Ronald Koeman has expressed his satisfaction with the progress of two of his younger players after both put in impressive performances during the Boxing Day win at Leicester.
The manager was asked about his assessment of Mason Holgate and Tom Davies after the former started in a back three instead of Phil Jagielka and the latter came on for Gareth Barry in the second half.
“[The youngsters] are developing well, that's that what we like to do with young players,” Koeman said today. “For them it is a long way, it's not easy to come into the first team in the Premier League but they are developing very well and Mason showed it already at the beginning of the season.
“In the last game against Leicester he played well and Tom Davies is developing also in that situation and he showed his quality when he came on to replace Gareth Barry.
“Like everybody, they [are] options to start against Hull.”
Koeman was asked about whether Davies could provide extra “energy and impetus” in Everton's midfield and he hinted that the youngster has not been given a start yet this season because he still has some developing to do before he is completely ready.
“It's a more holding midfield position and he is aggressive and he is strong. He can improve in his football but that's all about him bring a young player who needs to make steps.
“But he knows perfectly his situation.”
Reader Comments (70)
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1 Posted 28/12/2016 at 19:25:45
2 Posted 28/12/2016 at 19:31:33
Of course, there will now be a bunch of it's-about-fecking-time-he-should-have-done-it-earlier posts, and no doubt one or two speculating that we supporters pressured him into it.
I can hear the keyboards tapping from here....
3 Posted 28/12/2016 at 19:36:00
4 Posted 28/12/2016 at 19:59:46
His record at Southampton for promoting youth was poor, and at Valencia too. I podcast with a couple of Southampton fans and the major criticism of the man was his wholesale shunning of the academy players.
He may look smart in doing so... but a better manager might have seen and introduced the players in more harmonious circumstances.
I've no doubt Holgate will make it regardless. Davies needs to play significant minutes in tandem with managing Barry's role, that could work as the latter tires Davies gets those minutes. But to think Koeman was interested in promoting them seems fanciful as his career to date doesn't bear that out.
Necessity, Ronald, was the saving of your proverbial ass.
5 Posted 28/12/2016 at 20:07:10
6 Posted 28/12/2016 at 20:27:54
It's great to see some measured positive stuff from the manager about some of our youngsters. Contrasts starkly with his comments less than four weeks ago when we were desperate for something, anything, to give us some urgency, passion, energy.
Why we had to wait for a few more dire performances before the kids get a chance I'm not sure. Calvert-Lewin has had a few minutes, yes... but generally Ron has been very downbeat about the academy lads.
I don't think we have the youngster cadre coming through in quite the numbers some are saying but there's three or four worth a chance –Holgate and Davies certainly deserve a start at Hull.
7 Posted 28/12/2016 at 20:33:51
As for Davies, if he gets a run in the side we will go places. I'm so excited when I see 2 or 3 kids like this getting a chance. Ron is giving these kids a chance now – and not before time. January will bring big signings so let's hope it doesn't stunt these kids' growth.
8 Posted 28/12/2016 at 20:37:39
Ajax – one of the greatest academies and promoters of youth football in Europe if not the world. Please don't tell me this person doesn't know a thing or two about how to spot whether a player is good enough and then how to blood them.
We are obsessed with playing young players for 90 minutes every week on the basis of showing a glimpse of potential. Bring them in gradual and don't ruin them through over-expectation (Barkley) or over-hyping them (Stones) before they are ready for it.
9 Posted 28/12/2016 at 20:47:48
10 Posted 28/12/2016 at 21:07:38
Koeman is only doing what we've been demanding for months (playing youngsters, two up front etc) through necessity, not by choice. If you think he's a great believer in youth, try looking at Southampton fans forums.
If, because of injury, suspension etc, he accidently finds the right mix, I'll be happy; what I'm not happy with is fans suddenly cock a hoop because of one flowing move that nearly ended with a goal. The only football I've witnessed from this team in months.
