How Everton under-23s' title success can ensure bright future for club's first-team

Tom Power
90Min
It was a title triumph that was laced with irony akin to that which saw Everton's senior side seemingly hand the Premier League trophy to Manchester City back in 2014. Liverpool Under-23s' late 3-2 victory over City's youth side provided a bittersweet feeling for their starlets as with the elation, of securing three points at the death, came the realisation that they had handed the title to their city rivals' own reserve side in the process. It wasn't, or hasn't been, sheer luck that has seen...

It was a title triumph that was laced with irony akin to that which saw Everton's senior side seemingly hand the Premier League trophy to Manchester City back in 2014.

Liverpool Under-23s' late 3-2 victory over City's youth side provided a bittersweet feeling for their starlets as with the elation, of securing three points at the death, came the realisation that they had handed the title to their city rivals' own reserve side in the process.

It wasn't, or hasn't been, sheer luck that has seen Everton Under-23s, superbly managed by Blues hero David Unsworth, land silverware this term though.

Instead, a determination to succeed, a team spirit that is often seen in title winning teams, a confidence bred from a run of 15 wins from 20 league matches and a quality education at one of English football's best youth academies have all played their part in seeing the Toffees' youth side earn the right to call themselves champions.

 

It is also a glimpse into just how bright the future of Everton Football Club is on the pitch, as well as off it.

The arrival of billionaire investor Farhad Moshiri, coupled with talk of a new world-class stadium on the banks of the River Mersey, has ramped up the anticipation levels on the Blue half of Merseyside as fans begin to hope that a new era of first-team success for their beloved club is on the horizon.

Now, though, there is even more for Evertonians to purr over after many woke to the news about the stars of tomorrow's triumph over their rivals' Under-23 sides.

 

Everton fans have already witnessed first-hand the latest trailblazers to emerge from the club's famed youth academy over the past 18 months - Tom Davies, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Mason Holgate to name but a few - who have all showcased their glistening potential on the hallowed turf of Goodison Park.

Under the tutelage of Unsworth and his team, the Blues' homegrown talent appears to be even greater than first thought, however, thanks to an outstanding campaign from some of the club's best budding talents since the days of Wayne Rooney and Francis Jeffers.

Kieran Dowell, who already has two first-team outings to his name, has added more scintillating solo strikes to his ever-growing collection, while Jonjoe Kenny has built upon his loan stint at Oxford United last term and been labelled as the "best Under-23 right-back" in the country by Unsworth.

 

Midfield pair Harry Charsley and Liam Walsh have excelled, Beni Baningime has been hailed a future Everton version of N'Golo Kante, Mateusz Hewelt has starred in goal and Bassala Sambou has settled well since his summer transfer from Coventry City.

That Everton's Under-23 outfit has staved off the challenge of other clubs' more reputable reserve teams - Liverpool, City, Arsenal and Tottenham to name just four - is a testament to the guidance and coaching ability of Unsworth, his assistant John Ebbrell and the rest of the team at USM Finch Farm, and shows that the Toffees can more than match the best clubs in the country to bring in - and bring through - top talent on Merseyside.

For Ronald Koeman, the Under-23s' title triumph will also be of intrigue. The Netherlands legend has consistently made mention of giving youth a chance while he remains in charge of the Blues, and seeing Unsworth lead his charges to the Premier League 2 trophy will allow him to run the rule over the club's burgeoning young stars to see who will follow in the footsteps of Davies et al. in the seasons to come.

 

It remains to be seen whether the majority of Unsworth's prodigious players will make the grade at the highest level, but they have done themselves no harm at all by clinching a trophy that they will have coveted from the start of the 2016/17 campaign.

Academy footballers from across the UK and further afield will, of course, have their gaze drawn by more fashionable modern day clubs than Everton, regardless of this silverware success but, as Unsworth puts it in the wake of his side's Championship victory, there is one factor that Everton hold above all others thanks to their title triumph.

He remarked: “It goes to show that this Club is the ideal place to be if you are a young player who wants to develop and progress.”

He's not wrong. The future is bright for Everton but, sorry Ronald, it's not orange. It's Royal Blue.

Read more from Tom Power by following him on Twitter!

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes