Morgan Feeney joined the Everton Academy at the tender age of just seven
and has worked his way up through the junior levels to graduate as a First
Year Scholar in 2015. Strong in the tackle and in the air, coach David Unsworth described Feeney as "from the Dave Watson school of defending".
Feeney featured 11 times in the Under-23s’ 2016-17 title-winning
campaign, as he completed the transition from Under-18 football, having
made his Under-23s debut the previous season aged 16. He would dearly love
to skipper his side through another successful season, while keeping sight
of his long-term ambition to progress into the first-team squad.
“This is our second season together now… we know each other inside
out,” added Feeney. “It would be silly if our aim was not to go and
challenge for the [Premier League 2] again and I think we have a chance.
“I am a massive Evertonian, so being captain is huge for me. It is
something I took in my stride and hopefully I am doing okay at it. My
short-term goal is to get through to Christmas feeling good and playing
well. Hopefully in that period I can catch the eye of the new manager and
see where that takes me.
“I have seen some of his training and it looks exciting. You do think,
‘I don’t want to be watching, I want to be over there with them’. It is
natural when you see how good it looks to want a piece of it. It is
another incentive to try to get myself over there. But I do not want
to rush things. I have been out so long and had the problem a number of
years, so it is important I get it right and make sure I come back as fit
Turning 18, the Bootle-born defender was one of the youngest
members of Unsworth's Under-23s squad that lifted the Premier League 2
title in 2016-17. After being handed the captaincy of the young Blues
for the 2017-18 season, Feeney's performance levels elevated even
Feeney had a fabulous season before his campaign was prematurely
curtailed. He stepped up to skipper Unsworth’s Under-23s following Jonjoe
Kenny’s elevation to the first-team set-up and responded with a series
of stellar displays. Feeney’s form won him a senior outing as a substitute
in the Europa League clash with Atalanta in November 2017. And the following
month he made his full-debut at Apollon Limassol, turning in an
authoritative display at the heart of the Blues’ back-four as a young
Everton side won 3-0.
But his season ended early when he needed knee surgery in March 2018. Feeney
and the Club’s medical staff decided the procedure was required to cure a
long-standing patella tendon issue in the centre-back’s right leg. Feeney
subsequently went under the knife to correct a similar problem in his left
Free of pain in the summer of 2018, Feeney wanted to spend hours on the
training ground honing the techniques he was studying on footage of the
likes of Uruguay centre-half pair Diego Godin and Jose Gimenez, two
masters of their art at the World Cup in Russia.
“I have been watching players I like [in the World Cup] and have done
the analysts’ heads in, getting them to clip games for me on passing and
defending,” Feeney told evertontv.
“I watch clips back and take those things into my own game. Hopefully,
I can stay out training longer [when I am fit], with pain free knees, to
work on those things. The Uruguay defenders are solid, Godin and Gimenez. And Harry Maguire
has looked solid. The big centre-backs who like to put themselves
about a bit… that is what I like to see.”
The Bootle-born player’s progress was recognised when he returned from
his surgery in Sweden to accept the club’s Young Player of the Year prize
in May 2018.
“It was a satisfying year for me, to make my debut and receive the
accolades I did,” says Feeney. “To end it that way [receiving the young
player prize] was sweeter than it would have been if things hadn’t gone so
The first-team experience is an extra bit of motivation. It makes you
hungry for more, once you have had a little taste. That second game in
Limassol, especially getting the big win, just makes you want to go and
“It is an extra drive for me. It was a bit of an eye-opener, in terms
of how they [the established first teamers] carried themselves and went
about things. Anything I can take from the senior players to bring into my
game, on and off the pitch, I will try to put into the 23s and get across
to our lads.”
Feeney followed an individually tailored programme in the 2018 pre-season
training camp at La Manga, Spain, designed to have him operating at full
tilt when he returned to the pitch. He also underlined the reviving
effects of being part of the squad which has travelled abroad for a
seven-day camp ahead of the new season kicking off in August 2018.
“I have been joining in the warm-ups and just being around the lads and
feeling part of the team again is good for morale,” said Feeney. “I am
starting to get into the swing of things.
“You have to set yourself goals or you would end up just turning up and
doing what you’re told. Within limits – because you have to listen to the
physios. They give you goals and you cannot jump ahead of them. But if
they give you some sort of cardio work, for example, I will try to beat
the time they tell me to do it in. They are just little goals you can go
out and reach each day and feel like you’ve achieved something.
“I have never really had a proper long-term injury – nothing as long as
this. It is a new test and something you have to get on with and deal
with. “It does strengthen you mentally.”
Morgan Feeney would eventually return to captain the Under-23s a few
games into the new season, and he would lead them to an impressive double
in winning the Premier League 2 trophy and the Premier League Cup, Feeney
scoring the winning goal of the final at Goodison Park in May 2019.
Feeney was an established member of the U23s who tried to
sustain the high standard into the new season, but things fell apart as
the Blues drifted into the lower half of the PL2 table, well off the
required pace to defend their title. At the end of the January 2020
transfer window, Morgan Feeney secured a loan move to Tranmere Rovers
for the remainder of the season.
But that loan would be cut short almost before it had begun, with Feeney
suffering a serious hamstring injury in his first game for Tranmere, and
returning to Finch Farm for treatment, with fears that he would be out
recovering for the rest of the season. Indeed, he did not get to play
again before the early termination of the season due to the Covid-19
In May 2020, he was told that Everton would release him at
the end of his contract. Feeney would sign a short-term deal with Sunderland in League One
later that summer after a number of weeks training with the North-East
club. But just weeks into his new career, another serious hamstring
injury would once again put him on the sidelines after just 8 minutes of
his first PL2 game for the Black Cats. He was released in January 2021.
He was able to secure a new contract with Carlisle Utd but would not
play again until the following season, where he worked his way into
becoming a first-team regular for the League Two team, running up
against his old Everton U23 side in an
EFL Trophy game that The
Cumbrians would win 2-0.
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