Is Liam Walsh the "special talent"?


Paul Traill 29/07/2015 30comments  |  Jump to last
Youd have thought that a coat with a tee-shirt underneath would have been more than enough to stave off the cold in the summer but I should have known better. It turned out to be a night so nippy I actually required a half-time Bovril to keep me warmed up.

Being from the Wirral, I figured I might as well head along to see the U-21s against Tranmere Rovers. My Rovers supporting mate picked me up, along with a few of his fellow Rovers fans, and on we went to Prenton Park, calling in for a quick pint at the pub before heading into the fairly sparsly attended ground.

If youre anything like me, youve heard of a few of the names in the U-21s though dont know what most of them look like. I did recognise Ryan Ledson and David Henen and was particularly keen to see how they got on. Antonee Robinson and Matthew Pennington both began the game also following their appearances at Dundee the previous night.

Everton began fairly well and got themselves ahead on 13 minutes with a slick counter-attacking goal which saw Henen play in Donohue. His shot was saved by Davies but the lively Tom Davies had made up good ground to support the attack and poked home the rebound.

Everton were doing OK and seemed fairly comfortable with all the hallmarks of Roberto Martinezs style of playing the ball out from the back prevalent. We even conceded following a familiarly terrible defensive mix up which presented an opportunity for Margetts which he duly despatched. This seemed to turn the tide in the match and the older, experienced Tranmere Rovers players seemed to gain ascendancy and took the lead on 41 minutes when Stockton headed in quite easily from a corner.

Our young goalkeeper Mateusz Hewelt was having a game to forget and will certainly need to work on his catching I would suggest. The young Pole contrived to try and punch everything instead and had a tough evening. The injury suffered to David Henen nine minutes from the break also rocked Everton back a little as we no longer had that pacey outlet up front when he was replaced by the much taller figure of Callum Dyson. Half-time Everton trailed 1-2, meanwhile my friend Colins two Rovers supporting chums had already given up and retired back to the pub.

Right at the beginning of the second half, Donohue almost levelled the game after gliding past a few players before stroking the ball just past the post, however just four minutes later Tranmere had effectively sealed the game when a good ball in found Stockton who had shown good movement to get beyond our backline. He dared Hewelt to come and greet him which he did, before Stockton squared the ball for Margetts to score his second of the night.

Everton were distinctly second best at least until Liam Walsh and Harry Charsley were introduced on 63 minutes, with Liam Walsh in particular impressing me. When we had the chance to chat with Roberto Martinez in May he spoke of a special talent within the ranks and I just wonder if this could be the kid he was referring to. Liam Walsh is a local boy from Huyton and Im loathe to put pressure on a lad of only 18 years of age, but he really looked the part to me.

The players always looked to give him the ball. He has very quick feet and an eye for a pass and moves the ball very intelligently. He is slight. Perhaps has a bit more growing to do but certainly impressed me the most and it seemed to bring more out of some of the other players.

Robinson was all of a sudden galloping forward confidently whilst Jack Bainbridge also seemed competent marauding forward with the ball at the back. Alas Everton didnt get back into the game but Walsh came close with a free kick that was tipped over the bar, and put in a lovely through ball for Conor Grant, whose low shot trickled just wide.

I could be way off course of course though only time will tell.

Players who stood out: Antonee Robinson, Tom Davies, Jack Bainbridge and of course Liam Walsh. I would like to see more of David Henen as he looked lively if unspectacular before coming off injured.

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Reader Comments (30)

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Neil Shanahan
1 Posted 30/07/2015 at 04:38:49
I would fully agree with you from seeing the young lads play Bohemians here in Dublin. Walsh replaced Francisco Junior and looked a cut above to me. Henen actually looked shockingly ordinary during that game. Gueyesque to be honest. Our back four also looked terrible with any ball into the box. Do not expect a Wayne Rooney coming through. He's not there. I hope I'm wrong.
Joseph Terrence
2 Posted 30/07/2015 at 05:08:37
Thanks for the report, Paul! It's nice to hear what fellow readers see in the younger lads as detailed reports for the U21s aren't exactly commonplace.
Brent Stephens
3 Posted 30/07/2015 at 06:36:53
Ta for report, Paul. I’ve been impressed with Walsh and Davies. Also like Donohue when I’ve seen him -- how did you rate him?
Bill Griffiths
4 Posted 30/07/2015 at 07:27:21
I watched their game against Wrexham and thought like Neil that the back four struggled against their more experienced and physical opponents especially high balls into the box.

Like you, Paul, I was impressed by Liam Walsh who was very lively and always demanding the ball, reminded me of Alan Ball a bit in his attitude. Again being small and slight he struggled a bit against much bigger physical opponents.

Though Henen showed touches, I thought he looked very ordinary.

