Thelwell credited for Mathew Mallon turnaround

Saturday, 12 June, 2022 63comments  |  Jump to last
We reported back in April that the club had parted ways with Mathew Mallon, a promising 18-year-old right-back who had excelled with the Under-18s but was having a difficult season. Now, in quite a turnaround, Kevin Thelwell is credited with having played a key role in persuading the youngster to consider the offer of a new deal on Friday.

The teenager enjoyed a great 2020-21 season with the Under-18s, having returned from two separate back problems that kept him out of action for a total of around 16 months. He moved up to the Under-23s with an impressive appearance from the bench against Arsenal, which saw him provide the assist for the Blues' goal in a 1-1 draw while playing as a right-midfielder.

That appearance came alongside his crucial involvements in Everton's strong run in the FA Youth Cup, sparking hope that Mallon might make the regular step up to U23s action over the course of the next campaign. However, that didn't happen.

Instead, he played all of his games for Paul Tait's U18s last season, captaining them on five occasions, with his last appearance for the team coming in the FA Youth Cup defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford in February.

But the right-back has not turned out for the Under-18s since February, after captaining the team on numerous occasions earlier in the season, and the choice was made to let him go before his scholarship ran out at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Mallon had a move to Championship side Blackburn Rovers lined up for July, when he could officially sign for them. However, talks have taken place between his representatives and Academy personnel - and the new Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, is understood to have played an important role.

Thelwell's appointment, along with sweeping changes that have been introduced across the Academy in the last few months, are understood to have been crucial in a changing attitude toward Mallon's future.

The full-back is now set to sign a 2-year professional contract with Everton, with the option of a third year, and the hope that he starts to make the progression he missed out on last season with the rebranded Under-21s and their new manager, who is yet to be announced.  

Reader Comments (63)

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Dave Abrahams
1 Posted 12/06/2022 at 13:23:57
The new manager could be a surprise. I thought he was a very good player for the Blues, many on here are not fond of him.
Will Mabon
2 Posted 12/06/2022 at 14:27:33
All pretty chaotic. I wonder if concern over his past injuries played into this – and the opinion of previous medical staff.
Kieran Kinsella
3 Posted 12/06/2022 at 14:40:28

It's not Niasse, is it?

Steve Brown
4 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:01:22
Agree with Dave A, he is a good player. I think Thelwell is bringing more logic and structure to the decisions on the Academy.
Danny O’Neill
5 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:19:16
I don't know the player but this sounds positive.

Both that the player was convinced to stay and the DoF is being allowed to do his job and restructure, starting with the academy. Sorry to his supporters, but Unsworth probably slowed any progression at Finch Farm. I don't know for sure, as I don't have insider insights or knowledge, but it seemed that he had a "we've always done it this way" approach. When a player did come through (eg, Gordon), it feels like it was by fortune rather than the coaching or the structure of Finch Farm.

A fresh pair of eyes from someone who has not been involved with Everton previously is a good thing, in my opinion.

Soren Moyer
6 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:23:56
Wow! Champions League here we come!
Derek Knox
7 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:26:16
If he has the 'Mallon Streak' he could be a useful squad addition, which has been under our noses. I'm all for youngsters to be given a chance if they are good enough, and glad we have someone who can recognise potential and talent, before dismissing as not being up to standard.

Erling Haaland springs to mind, who was the genius at the time that rejected him as not being good enough? Did that snake Kenwright have any grubby fingers in that pie?

Robert Tressell
8 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:27:32
I'm fascinated, Dave and Kieran. Johnny Heitinga?
Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:32:01
I'd be pleased with Heitinga.

More so with an Osman & Pienaar dream team.

Rob Halligan
10 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:42:17
Robert # 8. Dave says many were not fond of the soon to be new U21 manager as a player, yet I’d have thought the majority liked Johnny Heitinga?

Royston Drenthe has just had an article published on the official website!!

Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 12/06/2022 at 15:57:34
Isn't that just a bit shitty, Dave?

"I know the name of the new U21s manager but I'm not telling you plebs."

Cheers, mate.

James Flynn
12 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:07:29
Michael (11) - Agree.
Mike Gaynes
13 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:08:11
Very mysterious thread.

Somebody tell me about this player.

Somebody tell me who the new U21 manager is.

Loved the Drenthe interview, Rob. He is one colorful character.

Michael Kenrick
14 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:17:16
Mike @13,

There's not much more to tell about the player, Mike. I did put some basic stuff in his profile here but I can't really tell you much about him as a player, sorry.