11 Posted 28/12/2016 at 21:09:47
These lads have potential like many others but too much too soon (as much as we all want it myself included) either burns them out early, destroys their confidence as inevitable downturns in form and mistakes are pounced upon, or they believe their own hype before they have actually fulfilled the potential, so stop listening and developing.
12 Posted 28/12/2016 at 21:19:31
13 Posted 28/12/2016 at 21:45:55
I've always thought the calls for these youngsters to get starts over veterans were pretty silly. If you seriously thought Koeman was going to pick Davies over Barry/Gana/Macca, or Holgate over Coleman, I'd say it's your understanding that's a bit lacking, not mine.
Holgate got his chance because Koeman went to a back 3 for this game and chose him over Jags. He did well. He won't play again (barring injury) until Koeman opts for a back 3 again, because in a back 4 he's not as good as Coleman.
Davies gets a look now because Macca got hurt and Barry is struggling. He'll have a big chance now with Gana gone. But when Gana and Macca are back, he'll be sitting down again. At least until such time as he shows he's better than they are.
That's how it works. Danny (#8) put it best.
14 Posted 28/12/2016 at 21:49:38
15 Posted 28/12/2016 at 21:52:13
16 Posted 28/12/2016 at 22:22:08
Me, I'd like to actually see him play there in a 4 before I anoint him to beat out Williams, Funes Mori and/or Jags to become a mainstay. If he does have what it takes, it'll happen next season, not this one.
17 Posted 28/12/2016 at 22:32:41
19 Posted 28/12/2016 at 22:42:59
20 Posted 28/12/2016 at 22:44:24
So many football prodigies get burnt out if overplayed too young. Players like Rooney are actually very rare. I think we will see more of them next season.
21 Posted 28/12/2016 at 22:59:58
Koeman will have seen instantly what a natural defender Holgate is (albeit with inevitable flaws at this stage) which is why he was happy to throw him in early on.
As for Davies, a blind man can see the same natural footballing instincts. Both seem to me to have the added and priceless gift of confidence.
22 Posted 28/12/2016 at 23:19:17
Thomas Vermaelen, Nigel de Jong and Wesley Sneijder all smoothly transitioned from youth set-up to first team starters under his stewardship and during his three years at Feyenoord his team was primarily populated by home grown prospects.
He took over the reins of the Rotterdam club following a worst ever season that had seen them finish 10th, with their support witnessing such humiliating lows as their team being wankered all over the place in a 10-0 defeat to PSV, and a lump called Jhonny van Beukering leading the line who was so fat the fans labelled him Jhonny fucking Burger King.
Into this shambolic side Koeman introduced such youth players as Stefan De Vrij, Bruno Martins Indi, Tonny Vilhena, Terence Kongolo and Jordy Clasie (who he eventually made club captain). Whilst it could be claimed such action was forced upon him by a lack of funds and the loss of whatever 'star names' Feyenoord still had, Koeman certainly seemed to enjoy the challenge and found it ultimately rewarding:
"I've won championships with Ajax and PSV and we had some big players but working with young talent is one of the best things I have experienced. Patience is important but to work with players from your own academy is inspiring.”
When it came time for him to leave, he did so on the back of successive second-place finishes, an academy that had been named the best in the country each season he was there and words of thanks ringing in his ears from the formerly raw prospects he'd helped become first-team regulars. Clasie, in his role as club captain, part-time kiss arse and all round quilt, broke down in tears as Koeman gave his "I'm outta here" speech and sniffled something that sounded like:
"Koeman basically raised me. He taught me how to be a leader and has made me a much better player. I'll never forget him."
Why he never followed suit at Southampton, I'm not sure, but I can speculate. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that, upon arrival, he found a squad so dangerously threadbare, in numbers as well as quality, that it demanded the sort of instant quick fix that could only be achieved by bringing in senior pros ready to slot straight into the side?
