could cause problems at first-team level in the last 20 minutes when the game has slowed down a bit.

Brent Stephens
32 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:01:59
Dave, Dobbin's "pace could cause problems at first-team level in the last 20 minutes, when the game as slowed down a bit."

Yes, my thoughts for a while now. Especially comparing his pace to that of that other lump we bring on up front.

Jay Wood

33 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:04:02
Dave A. Not revived your Monday night sessions with yer mates yet, post Covid?
Phill Thompson
34 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:09:37
I missed the kick-off, Anderson and Cannon on for Branthwaite and Simms, it looks like.
David Pearl
35 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:16:36
Getting battered.

MotM so far? That zip on Unsworth's coat...

Derek Moore
36 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:24:02
Game of two halves. I dunno what Unsy said at half-time but we're lucky they haven't got one back at least.
David Pearl
37 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:37:03
Great goal. Sign him up. Their right-winger too.
Brent Stephens
38 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:37:07
Cracking Brighton goal from outside of box.
Derek Moore
39 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:37:10
What a strike by the Brighton lad. Deserved, they have been a different side this half. 2-1.
Brent Stephens
40 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:38:32
Cannon over the bar. A good chance.
Robert Tressell
41 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:40:47
What a great goal from the young Irishman for Brighton. He's looked a good player throughout. 17, built like a brick shithouse and very good on the ball.
Stu Gore
42 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:42:03
Midfield seems to have disappeared in the second half.
Ian Horan
43 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:43:52
Great first half and now Brighton looking the better team.

U23s management team: Unsworth, Ebbreĺl and Baxter. Therein lies the issue of very few Academy prospects getting through to the first team.

David Pearl
44 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:49:34
Ian, l would like to see something foreign and not just local lads. Fresh ideas. The Under-23s seem to play the same way our first team do.
Stu Gore
45 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:50:13
I have been giggling every time the commentator says “Spong!” That is all.
Brent Stephens
46 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:54:15
What a contrast in halves.

Who did Unsworth smuggle in under his coat?

Dave Williams
47 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:55:46
I really enjoyed that. Good sharp passing and then dug in well when we needed to.

Branthwaite and Dobbin look worth a place in the first team with Onyango certainly well able to slot in alongside Allan and Delph.

Astley looks decent too. Where was Whitaker?

Jay Harris
48 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:56:22
Not as good second half but shows the difference when you bring 2 of your best players off.

Tom Cannon not a patch on Ellis Simms and Branthwaite's calm and collected demeanour missing at the back.

Paul Birmingham
49 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:56:45
I enjoyed the game, good entertainment, and whilst under siege most of the 2nd half, Everton stuck at it, and earned a very good win.

A game of two halves and Brighton were very strong.

Hopefully Everton will take confidence from this result.

Derek Moore
50 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:56:57
We got battered that second half, Brighton probably deserved at least a point. Did we just use up the club's allocation of luck for the week on this game?

Dobbin very lively, but Ferguson, who scored Brighton's world, was the player who caught my eye the most. Big lad, and good feet for his size.

Stu Gore
51 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:57:16
Great first half. Very disjointed second. Great Brighton goal.

Dobbin good but final pass needs work. Branthwaite good but silly yellow and a half-time sub.

Onyango booked early so wasn't that effective breaking stuff up second half. I thought he passed well though.

Simms seemed okay but really didn't get any chances. Cannon was a bit disappointing when he came on.

Jay Wood

52 Posted 22/11/2021 at 20:59:45
A game of the proverbial two halves.

All that was good in the first half completely evaporated in the second.

Only Brighton's third defeat of the season and they were 8 points in front of us before tonight's game, so a result not to be sniffed at.

What's folks opinion on Onyango? A Patrick Viera lookalike, but he always seems to play it a bit too safe for me. One paced. Not forceful. Very seldom stands out with anything he does. Yet he got on the pitch for the first team yesterday, suggesting Rafa thinks he is closer to the first team than any of his peers.

Mike Doyle
53 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:00:28
Apparently, the first half, we were decent.

I only saw the 2nd half – Brighton easily the better side. We looked 2nd best in all departments.

I was expecting to see something special from Onyango... but I didn't. The young Brighton goalscorer looked the best player on the pitch.

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:02:03
Jay (33),

No, the gang has gone to pieces, just like Everton in the second half. I don't think they had a shot on target. We went from smashing to shite.