Perhaps Brent or Phill can remember watching him, although he has played very little for the U23s. He is though yet another of our Academy youngsters to spend many many months of their development sidelined with injury.

Kieran Kinsella
15 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:18:45
A player most fans didn't like? Doesn't narrow it down a lot based on the last 30 years but we can exclude Kanchelskis and Cahill.
Danny O’Neill
16 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:24:31
I'm getting more and more curious. Van der Meyde?

Is Earl Barrett still kicking about?

Can we bring Kevin Sheedy back? I know he doesn't fit the unpopular category, that's just a personal plea.

Brendan McLaughlin
17 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:37:29
Someone Dave thought was a very good player for Everton but many on here aren't fond of him...

It isn't your Tony, is it, Dave?😊😊😊

Dave Williams
18 Posted 12/06/2022 at 16:49:41
Franny Jeffers?
John Graham
19 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:01:48
Mallon looked to be quite a skillful right back, likes a tackle, good on the ball, good positional sense and a good passer, from what I have seen.

Hopefully if he is over his injuries, he can put together a good run in the U21s next season and maybe get involved in a few senior cup games.

Good luck to him. COYB

Derek Knox
20 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:02:27
Dave @1,

Rod Belfitt, Brett Angell, Per Krøldrup, Morgan Schneiderlin?

Just say if I'm getting warm! :-)

Fran Mitchell
21 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:09:39
A player many thought was good but many didn't like?

Surely not Sigurdsson, that would be a controversial move.

Danny O’Neill
22 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:15:12
I thought Lee Carsley done a good job for Everton, but I was never his biggest fan... unlike my brother.

I give you Lee Carsley.

Stephen Vincent
23 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:28:14
Lee Carsley – I'm told he is a regular visitor to Finch Farm.
Kieran Kinsella
24 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:30:58

Wouldn't the England U21s be a bigger job for Carsley than Everton U23s?

Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:39:47
It's the new U21 construct Kieran, not the U23s as I understand.

If you're asking me that question (Everton v England), then you know the answer!!

If you're asking Lee Carsley, it depends what he wants.

With Everton (or club football for that matter), he gets to develop players to make the next step as well as assessing the younger teams to see who has the potential to step up. So he get's to identify, shape, develop and mentor players for a career in the game (hopefully at Everton).

With England, it is more of a pick the best players that someone else is doing all of the above with. Get them together, have a few training sessions and prepare for a match before releasing them back to their club.

That's my simple take. It will depend on where he wants to take his own coaching career I guess.

Stephen Vincent
26 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:47:34
Carsley's predecessor Aidy Boothroyd once described the England under 21 job as "The England U21 team is the utterly impossible job."

The fact that few under 21 managers progress to the first team (Southgate is the exception) is indicative of the importance placed on the role.

I am certain that the Everton role will be far better paid.

Jeff Armstrong
27 Posted 12/06/2022 at 17:48:26
Maybe Carsley could do both jobs, it might stop him getting as big as Unsworth got.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 12/06/2022 at 18:14:31
Michael (11), what I was implying was the new manager could be a surprise if he gets the job, at the moment he is in the running for the job!
Brendan McLaughlin
29 Posted 12/06/2022 at 18:20:13
Kieran #24,

I would have thought that management at club level would be the bigger draw. I don't think Southgate would be with England nor Martinez with Belgium if either had the ability to be successful at club management.

Derek Knox
30 Posted 12/06/2022 at 18:42:03
Dave @ 28, Come on Dave A, Spill ?

I am in Suspenders here and the Cross Dressing Police are on their way ! :-)

Kristian Boyce
31 Posted 12/06/2022 at 19:05:53
Going through a list of former players who are coaching (especially U23 and lower) & split opinion. My best guesses would be:

Kevin Richardson (Newcastle U18s)
Scot Gemmell (Scotland U21s)
Lee Carsley (England U21s)
Davey Weir (Brighton)
Paul Rideout (Kansas City)

Michael Kenrick
32 Posted 12/06/2022 at 19:12:56
Oh Dave @28,

Thanks for clarifying that. Much appreciated.

Sounds like he could be a good fit... or not. Seems like he must have the right credentials and be well known to the likes of Thelwell. Perhaps his experience as a player would help him in this role... or not?

Sorry, who are we talking about again?

Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 12/06/2022 at 19:13:23
He never rated Carsley, Danny, and he never really rated me either, Brendan, so my guess would have to be Alan Stubbs, although I'm obviously just guessing?
Brent Stephens
34 Posted 12/06/2022 at 19:18:37
Michael #14,

I seem to remember Mallon featuring for the U23s at some point but really can't remember the performances - probably didn't make a great impact on me. Possibly because I was having frequent micro-sleeps.

