Rhys Hughes joined Everton Academy as a 6-year-old, with local rivals Liverpool and Manchester United both displaying an interest. He subsequently worked his way through the ranks of the Everton Academy.
He was involved in the squads for all 24 Premier League 2 games of 2020-21, starting 19 and sitting out just one as an unused sub, such was David Unsworth's confidence in the 'outstanding' midfielder who was described as being 'worth his weight in gold' following his first full season in the U23s:
With 2 goals and 7 assists to his name, Unsworth suggested to the Liverpool Echo that Hughes would spend the following 12 months at Everton improving his physicality but was excited by the potential of the dead-ball specialist who was also named in Wales U21 squad in March 2021:
"What we've looked at is where do we play him. We felt playing off one of the sides, coming into the pockets, getting on the ball on the half-turn, was probably his best opportunity. He has to get quicker, he has to get stronger, he has to develop physically, but this all happens naturally.
"All the players have individual programmes but we've missed out on a number of sessions in the gym this year. For people like Rhys that is the next stage of their development, that physicality.
"So another pre-season, which is always important, more time in the gym and afternoon sessions, who knows? He's got the ability, he needs to build his stamina and his physicality but if you're talking a footballer, he is an outstanding footballer with great technique and a great set-ball delivery. Those type of players are worth their weight in gold and, after another year of development, we'll see where we are with him."
Reader Comments (7)
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1 Posted 21/06/2022 at 22:54:53
Unbelievable, are we operating an academy set in the 1980's?
2 Posted 21/06/2022 at 23:30:37
When he was with us as a debutant I cringed to hear him boasting of his own pass-stats "that Unsy had so admired".
Garbutt, after signing a five-year contract, eventually left us on a free transfer - recouping no money at all given that we'd paid him for years.
He's still playing, when selected, by Blackpool, up to now in the third tier of football.
These are his career stats;
2011–2020 Everton 5 (0 goals)
2011–2012 → Cheltenham (loan) 34 (2)
2013–2014 → Colchester Utd (loan) 19 (2) 2015–2016 → Fulham (loan) 25 (1)
2016–2017 → Wigan Athletic (loan) 8 (0) 2018–2019 → Oxford United (loan) 25 (4) 2019–2020 → Ipswich Town (loan) 28 (5)
2020– Blackpool 46 (4)
National team 2008 England U16 5 (0) 2008–2010 England U17 24 (3)
2010 England U18 1 (0)
2011–2012 England U19 7 (0)
2013–2014 England U20 5 (0)
2014–2015 England U21 11 (0)
A pretty sad career for a lad who was supposed to be developed at what we were, and still are, being told is a world-class training facility.
3 Posted 22/06/2022 at 03:08:24
Good luck to Hughes at Tranmere and beyond. He's a tidy footballer for sure, and should have a decent enough career, but when I've watched him play I always thought he lacked the desired urgency and tenacity to stamp his authority on games.
A bit like Kieran Dowell in that respect – but without the wand of a left foot and the catalogue of long-distance screamers.
4 Posted 22/06/2022 at 13:07:48
Comparisons with Ward-Prowse seem unwarranted but there was a time fairly recently when it was not just the Academy staff who were saying pretty complimentary things about him:
He had a pretty good appearance record for the U23s and didn't look too shabby when I saw him play. Not stand-out, but then few of them really do.
And that's the problem, it seems: poor coaching. So promising players, perhaps like Rhys Hughes, get shifted and shafted because of the failings of said staff.
At least he is the only one of the 10 who has been released… so far! But that particular Academy staff person has since been "moved on" as well since he wasn't all that good really.
5 Posted 23/06/2022 at 01:21:32
Now, we finally know that it was Rhino who has been the bigger culprit, misleading Higher Hierarchies up the club, in terms of what we have in the youngster pipeline and how ready it is in helping to replenish an aging First Team.
Imagine the pipeline to replenish Wayne Enterprise was mismanaged, who would suffer? It was the whole city of Gotham, not the Wayne Family (and Batman himself).
Dig a slightly deeper into Red Shite's player tradings and it is crystal clear that a large chunk of their income (and even profits) were made out of hyping up their prospects to an extent that other lower tier Premier League Teams (or even promotion-chasing Championship Teams) would cash out their crown jewels to buy them (Good to see you back Bournemouth but really hate to see you financing the Red Shite before you went away last time).
As much as I love Rhino the player, not so much for Rhino the Coach.
6 Posted 23/06/2022 at 01:58:30
7 Posted 26/06/2022 at 22:19:25
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