Everton, against the odds, have remained one of the main contenders in the Premier League for years with a low cut budget compared to the competition and have now finished in the top 10 now for seven successive seasons.

I think a reason for this may be the academy structure, with stars such as Ross Barkley coming through, not to forget a certain Wayne Rooney who came through the ranks at Everton. However, in terms of making it at Everton, the club have been quite picky in terms who has made it... with only seven players coming through from the academy to make more than 10 league appearances in one campaign, no Ross Barkley is not there yet but nearly!

However, this does include Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert who have both been loyal servants to The Toffees and have kept the side solid year-in, year-out which has given the club a good foothold to develop the squad and move forward, ensuring that there are people playing for Everton who know what it means for the supporters, which is crucial.

There are two notable sales as well, with Rooney leaving for Manchester United for 25.6 million and Jack Rodwell to Manchester City for 12 million. This sort of income allowed Moyes to bolster his squad which couldnt have been done if the academy had not developed the players to the high level they did.

Striker pair James Vaughan and Victor Anichebe also left after loyal service to the club to further their personal football careers; however, between them, they still managed to score 25 goals: 7 for Vaughan and 18 for Anichebe.

Then finally there is the controversial one with Dan Gosling. He left for Newcastle on a free and remains at the Black and Whites despite having injury troubles; however, he has just joined Blackpool on a three-month loan deal as he looks to reignite his career.

Although on the face of things Everton may have not brought through a lot of players, Champions Manchester United in comparison since the millennium have only brought nine players through, to make 10 or more appearances in a single league campaign, which includes flops such as Luke Chadwick and players who barely made impacts like Kieran Richardson or who left the club for greater things, like Darron Gibson.

Man Utd have more often needed to bring in their talent, including rising star Adnan Januzaj and other players like Rafael and Wilfred Zaha, while here at Everton they have been brought through and introduced to the team the proper way.

In conclusion, Evertons spine of local players has, I think, given the side purpose and a commitment to the fans other teams dont have. For example, Newcastle are full of French players who dont understand what its like to wear the shirt and on some days dont turn up while The Toffees continuously perform as the local lads push forward, showing how important it is, giving the club the soul it has had for years and hopefully will have for years to come.

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Reader Comments (26)

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Paul Olsen
1 Posted 06/10/2013 at 19:43:22
Surely Gosling cannot be classified an academy product. He played more than a season of senior football with Plymouth before joining.
Jimmy Srheim
2 Posted 06/10/2013 at 19:35:05
Going forward all the focus has to be on perfecting the acadamy system.
We need top quality coaches in the youth system, and stop relying on people like Alan Stubbs to do the work.

I would prefer if we looked towards Spain for top coaches for our youngsters.

The biggest problem we have as I see it is the amount and quality of coaches that has been with us this far.

Ray Hall was the one who saved us, but now except for Alan Irvine I think we need to invest more money into the quality aspect of our youth system.

If you look at Arsenal and United they have perfected their youth system, but we have stood still for many years in that department.

Hopefully RM will find out that he needs better coaches and scouts to be able to perfeect the youth system at place here.

Once the facilities came there should have been a large upgrade in the quality of coaching and scouting towards our youth players.

I think the fact that we have Alan Stubbs as our U-21 manager speaks volumes. Coaches brought based on old history with the club, not actual talent in coaching is a very bad way to go about it.

I accept Duncan Ferguson belongs inside the club because he is a striker legend, but David Weir and ALan Stubbs I think was a waste.

We hardly hear talk of top youth coaches, why is that? Ajax has only top coaches in their youth policy, so why are we not following that example.

We need to study succesful clubs like Ajax further, that is where we can gain an upper hand in the PL.

It seems there needs to be a culture change somehow, and I think RM is the right one to bring it.

So far what RM represents in youth work David Moyes has things to learn.

I think we need to give RM at least 3 years before we can really say if he has made a change for the better or nor.

Based on league placings alone so far I think there is little difference to pick out, but it is about so much more then that.

A structure needs to be put up, just as Ajax have and only then will we become truly great at developing youngsters.

Clive Rogers
3 Posted 06/10/2013 at 20:08:45
Moyes has been quoted in the press this morning as saying he introduced both Rooney and Barkley to the first team. Didn't Walter Smith introduce Rooney? And as for Barkley, everytime he did well, Moyes left him out the next game!
Clive Rogers
4 Posted 06/10/2013 at 20:08:45
Paul Andrews
5 Posted 06/10/2013 at 20:48:35
Moyes introduced Barkley to Sheffield Wednesday & Leeds at the earliest opportunity.
Phil Sammon
6 Posted 06/10/2013 at 20:51:49
I heard that one Clive.

Yeah, the guy was great with the young lads wasn't he. Always willing to give them a chance...with 20 seconds to go.

The cheek of the arrogant prick.

Andrew James
7 Posted 06/10/2013 at 20:44:42
@ Clive

No it was Moyes who gave Rooney his debut, I think it was the start of the 2002-03 season.