Maybe it was as he himself said and there was simply a lack of players he deemed to be of a sufficient standard ensconced within the Southampton academy? Maybe he, like many, considers the Premier League a more physically demanding competition than those found on the continent and consequently a far more punishing arena in which to promote kids? Maybe flirting with youth was just a passing faze and he'd since moved onto the managerial equivalent of MILF hunting before graduating to granny shagging? Who knows?
It does show though that he's not going to approach every situation the same way and the fact he 'snubbed' youth at Southampton doesn't necessarily mean he's sure to turn his nose up at it while at Everton, simply because 'that's his style' or he's got previous for it.
23 Posted 28/12/2016 at 23:25:41
No chance of it happening but it would give us lots of energy and goal threat.
24 Posted 28/12/2016 at 23:40:26
Top post; about time this nonsense was put to bed.
What Everton's got is not going to be fixed by throwing half the Under-23s in. The club needed a quick tactical fix to stabilise the results and hopefully the next 2 windows will add quality and steel, whilst still allowing for progress of the few gifted youngsters.
25 Posted 28/12/2016 at 23:46:37
26 Posted 28/12/2016 at 23:48:11
27 Posted 28/12/2016 at 23:57:19
28 Posted 29/12/2016 at 00:09:35
David (#23), Gana is available for two more games, Friday for Hull and Tuesday for Southampton, before he gets on the plane.
29 Posted 29/12/2016 at 02:13:39
Great argument, Mike, but I notice you didn't mention poor Tom Cleverley (presumably because it was the pick that had most fans questioning the manager's judgement).
Is it silly to expect Tom Davies to play ahead of Cleverley or not, in your opinion?
30 Posted 29/12/2016 at 03:28:18
So Koeman was maybe a bit dismissive of the young talent he inherited as he was used to dealing with much better quality.
Now he knows he has to bring the youth up to the levels he is used to and that takes time.
32 Posted 29/12/2016 at 04:37:19
Obviously it's all hind sight, but I believe if he had played them earlier, I'm 100% convinced our form would have turned around weeks ago not just when we hit pretty much rock bottom.
I'm glad they played as well as they did, and I now hope Koeman's eyes are open as they deserve to be playing week-in & week-out.
Let's see what he has in store for us against Hull. I'm hoping he doesn't revert to type by dropping Holgate back to the bench and banishing Davies back to the U23s for the next month.
33 Posted 29/12/2016 at 04:49:59
On this thread, they're slamming him for not showing enough faith in youth. Go figure!!!
I do believe that Ron will play any player when it's his best option. But maybe with very young players it has to be both his best option and it has to be best for the player.
Bring them on slowly and cautiously, Ron that's the best way... so they don't have the burden of having to hold down a spot.
34 Posted 29/12/2016 at 05:34:51
However, if you had read most of the comments on this thread, I would say it was about 50/50 for & against what Koeman has been doing with Davies & Holgate.
I'm firmly in the against column and believe he should have been playing these lads weeks/months a go not week-in & week-out, but certainly with cameo's from the bench and the odd game here and there (like Swansea at home). They were and are certainly good enough to be played when directly compared with dross like Cleverley and the form Jags has been showing.
35 Posted 29/12/2016 at 07:00:03
But unlike the patently delusional James Watt, who has been convinced by that same 62 minutes that a skinny 18-year-old kid could have helped turn Everton's entire season around, I'm not quite ready to confer savior status.
I also leap to the assumption that Koeman, who clearly felt earlier this season that Davies wasn't ready yet, chose at times to give the kid the full 90 in a reserve game instead of a place on the bench with the seniors, just because that's how you help a teenager develop. Thus Cleverley's minutes. But I'm just guessing.
36 Posted 29/12/2016 at 07:16:04
I also don't see how James is delusional. If Koeman keeps faith with Davies in the next few weeks and he proves a big disappointment, then come back with your delusional stance. Many of us have been disillusioned by the shite served up so far, give or take a few moments.
37 Posted 29/12/2016 at 08:30:07
39 Posted 29/12/2016 at 11:05:17
We have problems with Gana and Bolasie unavailable though – Davies will be essential soon enough. It's a shame Liam Walsh is injured.