My standout players were Antonee Robinson, Michael Donohue, Kieran Dowell and Ryan Ledson.

Jim Lloyd
5 Posted 30/07/2015 at 07:34:05
It looks good for Everton with a number of young lads coming through. I was looking at the Dundee match the other night and another young lad struck me as "special talent."

I thought Kieron Dowell was superb. I hope you’re right Paul, and Liam Walsh is a special talent because it looks to me that we might have two!

Early days indeed but Dowell was excellent. He seemed to have so much time on the ball and his awareness of what was happening and ability to spread killer passes was great to watch. I think I heard Sharpy say he was 17. If so, and (big 'if', I know) he continues to develop, then this lad could become our "Number 10".

Dave Williams
6 Posted 30/07/2015 at 09:38:53
Last year, I was talking to an Everton great at a function and asked about Ledson. He said that Ledson was good but the two to watch were Walsh and Dowell -- both very highly rated by Roberto and his staff.
Shane Corcoran
7 Posted 30/07/2015 at 09:50:28
Good to hear Paul.

Where is Sam Byrne these days?

Dave Abrahams
8 Posted 30/07/2015 at 10:21:54
Thanks for the report Paul, some good players there, well spotted Bill Griffiths regarding Liam Walsh always demanding the ball, more importantly he knows what to do with it when he gets it, always at least one move ahead of the other players. He gets upset with his fellow players and isn't afraid to let them know it as well, he also gets upset with himself when he makes an error.

Long way to go, the hard work will not bother him, just needs the bit of luck that every player needs, like you Paul I don't like to go overboard about young players but I'm keeping my fingers crossed or this young lad.

David Hallwood
9 Posted 30/07/2015 at 10:44:34
Thanks for that Paul; good read and its always nice to see how the young lads are doing. But like you treat all ’special talent’ or the new Rooney/Ronaldo/Messi with extreme caution.

At Everton we’ve got more reason to be sceptical because of the amount of players that burst on the scene only to disappear as quickly as they came; think of Cadamateri, Jeffers, Kenny, Rodwell, even James Vaughan although injuries put paid to his career.

But I will keep an eye out for him; fingers crossed, local lad -- what’s not to like?

Liam Reilly
10 Posted 30/07/2015 at 10:51:07
Great Report, Paul.

Interesting to me that you didn’t mention Ledson as a stand out performer; as I was hopeful this would be a breakthrough year for this lad. But, as you say, perhaps we’ve all been focused on the wrong direction.

Why is he only coming on as sub though in these games; has he just been promoted from the Under-18s?

Gavin Johnson
11 Posted 30/07/2015 at 11:57:30
Thanks for the report Paul. I think we’ve all become preoccupied with Henen and Ledson as the players to breakthrough and while they look full of promise.

I’m starting to think Dowell will be the one we will see more of over the next couple of seasons. I can’t believe he’s only 17.

I don’t really know that much about Walsh but will keep an eye out for his progress from now on in.

Andrew Ellams
13 Posted 30/07/2015 at 12:24:05
Dowell looked very good when he came on against Krasnodar. I think Ledson will make the breakthrough too. Brendan Galloway looks the best of the youngsters by a country mile though.
Tom Bowers
14 Posted 30/07/2015 at 12:24:23
Everton have had many good youngsters over the years and only a handful have made the grade and by that I mean consistently good at Premier League level.

Like other clubs, it is difficult for younger players to break through simply because management will usually select the big transfer or big wage players first; if a young prospect gets an opportunity, he is expected to set the world on fire immediately and if not he is sent back to the bench or the ’’reserves’’. This is what happens at Chelski and many of the young players are sent out on loan all over the place, hardly ever getting an opportunity to progress.

I am sure many youngsters would sooner have been with a smaller club where they can get a game every week and show their abilities regularly giving them the opportunity to advance their careers.

Fran Mitchell
15 Posted 30/07/2015 at 12:53:56
In Ledson, Dowell, Galloway, Browning, Walsh and McAleny (albeit the latter being a late bloomer) we seem to have some 5/6 players who could make an impact over the next 2 seasons.

This could be a real boost to our team, and makes it more important than ever to hold on to our core (see Stones).

Ideally, these players will be phased in to take the places of Osman, Barry and Pienaar without too much pressure.

If we suceed in bringing them through, then we can focus our transfer funds on key players rather than squad fillers.

Liam Mckeown
16 Posted 30/07/2015 at 12:56:30
Great report. Nice to see so many of the youngsters doing well. Liam is my nephew so nice to see him stepping up and playing well and getting a run in the 21s. Last season he played for both the 18s and 21s when their respective fixtures didn’t clash.