Simms and Branthwaite going off at half-time made a difference to the strength of the team, but they shouldn't have been as poor as they became, aimless and clueless, with not one player able to get a change out of the way they had forfeited the game to Brighton.

I thought the right-hand post was MotM for Everton in the second half.

Phill Thompson
55 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:02:38
A good win against a decent Brighton side. A game of “Two Teams & Three Players” for me.

The subtle difference that Branthwaite made when he stepped forward into midfield, breaking up attacks or carrying the ball; the threat Simms posed when holding the ball up and bringing in others meant their defence was always wary and tight to him, giving Dobbin more room; Astley buttoned up their left side first half, kept Ferguson in check and played in Dobbin a number of times.

All changed in the second half of course, but the kids stuck it out. That's a valuable 3 points that moves us up the table and clearer of the relegation zone.

Derek Moore
56 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:03:09
Agree with every word you've written in this thread, Jay, FWIW.

If you'd asked me which lad the manager thought was closest to the first team, I'd not have chosen Onyango anyway.

Robert Tressell
57 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:19:19

I wonder if Onyango is playing within himself after injury? He was quiet compared with when I've seen him previously.

Phill Thompson
58 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:24:26
Jay, sorry mate but I hate the Viera comparison, it's been made so many times of Onyango – just because of his height. Viera for me was one of the best players to grace the Premier League. If Onyango is half as good, I'll be happy.

Onyango is still very much learning his trade and we've been pushing him forward more and more. When Warrington went off and he dropped further back, I thought he looked more comfortable, moving into spaces ahead of our defenders to receive the ball.

I think it's this aspect, his defensive mid abilities, which Rafa is most likely to use, I feel, as cover for Allan or Delph but, at 18, he's hopefully going to develop a lot more.

Tony Abrahams
59 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:31:58
Only saw the last hard 15 minutes, when Everton never really had the ball, but they dug in and got that little bit of luck, and they also looked like a team that was prepared to go and help each other out, which really is very important.
Jay Wood

60 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:34:52
Fair point on the lazy Viera lookalike comment, Phil. I didn't mean it to sound as if he should play like the player who, as you say, can be regarded as one of the Premier League's best-ever players.

My observation was intended to ask what sort of midfielder is he expected to be, because he has never been a player to lead or dominate the midfield for me. Very much a water-carrier rather than a seek-and-destroy or a game-changer.

Dave Abrahams
61 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:41:20
I've been watching Onyango since he got into the youth teams and Jay (60) seems to see the same Onyango I see. I will bite my tongue and say no more because he is a young player and, as Phill (58) says, he is still learning the game. I hope he is a fast learner!!
Tony Abrahams
62 Posted 22/11/2021 at 21:42:21
I've never saw that much in Onyango, but that is a brilliant analysis of what Benitez seems to look for in at least one of his midfielders, Phill, because he knows how important it is to stop teams playing between the lines, or in the hole, as we used to say.

This goes back to the 'who is more to blame' argument, out of Keane or Allan, for allowing way too much space in this area? But that is a good spot, Phill, and might be the reason why Benitez may want to push the kid through.

David Pearl
63 Posted 22/11/2021 at 22:21:01
I'm sorry but l saw nothing to suggest any of the players on display could make it in the first team. I look for a presence in any player and the only one that stood out was the Brighton 9. A couple of ours might make a Championship team.

Also disappointed in the system used by Unsworth. Although this was the first time in about 4 years l've watched U23 football.

Andrew Keatley
64 Posted 23/11/2021 at 00:33:18
Branthwaite continues to look like he's going to be an excellent prospect. With the exception of the one rush of blood that led to a booking, I do not really remember him putting a foot wrong. Simms and Dobbin both had great moments – strong, quick, direct – but the consistency isn't there yet.

For me, the best player on the pitch was Spong (the Brighton 6). Although Ferguson (the Brighton 11) made a few eye-catching contributions, it was the left-footed Spong's passing that set the tempo for them and opened us up the most.

Dave Abrahams
65 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:31:09
Reading Unsworth's description of the game, it's all about Simms and Branthwaite stepping down and honouring the U23s with their presence because they are now first-team players, although one of them hasn't played a minute of first-team football. He doesn't mention Dobbin but claims Tom Cannon could have had a second-half hat-trick!!
Len Hawkins
66 Posted 23/11/2021 at 09:38:52
I watched part of it, most of the first half; is it any wonder the young lads don't kick on with the first team? They are skilful, energetic with a will to win – what good are those attributes in this club?