Bill Gall
8 Posted 06/10/2013 at 21:04:02
I still have a ticket stub for the Worthington Cup at Wrexham 1st of Oct 2002 that Rooney scored 2 goals and Campbell the other 1. Did he play in the first team before that date?
Al Reddish
9 Posted 06/10/2013 at 21:12:25
Bill, I don't think he did. Walter wanted to put him in the team but thought he was too young at 16, and didn't want it to interfere with his education.
Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 06/10/2013 at 21:29:01
Bill, Wayne Rooney's Everton debut was in the first game of that season, Spurs at home.
Rob Brown
11 Posted 06/10/2013 at 23:51:34
Moyes gave Rooney his chance as far as I remember. I first saw him play in a pre-season friendly against Hibs at Easter Road 2002-03 and that was the season he broke into the first team, scoring that goal against the Gunners.
Ian Tunstead
12 Posted 07/10/2013 at 00:17:27
I remember being at a pre season game at Goodison, I think it was against Real Sociedad. He played most of that game as I recall and he took a shot from almost the exact position that he scored his famous goal against Arsenal only his effort went just over the bar.

I remember he played against Spurs in the first game of the season and set up a Pembridge goal. Moyes gave him plenty of opportunities which resulted in him becoming the youngest player to play for England in a competitive game. Moyes gave many other 16- and 17-year-olds their chance including James Vaughan who still holds the record for the youngest Premier League goalscorer, so lets give the man some credit and try not to ignore the facts.

Patrick Murphy
13 Posted 07/10/2013 at 00:46:24
I don't think Walter Smith could have played Rooney, even if he had wanted to, some rule about players under 16 or something if I remember rightly.

Rooney was born in Oct 1985 I think, which made him 15 when Walter left the club.

Craig Fletcher
14 Posted 07/10/2013 at 00:37:20
I see your point Steven;

And for a club not as flush with cash; it's even more important that we have a top youth academy who can bring (and more importantly, spot) the best and brightest of our young talent.

Furthermore we need to show these young players that with Everton there is a good track record of Academy products being brought through to the first team to inspire them - hence the importance of examples such as Barkey, Ossie, Rooney et al.

James Martin
15 Posted 07/10/2013 at 10:35:50
Ian I think you may be referring to Unsowrth's testimonial against Bilbao,think we lost it 1-0 but I remember Rooney coming on for what I think was his first outing of any sort in the first team (could easily be wrong though) and he smashed the bar with a rasping shot at one point.

Jimmy I don't know where to start on your post mate. On the one hand you've criticised the club for employing former players like Stubbs, Weir and Unsworth, and then said that we should be following Ajax's lead who.......employ all their former players as coaches: Bergkamp, Frank De Boer, Ronald de Boer.

I don't see how United have perfected their youth system. They had their one golden generation which was ages ago and since then their best product has only just broken into the team at West Ham. Who have been their big names? Welbeck? Cleverly? Not a patch on Rooney Barkley and Rodwell.

Likewise Arsenal didn't produce a player of note until very recently. I'm not talking about players like Fabregas they bought from others and spent a bit of time in the reserves until they made the first team Off the top of my head I can only think of Wilshere and Gibbs, the latter of which is only decent, as any players of note who have made it into the first team.

Other players such as Oxlade Chamberlain, Jenkinson, Walcott, and Januzaj for United were bought from elsewhere. That would be like counting Coleman and Stones as ours. Our academy seems to be doing fine. Now and then it throws off a potential world class talent and all anyone does is moan about why there aren't more of them as though we have La Masia on our hands but because Stubbs and Weir are there we're not getting a Messi every year. Who is? Who was the last class academy player Liverpool brought through (not those bought from others such as Sterling), Tottenham? Man City? Chelsea? Newcastle have managed to rear one donk in about two decades (who has also found his way to West Ham). Where are all of Villa's world class academy products? They are all looking on in envy at what we're producing. There's some exceptions such as what West Ham used to produce (not any more though) and perhaps their modern day equivalent Southampton (although it should be noted they have the almost the entirety of the South coast to choose from largely uncontested whilst we have three of the biggest clubs in the world right on our doorstep)

Haydn Milloy
16 Posted 07/10/2013 at 10:04:28
I go and watch most of the Under-18 and Under-21 games following George Green, and I think both age groups have a few players that look like they could make the jump up in time. James Graham from the U18s Impresses me all the time, playing at the back he always seems to be in the right place and, for a not so big a lad, wins a lot of balls in the air... and not afraid to go in hard at tackles. I like this lad and think he could be one to watch out for. He is a bit thin so has a bit of building up to do; if he could bulk up a bit, then he could be a real contender.

Harry Charsley, midfielder I've seen this lad play a few times but he didnt stand out to me at first as he was being played as a forward midfielder; however, the last few times I have seen him he has been in more of a central role and looks pretty good in that position.