He started a few of these pre season games and put in a shift against Southport so he was given a rest against Tranmere.
Sam Hoare
17 Posted 30/07/2015 at 14:07:03
I hope these players get handled right. Both 17 I think. Shame one of them isn't a few years older and further on as we could really use some more creativity in the team.

Suspect one if not both if them might be out on loan this year. Possibly to Spain...

Barry Pearce
18 Posted 30/07/2015 at 14:32:20
Dowell and Walsh do seem to be the two names that people who go to watch the youngsters play, flag up as being the stand-outs.
Jay Harris
19 Posted 30/07/2015 at 15:39:13
Thanks for the report Paul.

It is always interesting to know about the kid's development.

My only concern in your report is the inability to deal with crosses which is becoming a common thread of Martinez led tactics.

Shane Corcoran
20 Posted 30/07/2015 at 19:28:31
Liam #16, with yours and his names I assume there's an Irish connection?

Should we notify Martin and Roy now before it's too late?

Liam Mckeown
21 Posted 30/07/2015 at 19:49:33
No Irish connection but his grandparents are Italian so he's eligible for them!
Phill Thompson
22 Posted 31/07/2015 at 09:43:32
Roberto is such a tease with his "special talent". He really seems to have promoted Dowell quickly so clearly rates him, so it could be him. I got the impression at the time though that it was an unknown, probably an U16 whom we protect from the spotlight at that age.

If so then it is likely to be Antony Evans, 16 , first year scholar, 5 goals in 4 U21 games and to even be playing at U21 level at his age marks him as a talent. Just how special we have yet to see, but very highly rated by those who saw him at U16 level.

Peter Gorman
23 Posted 31/07/2015 at 12:21:12
I believe THE special talent is Antony Evans. I also believe Dowell, Walsh, Ledson, Charsley are all special talents. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if every single one of the young crop broke into the first team; they all have the talent and only their application will decide in the end.
Peter Gorman
24 Posted 31/07/2015 at 12:28:06
Going back to Walsh, someone on another thread compared him to a young Leon Osman. I for one consider that praise indeed and if true then we all can look forward to his career at Everton. If those training clips from Austria are anything to go by, he is a cheeky chap to boot.

I still think Ledson will be a good bet as a first team player simply because he is so focused. The kid is a born winner, I remember thinking how cool he was taking the first penalty for England in the final against the Dutch. Jonjoe Kenny also starred in that team but, like Walsh, could do with drinking more milk.

Andy Crooks
25 Posted 01/08/2015 at 01:24:23
Paul, Your report has reminded me of just how good your stuff is. A real supporters experience for those who can't get to the game. Let's hope you've talking about a great start next week.

The ToffeeWeb match reporting is second to none.

Liam Mckeown
26 Posted 01/08/2015 at 07:39:41
Liam Walsh will be in today's squad against Leeds. Hopefully he will have a good run out with the first team.
Phil Roberts
27 Posted 01/08/2015 at 11:08:19
Peter Gorman has it right. It is attitude that marks out the special players from the rest.

By-and-large the skill difference on players getting to this level is between 99.0 and 99.9 on a scale of 100. It is how they apply themselves, how much they want it, and how much they are prepared to not be "lads growing up" or being satisfied with a couple of hundred thousand before they are 22 which they can bet or drink away.

So that will be why Ryan Ledson could make it and the likes of a Jose Baxter or a Billy Kenny never did. Maturity comes to most of us, eventually, but, as Billy would probably agree, too late for some.

Dave Abrahams
28 Posted 01/08/2015 at 11:38:22
Peter (24) I liked your two items on young players but don’t worry about Walsh or Kenny having to drink a lot of milk. They both have plenty of bottle, not scared in a battle.

Think of Ball, Collins, Bremner, Giles etc, they never wilted when the game got harder. I'm not saying Jonjoe and Liam are as good as them players but the physicality won’t go against them.

Nicholas Ryan
29 Posted 01/08/2015 at 16:58:27
On the subject of whether teenagers do, or don't, go on to make the grade: Years ago, my cricket team wanted to sign an overseas professional.

I was asked to go and view a young Australian U-19 bowler, who was available. I reported back, that he was very fast, but wild and undisciplined, and that he would never amount to anything.

We didn't sign him; which was a pity, as his name was Brett Lee !

Dave Abrahams
30 Posted 01/08/2015 at 17:13:06
Nicholas, you can’t win them all!!!!
Nicholas Ryan
31 Posted 01/08/2015 at 21:52:16
Dave, 30, Just to show that it works BOTH ways; some years later, I DID sign an unknown 18 year-old South African, who nobody had heard of, or rated, called Faf Du Plessis!

The serious point is, that the progression from promising youngster to 1st team regular, seems to have as much to do with desire and discipline, as it does with raw talent.

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