Simms must be absolutely pissed off if he can't make the team before that lump of worthless shite, Rondon.

That Spong – he has a tasty sister, Victoria Spong.

Sam Hoare
67 Posted 23/11/2021 at 10:12:24
I like Branthwaite, Warrington and Dobbin at times. Though I'm not sure any is likely to make a significant positive impact on the first team any time soon. Certainly none of these should be expected to come in and turn around the fortunes of the first team, though getting 10-20 minutes here or there would be good for their development; Branthwaite especially is no worse than the likes of Holgate, I'd say.

I think for one of these players to move into serious first-team contention, they probably have to be a regular and undeniable stand-out at this level or, more likely, to have a good 6-12 month spell in the Championship.

It's a shame Simms was injured this summer as I'm sure Blackpool would have brought him back and I dare say he might have scored a few goals for them, now they have Shane Lavery who has stepped up.

Robert Tressell
68 Posted 23/11/2021 at 11:13:57
Sam, I think Branthwaite might be ready for a run of games. He's miles too good for the U23s and already had a decent run at the end of Ancelotti's first season.

Time for Holgate to be phased out and Branthwaite phased in.

Simms, as you imply, probably would benefit from another loan.

Dobbin maybe best getting the last 15 minutes of first-team games.

Sam Hoare
69 Posted 23/11/2021 at 11:33:38

Yes, Branthwaite could certainly do as well as any of Holgate, Keane or Godfrey are doing, you would think; though I'm often wary of putting youngsters into the team whilst on a bad run like this.

I think once Mina comes back, and if we have no more injuries, I'd possibly send Branthwaite to Cardiff or Sheffield or Luton for 6 months; some mid-table team where he would hopefully get 15-20 starts under his belt.

He's probably 5th choice for us and I'm not sure he'll improve much on the bench, though if we sell Holgate in January, that may change.

Robert Tressell
70 Posted 23/11/2021 at 12:20:53
I hadn't really thought about it like that, Sam, but you might be right. It's one thing for Branthwaite to step in to a side alongside Mina, with Doucouré ahead of him and Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison taking the pressure off by posing a threat. It's going to be a very hard introduction without those players around.

Still, I'm going to cling to my belief that, with a run of games, Branthwaite will become our best centre-half (until proved otherwise).

Phill Thompson
71 Posted 23/11/2021 at 12:21:41
Last night was great for highlighting the strengths and weaknesses of individuals; the key for me now is just how much our first team coaches can improve them.

I tend to ignore the nonsense spouted around Unsworth and Brands; we have 5 young players (including Gordon) on the fringe of our first team – it's about time we started converting them into first-team Premier League players. Which is the job of the first-team coaches and the manager now.

Okay, they may not eventually be good enough, but I'm not expecting them to turn into a Foden or a Mount. Then again, we are not Man City or Chelsea, the level they need to break into our team is a lot lower for these youngsters.

Simms is a good example. I liked what he did last night and I've often praised our U18 and U23 coaches for working so hard with him. But reflecting on his game, there was an obvious weakness which remains and which the first-team coaches don't seem to have addressed: his heading.

I don't recall him heading the ball once last night, yet in Dobbin and Hughes, we have some decent crossers of the ball. Welch scored with a header, Astley hit the bar, Cannon headed a good chance wide. But nothing from Simms. With his size and strength he's an obvious target man in the air but it's just not happening.

I could go through the other players too and highlight their weaknesses, I just hope they are getting individual attention from our coaches, as I feel we really need to start converting more of these youngsters into first-team squad players, with the caveat of course that they need to be good enough in the first place.

Gerard McKean
72 Posted 23/11/2021 at 14:53:48
As Robert Tressell points out, it's time to give Lewis Dobbin some regular run-outs in the last 20 minutes of games. There's plenty about this young player, not least his ability to frighten any Premier League defence with his pace.

It must be extremely disheartening for him to see Tosun and Rondon ahead of him in the manager's matchday selections. Be very careful here Everton; this player is a precious, raw gemstone that needs polishing and looking after.

Tony Everan
73 Posted 23/11/2021 at 15:39:54
I agree with those posts sent in about Lewis Dobbin. I've watched him a few times this season in the U23s.

It's different watching the U23s as it's always with a critical eye rather than being swept up in the passion of it all. It's constantly looking to see if we have someone who can break into and improve the first team.

Dobbin has good confidence, good balance and a natural low centre of gravity to his play. I think this gives him some extra balance and power under pressure, an ability shrug off challenges. Also, he is quite direct in his play and will try to force the issue.