Gethin Jones, who is down as a midfielder on the Everton website, has been playing as a right wing back for the U18s and has blistering pace, good on the ball, can see a pass, impresses me when I have watched him in the U18s and U21s.

In the U21s, the guy that stands out to me just (as he did when he was playing for the U18s) is Matthew Pennington; he could be a real star in the future... great engine, great footballer.

Tyias Browning, how fast is he, great defender England star very soon.

I'm watching the U21s play Blackburn later today: 7pm kick off at Ewood Park and may get to see some new starters with a few away on international duties, George has told me he may get to start so I'm looking forward to that. It will be a nice boost for him just before he goes away with England U18s. So if you have a free evening, get along to Ewood Park tonight and cheer the Young Blues on a good night out for a fiver.

Derek Thomas
17 Posted 07/10/2013 at 11:35:31
Unsworth is supposed to have a very good 'ball' 'ball' 'ball' it's all about the ball philosophy, not a hint of kick dead fast and run dead hard Rhinoism.
Arild Andersen
18 Posted 07/10/2013 at 13:33:02
@rob (201) :
I saw that match too, a friend and I were on a trip through Scotland & thankfully came to Edinburgh the same day as Everton played Hibs. I had read the rumours about Rooney but didn't know what he looked like.

Arrived at Easter Road a couple of minutes after kickoff, and tried to spot a 16-year old kid in a blue shirt, but was surprised to see this lad built as a boxer who was running the show for Everton, and it took me some time to realize that this was the little kid I've been reading about.

Not a pretty match though, 2-2 I think, and Unsworth (?) equalizing on a penalty.

PS: James (255), good point about Southampton, they have potential. I was quite impressed with them in the away match last year, thought we were lucky to get the draw then.

Ian Tunstead
19 Posted 07/10/2013 at 13:39:27
It's all coming back to me now, James, I think you are right. The shot that went over the bar was the first game of the season against Spurs. I think he did hit the bar against Bilbao. What a talent that boy was. He must've been one of the best 16-year-olds of all time.

I think we are definitely up there in the top 3 clubs in England for producing good quality youngsters over the past 10-15 years. Some players might not quite be Premier League standard. We seem to have a batch of players every couple of seasons that can play at a decent level and then every 3 or 4 years we produce a player who is good enough for the first team and usually good enough to play for England. It's not bad going. Certainly nothing to complain about.

Nick Entwistle
20 Posted 07/10/2013 at 13:56:31
The article puts a very positive spin on the academy.

Not many players have come through but that's due to the scouting range of the scouts being world wide.

You can't put 6 local lads in the side and expect it to compete, so the numbers are probably on par for the rest of the prem.

As for being our foundation? Maybe, when Rooney pays off the banks and others have helped bring in reinforcements. Kone anyone?

So actually no. Not our foundation, that will be Sky money for a considerable future.

Clive Rogers
21 Posted 07/10/2013 at 14:14:32
Could have sworn it was Smith. Memory must be playing tricks.
Nick Entwistle
22 Posted 07/10/2013 at 18:18:21
Smith had him on the bench for a game. That's my reccolection.
Ian Burns
23 Posted 07/10/2013 at 21:02:41
Quality scouts; quality coaching delivered by quality coaches that is what is needed and what I have been banging on about for years.

Give the boys an ongoing and relevant education; decent accommodation at a family club and convince them we have a record of giving youth a chance.

Surely RM has the right contacts to bring in a couple of REAL quality people who can do the job and keep our record going and indeed improving.

Sorry guys, on my soap box but I really feel this is so important to EFC to improve an already good academy.

Raymond Fox
24 Posted 07/10/2013 at 21:28:50
Spot on Ian 358.

Okay they're ex-Everton players, but I can't say that having Stubbs as an Under-21 coach inspires me much, I might be doing the guy a disservice, I don't know.

Play in the Premier League now relies more on skill than physicality so I would prefer a coach who was that sort of a player, not your typical British player of years gone by!

Harold Matthews
25 Posted 08/10/2013 at 03:29:28
Skills come from natural ability allied to good coaching and practice, practice, practice at an early age. By the time these boys reach the under 21s they are probably as skilful as they ever will be.

Their physical development will be overseen by specialists in that area but they will still be miles away from properly understanding football at a high standard professional level.

This is where Stubbs comes in and I believe it's an area where he excels. Unsworth also has the necessary attributes.

When Lundstram played a blinder several weeks ago, it was not his skills which impressed. It was his new found mental maturity. " He had suddenly grown up," observed Stubbs.

At that moment I decided that we had the right coach in the right place. He knows the game inside out and is very hard to please. Also, being very big on experience, he is continually trying to get promising youngsters a loan spell at a club where they are likely to get regular games.

OK, we might get the odd genius like Rooney who shoots straight to the top, but most lads get there gradually and our Academy is a great place for them to start.

Brian Waring
26 Posted 12/10/2013 at 14:05:20
I think with Martinez now in charge, we'll see a lot more of the young lads given a chance.

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