40 Posted 29/12/2016 at 11:26:52
If you actually read what I put, I said he would have made a difference just by being brought on every now and again and the odd game. And those 62 mins is down to Koeman not playing him. And I also talked about Holgate, or did you forget about that part?
But hey, if you're happy with the crap Koeman has been doing, then fair enough. Good on you. I'm not.
But keep posting, your posts are always crap and make me chuckle.
41 Posted 29/12/2016 at 11:47:38
When Koeman took over at Everton, he said we reminded him of Feyenoord, so let's hope he can build us up in a similar way?
The lack of a style is a bit of a worry, but every team needs to start somewhere, and I do get where Ronald is coming from with regards substance. Robles looks like he's come out of a shell, and is now ready to fight for his place, and both Holgate and Davies have been in the papers talking about "wanting" to play first team football. So maybe this is what Koeman has been trying to instill into the football club since his arrival?
42 Posted 29/12/2016 at 11:57:32
He was playing really well til he got injured.
43 Posted 29/12/2016 at 12:00:24
Tony (#41), Koeman has stripped it right back to the bare bones in my opinion.
The rebuild starts next week.
44 Posted 29/12/2016 at 12:22:01
45 Posted 29/12/2016 at 13:32:36
Forget Fergies class of whenevers, which managers over the past two seasons have really placed their trust in youth players in the way people are currently expecting Ron to? Of course managers have been forced to blood young players due to injury crises, or given the odd lad a few minutes in dead rubbers, but from what I can recall no one stands out.
Happy to be corrected on this, but my gut feeling is Ron is like most managers, pragmatic. Another way to think of it, how many teams in the top flight currently rely on a player under 22 as a main component of their team? Maybe you could argue Dele Alli at Spurs, but that aside, I cant think of any.
46 Posted 29/12/2016 at 15:15:41
Davies has only been introduced because Macca is injured; Barry has started pulling caravans, and Besic is not ready. If he didn't play soon, Koeman faced the probability of having to play a totally inexperienced kid in front of the defence... and he knew it.
He was also forced to bring Holgate back; it wasn't just pressure from our fans it was ridicule from the footballing community in general. Here was a kid who had been really impressive in his early appearances, dropped because of an imaginary "dip in form" and forced to watch while the other three centre-halves embarrassed themselves, Koeman and more importantly us.
Look at the results and performances when Holgate played in the earlier Premier League games, look at them since he came back.... then ask yourself why the fuck there had to be an in between?
Common sense has finally prevailed and we should all be grateful for that, but FFS, let's not portray Koeman as a genius... He's far too slow on the uptake
47 Posted 29/12/2016 at 15:32:20
Glad I made you chuckle, because fair's fair, and that line was a laugh riot.
I didn't mention Holgate because I've already made the point ad nauseum in other other threads... calling for Holgate to be handed a spot in the middle of a back four, ahead of Williams and Funes Mori, sounds pretty silly coming from people who have never seen him play there – and none of us actually has, except those who have personally attended reserve games. He hasn't played there for the senior side except in pre-season, and even then, Pennington was preferred before he was injured. And while Holgate has looked great at right-back, Coleman's better.
Gary (#36), for the record, I think these are two exciting young players Holgate is clearly a future starter and I'd like to see more of them as well. But I think the idea that they'd have elevated the form of the entire side with more minutes off the bench is a fantasy.
48 Posted 29/12/2016 at 16:06:41
49 Posted 29/12/2016 at 16:36:38
"The good news is he hasn't ruptured his ACL (anterior cruciate ligament)," said boss David Moyes. "The bad news is he's strained it. "It's a major disappointment because he's been saving us points."