I think we will see some more significant first-team cameos from him soon, if not more.

Dave Abrahams
74 Posted 23/11/2021 at 16:36:48
Has Dobbin signed a full professional contract with Everton yet?
Dave Williams
75 Posted 23/11/2021 at 16:49:23
I understand the point about sending our best youngsters on loan but the squad is too weak to allow this to happen.

Soon, Rafa must surely realise that Rondon and Iwobi are not going to cause problems for opponents and Holgate will continue to give away possession and goals and it will be better to play Dobbin, Onyango, Simms and Branthwaite (not all at once) who will learn how to play at this level.

Michael Kenrick
76 Posted 23/11/2021 at 17:18:41
Dave @74,

The Stoke-born player signed his first professional contract in January 2020, when he turned 17, a 2½-year deal that ties him to the Toffees until June 2022.

So he's in the dicey category of players that can talk to other (overseas?) clubs from 1 January, or just let his contract run down if he feels he can get a better path to the first team elsewhere (Southampton, maybe!?!).

Then again, as we've been told by wiser minds on here, if he signs a new Everton contract, it will only be for money, and that will tell us all we need to know about his character.

Jay Harris
77 Posted 23/11/2021 at 17:49:59
I thought Branthwaite was head and shoulders above anyone on the pitch yesterday and he did not disgrace himself when played in the first-team last season.

He is now showing signs of a full recovery from his injury and, for me, he would be vying with Mina and Godfrey for a first-team place. Holgate has lost his mojo and Michael Keane never had any... so I would unload the pair of them.

As for Dobbin, he looks pacy and determined in a Lookman way... but I think he may find it more difficult at Premier League level.

Simms is only just recovering from a long injury and is not ready for exposure to the big lumps in the Premier League yet, IMO.

Gerard McKean
78 Posted 23/11/2021 at 18:00:19
Michael @76, you are correct about Lewis's contract situation. This is what I was alluding to when I said that Everton must be very careful here.

I take it you were being ironic with your last comment. I never cease to be entertained by the “wiser minds” to whom you refer. In their world, he's a greedy bastard if he signs a new contract or a greedy bastard if he signs for someone else!

Michael Kenrick
79 Posted 23/11/2021 at 18:45:32
Yes, Gerard, you spotted my heavy sarcasm. Someone on the recent Ellis Simms thread said as much about his motivation and character.

It would be good to see more of these youngsters, as you suggest, but I can't stand seeing them come on for 2 minutes at the end of the game. Is there any merit to the insider claim that such token gestures constitute important steps on the ladder to becoming fully-fledged professional Premier League players?

Kieran Kinsella
80 Posted 23/11/2021 at 19:14:27

I wonder about the 90-second cameos too. By the time they run out onto the field to take up their position, then wait for whatever break in play enabled them to be subbed in, eg, a throw-in (that wastes another 30 seconds before the ball is in play) and then the ref blows up.

Obviously, barring the unlikely chance the subbed-in player immediately gets the ball and scores a worldy from wherever he is on the pitch, his contribution is meaningless.

I am left wondering if we do this so, when we try and hawk players around, we can say "Onyango, Dobbin, Simms have Premier League experience" and try and drive up their price? Do we do it using the mentality of some kids team sports where everyone gets to participate (albeit for 30 seconds) just to make it fair?

Do Brands, Rafa, Unsie get some sort of kickback for the number of youngsters that "break into the first team"? Or do we just do it to time-waste and hold onto the miserable scoreline we already have?

Dale Self
81 Posted 23/11/2021 at 19:25:31
While it does look like a waste of time, my guess is that the game is done so why not send them out and get the nerves of appearing at the Etihad out of the way, so they are not thinking about it when it happens for real?

And by the way, Kieran, I don't think your museum idea got the attention deserved. Should you curate that monstrosity, we do need a replica Joseph Technicolor Coat in there.

Kieran Kinsella
82 Posted 23/11/2021 at 19:28:31

I hope to be the curator, lol.

Bobby Mallon
83 Posted 24/11/2021 at 11:18:44
Phil Thomson @26 – are you serious?

"Needs to work on his weaker foot."

Do you think Salah works on his weaker foot?

Bobby Mallon
84 Posted 24/11/2021 at 11:46:00
Micheal. Reference the young lads contracts.

Explain to me now why these players' contracts are left so late in the day for the club to offer a new one?