Brian Hennessy
35 Posted 12/06/2022 at 19:41:42
Is this a private game of Guess Who or can anyone join in?

What colour hair does he have, Dave, if any?

Derek Knox
36 Posted 12/06/2022 at 19:50:30
Brian H, @ 35, possibly more hair, or less, than a ten-pin bowling ball !
Sam Hoare
37 Posted 12/06/2022 at 20:43:20
I’ve seen Mallon a few times and been quite impressed. Quick, hardworking and got up and down his line a lot. Glad he’s staying.
Dave Abrahams
38 Posted 12/06/2022 at 20:50:44
Sam (37), I agree with that, I was sorry Everton were letting him go and hopefully he will take this new chance and prove himself in the U23s next season.

One thing very noticeable about him is the way he runs, he has an unusual gait probably from the back injuries he has suffered in the past.

Danny O’Neill
39 Posted 12/06/2022 at 21:33:43
We have a promising young defence developing but it needs a wise head.

I'll put my Koulibaly record on again. I see he is looking to leave Napoli.

Can we rival Barcelona? I know the answer but give that one a go.

Mike Gaynes
40 Posted 12/06/2022 at 21:56:20
Dave, an unusual gait? As unusual as a certain tall Colombian?
Michael Kenrick
41 Posted 12/06/2022 at 22:05:05
Brent @34,

More a case of blink and you missed him! Just one game in Southport last season, Sheffield Utd in the Premier League Cup back in September. You made some comments on the game thread, but not about Mallon.

In March of the previous season, he came on for the U23s in a league game against Arsenal at Southport, and set up a fine equalizing goal. You were at that one too, and liked the goal, per your comments in the game thread which includes a YouTube link to the game, that might jog your little grey cells.

Mallon's cross for the goal is at 54:00 on the YouTube stream (40:30 on the match clock).

Big Blue Bro is watching you!

Vijay Nair
42 Posted 12/06/2022 at 22:35:29
I'm going to take a cheeky punt an Royston Drenthe being the new U21 manager. Why otherwise would they suddenly have a random article about him on the official site?
Jerome Shields
43 Posted 13/06/2022 at 01:29:32
Glad the lad has changed his mind, but I am sceptical of Thelwell, the Director of Football role, and the promise of the Academy producing players for the first team. At this early stage, the jury is very much still out.

Initially, progress will be determined how much Thelwell is his own man, working with the manager, and whether the Academy be turned round, as a proactive part of the manager’s policy to develop youth at Everton. In a well run club, this should be a given, but Everton is not a well run club.

At least Thelwell is not on the Board and therefore should not be part of the collective bulshit we have been subject to in the past.

Jerome Shields
44 Posted 13/06/2022 at 01:53:03
Kevin Nicholson was brought in to develop the Coaching developing program in April. Unsworth departed and John Ebbrell took over temporary management of the U23 team.
Brian Wilkinson
45 Posted 13/06/2022 at 02:03:30
Hardly narrowing the field Dave with some are not fond of him, could be any of our former players.

Think we can rule Hibbert out of the running, cannot see anyone disliking Carsley so will rule him out as well.

I picked up the you thought he was a good player for the Blues’ but never mentioned which Blues.

Is it John Terry Dave :-)

Alan J Thompson
46 Posted 13/06/2022 at 03:46:27
Nothing on here seems to rule out Unsie or Dunc, does it?
Derek Knox
47 Posted 13/06/2022 at 06:10:00
I'm going for Carsley, a player I liked as a midfield anchor man, only thing we got him too late in his career, but no doubt he has had a few Coaching Jobs and has the experience. He gets my vote. Wait a minute we don't get a vote! :-)
Michael Ward
48 Posted 13/06/2022 at 07:04:10
Phil Neville would be my guess.
Brent Stephens
49 Posted 13/06/2022 at 07:35:54
Michael #41 thanks for that. It was a good cross, wasn't it.

I'm a bit like our Rob Halligan in not having a great recall for goals, scorers etc (except when somebody owes me a pint – Danny!) – unlike a certain Mr Abrahams senior of this parish – a phenomenal memory.

David Hayes
50 Posted 13/06/2022 at 07:42:54
Having no knowledge or particular interest in the Academy comings and goings, this being blunted by the endless parade of the next surefire wonder. Even ones bought in quickly disappear into obscurity.

I dislike the period before the next season starts, it's full of either no news, like this, or fake news about incoming saviours and "This time it will be different" bleatings. Oh and don't forget the signings whining in waves. I really believe all to do and media should cease till pre-season starts.

Derek Knox
51 Posted 13/06/2022 at 07:45:09
Brian W,

I can see the John Terry connection through Frank from their Chelsea days, but he was hardly a major success at Villa! If that should be the case we seem to be exchanging Everton Old Boys Coaching Staff for Chelsea Old Boys Coaching Staff!

Still, if it brings results, it's what we need! Still think Carsley though! 😜

Eddie Dunn
52 Posted 13/06/2022 at 08:11:20
I noticed Alan Stubbs near the touchline in our last home game.
Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 13/06/2022 at 09:00:38
Brian (45),

I don't know who is getting the job, just indicating someone who is in the running for it. Carsley might be in the running but here is one Everton fan who wasn't fussy on Lee, as a footballer, master of a 3-yard pass then looking like a bizzie on traffic duty pointing to the player he passed the ball to where to pass it next when he could have done the same.

I think his popularity all came from the goal he scored in the derby game. I liked him a smidge myself that day!!

Dave Abrahams
54 Posted 13/06/2022 at 09:05:05
Mike (40), no that certain Colombian runs like a giraffe with arthritis. This young lad is more like a deer with a slight strain!!
Paul O'Neill
55 Posted 13/06/2022 at 09:10:48
It’s all a bit mysterious. Is whomever it is being paid with the Arteta money?
Phill Thompson
56 Posted 13/06/2022 at 14:24:26
Regarding the new position, it was advertised as “U23 (now U21?) Head Coach”, not manager and as reporting to our “Head of Academy Coaching” who is currently John Ebbrell. So for me a substantial downgrading from Unsworth's role of U23 manager reporting to the DoF.

Unless they've changed their minds on this, I can't see it attracting a high calibre external candidate to work under Ebbrell. I can though see Jose Baxter getting interviewed at least and being a strong candidate.

Phill Thompson
57 Posted 13/06/2022 at 14:35:04
Michael #14, you're right – Mallon didn't start a game for the U23s last season, the Arsenal match where he had a decent performance and an assist was the season before.

The few times I saw him last season was with the U18s, he's a solid defender and a competent attacker and actually about the first actual right back to emerge since Kenny - all the rest like John, Quirk etc have been converted midfielders/ wingers.

I don't think Kyle John or Seb Quirk are good enough defensively to make it with us so it seems worth giving the younger Matt Mallon a chance.

Personally, I am hoping that young Roman Dixon will be making a breakthrough at U21s this coming season, but maybe others see Mallon as the better prospect.

Brian Wilkinson
58 Posted 13/06/2022 at 14:41:34
Personally, I thought Carsley did a lot of the donkey work, tidied up here and there, while Gravesen got all the plaudits, worked well together, but I never thought Carsley got the credit he deserved, until much later.
Tom Bowers
59 Posted 13/06/2022 at 15:23:40
There are many youngsters who will impress at a certain level but of course getting into the first team and impressing is another thing altogether.

We Everton fans have seen many fall by the wayside as many Prem. teams will opt for imported, established players these days and not be patient with emerging youngsters, instead, preferring to loan them out.

Of course there are always exceptions but they are usually with the top clubs and slot in with exceptional players around them such as Foden and a few others.

Many youngsters are impatient themselves and want to become big wage earners as quickly as possible but just don't want to put in the effort and commitment on a regular basis.

Michael Kenrick
60 Posted 13/06/2022 at 16:31:47
Thanks, Phill @ 57.

Mallan stopped playing for our Academy U18 side in February. No hint of any injury so he must've had a right good meltdown I suppose. He had been playing in most of the U18s games up until then, made captain for five of them.

He was then out for 11 games straight over 2½ months, and I hadn't spotted this before but he came back to play in the last two U18 games of the season, toward the end of April.

We can but wait and see what role and how many games he gets in the U21s come the new season.

Phill Thompson
62 Posted 13/06/2022 at 17:45:12
Michael #60, I must admit I thought Mallon was injured at the time he dropped out of sight. This based on the fact that the club rarely keep us informed of injuries to academy players, we usually only find out if a player posts on his social media.
Paul Kossoff
63 Posted 15/06/2022 at 16:47:28
I said it before, and I'll say it again:

We have more pressing problems with the first team squad than players who will never be in it.

A pity neither of these will be helping out next season.

James Flynn
64 Posted 25/06/2022 at 19:53:30
In the "For What it's Worth" department, I'm watching England's U-19s vs Israel.

No Everton boys on the roster. Brentford have 2.

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