50 Posted 29/12/2016 at 16:43:09
Mike G – your whole argument is a bit straw-man as very few people if any are arguing that Holgate and Davies (to name but two) are currently better or will necessarily play better than more seasoned pros. What people have been arguing as far as I've been reading is that they have the potential to be great if given game time to develop (nothing develops playing football quite like playing football) and certainly worthy of a punt if the so-called professionals are incapable of providing the energy required by Koeman.
Davies in particular seems to be far more suited to a high-tempo pressing game (which we are led to believe is Koeman's desire) than Cleverley or the venerable Barry, so how is he not a worthy shout? At this stage, who even cares if he makes mistakes? I'd rather an impetuous kid came in to play than a seasoned bottler.
51 Posted 29/12/2016 at 17:10:24
I agree with you that Davies is a worthy shout. But I also agree with you that “nothing develops playing football quite like playing football”, which is why I guessed in a previous post above that Koeman has chosen to give Davies 90 minutes every game in the reserves rather than sit on the bench for the senior side.
52 Posted 29/12/2016 at 17:24:25
53 Posted 29/12/2016 at 17:46:16
Thanks to the efforts of posters like Dave Abrahams and Gary Edwards amongst others, plus my own more limited viewings, there is little doubt that we have an exceptional crop of players currently on the fringes of the first team. Not exceptional necessarily in terms of talent or technique, though they have those, but in terms of attitude. You mockingly called Davies and Holgate 'messiahs' but I wouldn't go so far as that. What they do appear to be are very determined and fearless young talents. Could we do with an injection of fearlessness? After the derby you can judge as well as I can.
Holgate as you know has not put a foot wrong in his limited appearances (and obviously I agree with you he is not a starter ahead of Coleman) and Davies was actually MoM in his first appearance last season and has also shown much positivity this season. The game time they need is not in the reserves, which admittedly is more competitive now, but in front of some baying crowds. They have the attitude to thrive in the face of it and simply put, the sooner they are played the sooner they will achieve their potential whatever that may be. As it stands, it is already better than Cleverley's (all due respect to the lad). Their 'potential' is even better than Barry's who is heading in the opposite direction as time catches up.
My concern is not Koeman's reputation but the future of this club. Davies, Holgate and others like Walsh, Kenny, Dowell and Calvert-Lewin could have a huge and positive say in Everton's future, if we invest a bit in theirs.
54 Posted 29/12/2016 at 18:09:08
Koeman made a different call about Holgate, who is two years older and physically more developed than Davies. He has already played nearly as many minutes this season as Cleverley, Lennon, Macca and Geri. No doubt he will earn more, particularly if Koeman goes with three at the back.
55 Posted 29/12/2016 at 18:24:51
And if we all agreed with Koeman what would we have to huff and moan about?
56 Posted 29/12/2016 at 18:38:23
What did that advert used to say? .... Priceless!
57 Posted 29/12/2016 at 21:00:23
Yes, but he's also referring to John Daley's judgement. John has a great wit but also a very incisive and informed analysis.
58 Posted 29/12/2016 at 21:21:17
And that fight might transmit to the other, even younger players.
59 Posted 29/12/2016 at 21:33:11
I understand the risk of young players starting too many consecutive games; they will not be great every game, but after his very good 25 minutes last week, it wouldn't be a great risk to play him tomorrow night. There are a few games all coming together in the next two weeks so Barry and Davies can take rests in between games or play parts of games.
Davies looks like he has a good future in him; I hope it is with Everton, but there is no need to rush him into every game... bit by bit, as long he is kept around the first-team squad.
60 Posted 29/12/2016 at 21:51:17
61 Posted 29/12/2016 at 22:05:13
By the way, Mike, don't rule out Cleverley as a centre-midfield player, he has mostly had to play on the left side of midfield.
Despite the derision he gets on here and the way he was cheered off the field, when substituted recently, he is not a bad player at all, so don't be surprised if he comes into the reckoning for some of these games.