Why did Simms sign his new contract? He's behind Rondon and Tosun. He will be even further down the pecking order once Calvert-Lewin is fit. That leaves him with Under-23 games or a loan.

Was he advised to accept the contract as it would be more money than Blackpool could ever offer him if he let his contract run out?

I would love to know why he signed because I don't think it's because he thinks he's going to get in the first team. I hope I'm wrong.

Nicholas Ryan
86 Posted 24/11/2021 at 12:50:31
Bobby [83],

Which is Salah's weaker foot.... It's not obvious from watching him!!

Tony Abrahams
87 Posted 24/11/2021 at 13:12:17
Reading Brands has told Unsworth that his Under-23 side have got to start playing a similar system to the first team.
Michael Kenrick
88 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:08:14

Not sure I'd agree with you that the club is offering these contracts late in the day.

Let's take Simms: He's been injured or in recovery for almost the whole season so far – this was his first game. His contract still has more than 7 months to run. I don't know when negotiations started but it could have been weeks ago.

As for Dobbin, I'm just reading in The Athletic that he was offered a new contract earlier in the season but has been stalling, which is not a good sign… maybe reflects Gerard's concerns above.

But you're as bad as Tommy Carter in questioning why he would sign the contract Everton offered. He can probably still go to Blackpool on loan if everyone agrees that's best for him.

Dave Abrahams
89 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:36:51
Phill (71), regarding Simms's lack of heading ability, the Academy have had Ellis for three or four years – why haven't they worked on this weakness?
Phill Thompson
90 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:44:24
Tony #87, play like the 1st team eh , “ You've won 3, drawn one of your last four league games, you need to start playing crap like the 1st team”.

I read that in the Athletic, about them playing 4-2-3-1, hardly the best journalism as the U23s have been playing mainly 4-2-3-1 for the past few seasons – this time last year, Simms was the lone striker.

They certainly started off that way this season, though switching to a 3 at times as we don't have a big No 9 like Simms now.

After the youngsters made a poor start Unsworth I think tried to settle them down by going to a 3 at the back, a horrible system which for me never works in our club at any level. Thankfully they reverted back, if it was Brands who had to state the obvious and change it back, fair enough to him, I'm just glad it's gone.

The other bit about “playing out from the back” has also been around at U18 and U23 for at least two seasons. It's helped Reece Welch enormously as he was very error-prone early on last season and is much more comfortable playing out from the back now.

Phill Thompson
91 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:48:49
Dave #89,

I honestly don't know, you'd think Big Dunc would have improved Simms's heading. You've seen a lot of his goals at U18 & U23 – can you remember a headed one? I can't. Though I'm sure there has been some.

His hold-up play and distribution have all improved over the years, maybe his heading will come next.🤷‍♂️

Dave, I wonder if the likes of Welch and Astley as defenders get more practise in the game at heading than Simms so appear better in the opposition box?

Tony Abrahams
92 Posted 24/11/2021 at 14:53:13
Ten points out of twelve is very good for a very young team, Phill. I'd be absolutely delighted if the first team could take 5 points out of their next 4 games!

I just saw a headline and thought that's Benitez going nowhere, (especially because I'm not sure what formation our first team are playing at times).

As for playing out from the back, I always think the English struggle on phases two, three and four, because it's not something we are accustomed to from an early age.

Phill Thompson
93 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:14:15

I watched a stream of France U16s vs England U16s the other week; no interest in England really, I just wanted a look at our 15-year-old Ishe Samuels-Smith who has played left-back for the U18s.

Anyway, turns out he was left centre-back that day and both the England centre-backs were taking the ball from the goalkeeper and playing out with it. The full-backs pushed up to receive the ball but the key was that a young Leeds player, Archie Gray (from the Leeds Gray family) was dropping back into space and carrying it forward to the next phases.

Gray was the best player on the pitch and looked very comfortable on the ball. As did our Samuels-Smith. I'm hoping we see more of him at U18 this season, maybe even in the Youth Cup team.

I guess my point is that “playing from the back” is being taught at an earlier age now.

Robert Tressell
94 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:40:55
The playing out from the back has looked very uncomfortable at times in U23 matches but I guess if they don't persist with it, they never learn how to develop play past opposition blocks.

Hopefully it is being drilled into them at a younger age.

I think part of the missing piece is players like the young Leeds player described above who are capable of receiving the ball in midfield and keeping the forward momentum.

Dave Abrahams
95 Posted 24/11/2021 at 15:48:47
Phill (91),

No, I can't say his heading has stood out for me, but you are correct: his hold-up play and distribution have improved a great deal going by his performance versus Brighton, maybe Neil Critchely of Blackpool deserves the credit!!

Danny O’Neill
96 Posted 24/11/2021 at 16:02:30
I'd agree with that, Robert, and it goes back to getting players used to being comfortable on the ball. The development teams are where you let them make mistakes, but get them comfortable with the ball.

A key aspect of playing out from the back is to have midfielders who are comfortable coming to receive the ball, turn and look forward. From what I've seen, I can see that in Warrington.

Bobby Mallon
97 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:13:02
Micheal 88,

I can have an opinion and my opinion is I think Simms was advised to take the Everton contract because it was more money. He knows he won't ever play for the first team with the 3 I mentioned before him.

I'm not knocking the lad as I would have done the same thing if Blackpool are the level of team he's going to go to.

Bobby Mallon
98 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:19:15
Oh and I would defo play him in the first team ahead of Rondon.
Gerard McKean
99 Posted 24/11/2021 at 18:31:55
Michael @88,

I have no inside information on this but I would not take at face value the report that Lewis Dobbin is the one stalling. It is entirely conceivable given the smoke and mirrors tactics of EFC hierarchy that this was a preemptive strike on their part.

I was dismissed by many posters when I tried to explain what happened in the Ross Barkley transfer. Water under the bridge now but that lad was hung out to dry by the only club he wanted to play for and made to seem like he was the one who had forced a relatively cheap move away.

Sometimes it's necessary for us all to accept that the club will put its own narrative on any given situation. That may or may not be wholly accurate but it's about getting what they want in the end and we as fans are fed with a version of the truth.

Blimey there's me feeling sorry for young Ismailov having to leave the club, so we were told, for health reasons – only to see he's ended up in court charged with GBH.

I'm so naive that I'll even reject (because he's ex RS) what Ryan Babel has written about learning nothing as a young player from his manager at the dark side, Senór Benitez, who Babel reckons is not interested in developing youth.

Tony Abrahams
101 Posted 24/11/2021 at 21:22:10
I think playing out from the back is definitely being taught at an earlier age Phill, but sometimes when I watch academy games (more Category 3, than Category 1), I think it's sometimes more for the sake of it. And it can also feel like it's more about the coach than it is about the players, and this often makes for a very boring robotic game.

I always thought Benitez destroyed the very talented Babel, Gerard, because when the kid came to Liverpool, he was flying. I think the Spaniard's style of rotating players had a bad effect on the young Dutch kid, who was a young lad, in a foreign country, and was probably just living to play football, and his manager kept taking him out of the team.

Phill Thompson
102 Posted 25/11/2021 at 11:55:02
Gerard #99, Tony #101.

I must admit to being sceptical and underwhelmed about Benitez and particularly his attitude to the youth sides.

If we leave aside Rondon as a blocker, which we all agree on, I'm seeing and reading some promising things re Benitez. Onyango is quoted as saying that he had him stay behind for some extra coaching with him and described Benitez as a “top coach”.

Onyango is hardly likely to criticise him, but it seems to have been years since we had a manager who actually coaches youngsters, even for a short time. Carlo never saw that as his job. Dobbin and Onyango have at least got Premier League debuts, I think Gordon was probably the last Academy product to debut.

I'm still not totally convinced yet about Benitez, the real proof will be in just how many Premier League minutes the likes of Gordon, Branthwaite, Simms, Dobbin and Onyango get this season, and any others. Hopefully he can win me over completely.

Tony Abrahams
103 Posted 25/11/2021 at 15:54:33
My own view on any good manager is that, if he thinks you are good enough, then he will give you a chance, Phill. I'm not sure everyone would agree with that, because the clamour for Benitez to be playing some of the younger players has increased because of how poor both Iwobi and Rondon have been.

The Premier Leaague is such a demanding league though, and if a kid isn't ready physically, then I personally think they might be swallowed up.

Dave Abrahams
104 Posted 25/11/2021 at 21:02:25
Gerard (99),

I think these days the agents have more say, even with very young players, with who and when their assets will sign on the dotted line. They could have other clubs interested in their player, and Dobbin will be very well known to lots of clubs, and the club with the most attractive offer could cop for the player.

That's just a theory because I haven't got a clue and Dobbin could sign for Everton tomorrow and that would be very welcome news at the moment.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

» Log in now

Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and Talking Points submissions across the site.

About these ads