62 Posted 29/12/2016 at 22:31:14
Youth and enthusiasm won't do it alone; they'll shine for a bit then tire, fade and have bad days. Experience alone won't do it as they'll demonstrate their ability to outfox the young pretenders for a bit then tire, fade and have bad days. Technical ability and skill won't do it alone as it works against some on its day but not when you need a bit of fight and fire in your belly to stand up and be counted. Desire, fight and fire in your belly is good against some but won't stand up against true quality as you get undone by sheer ability and better quality.
What you need is a blend of all of the above. In my humble opinion and experience, at the right time, dependent on who you're playing, the best and most successful teams manage to blend all of the above at the right time.
63 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:00:58
"Youth and enthusiasm won't do it alone; they'll shine for a bit then tire, fade and have bad days." Couldn't agree more and that's exactly why they should be brought in, or be giving 30 mins... here and there. That shine would have helped us so much in the trough we found ourselves in but Koeman wouldn't take the risk.
Although risk is probably not the right word as why is there risk in playing them over the dross we've been watching most of the season? Although a blind sloth with a limp would have more mobility and play better to be fair than some of the things we've seen.
Dave (#61). I too can see Cleverley coming in along side Barry whilst Gana is away and Mac is out injured. I just can't see Koeman starting Davies. That's of course if we don't sign a midfielder in the first few days of the window.
64 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:23:06
I especially remember him having a MotM performance from that position against us in 2015, even scored a goal if I recall.
I'll never slate the poor guy, that's for sure. I've never known a good, hardworking, honest player to come in for so much fan criticism everywhere he's been... including us, where he's always been played out of position.
65 Posted 29/12/2016 at 23:27:41
66 Posted 30/12/2016 at 08:59:13
We all have our opinions on the young lad's capabilities to start games but fabricating statements like above don't add to the debate.
67 Posted 01/01/2017 at 06:17:29
68 Posted 01/01/2017 at 12:18:11
Go back and watch the Chelsea and Watford Games. Listen to the analysis then read the reports... then come back and tell us that the ridicule was "fabricated".
69 Posted 01/01/2017 at 16:07:46
70 Posted 01/01/2017 at 20:08:02
Evertonians all over the City having to listen to howls of derision from delirious kopites. Radio phone-ins having calls backing up, from fans (some not even supporting Premier League clubs) wanting to take the piss over the Burnley defeat.
Mocking Watford fans, everyone enjoying the sight of Southampton fans gloating as they put one over on the guy who betrayed them.
TV pundits and journalists alike taking great pleasure pointing out the deficiencies in our defending and formation.
Yeah of course it was all a complete fabrication and the two commentators you speak about are the only people who took the piss.
You complain about people who "fabricate" stories not adding to the debate... I wonder how much burying your head in the sand and denying facts add to it?
71 Posted 02/01/2017 at 09:48:04
Kopites have taunted us for years, unfortunately, going back to the coffins draped in an Everton flag they had ready at the Wimbledon game. It's not just the last few weeks.
TV pundits are paid to give opinions. You obviously agree with the point they were making, that is plain to see from your posts. It was you who brought the two commentators into the debate; I just moved that point on.
As for burying my head in the sand, I have said for months including on these pages that Holgate should be a starter. My point is using words like "he was forced to bring Holgate back due to ridicule from the footballing community in general" is clearly not true.
Do you seriously believe Koeman is a manager who would be "forced" into changing his team selection by "Mocking Chelsea fans" "kopites on phone ins"..."mocking Watford and Southampton fans" ..."TV pundits and journalists"? You are very much mistaken if you do.
76 Posted 03/01/2017 at 23:07:58
You mention Watford; pretty much London. Southampton; an hour away. Liverpool, well (tongue-in-cheek), they have a large southern base.
Sadly, whilst I pick on our southern cousins here, its more a modern Sky generation fan thing; fork out £40+ to spend the afternoon berating the opposition rather than follow your team. I know there's always been an element of banter but its just got pathetic in recent seasons.
Please never ever (ever) chant that awful "Your support is facking shit" song at Goodison ...ever!!
77 Posted 03/01/2017 at 23:13:54