The exuberance of youth

by   |   17/05/2018  9 Comments  [Jump to last]

After the dust has settled on what has been an important few days in Everton's history — finally getting rid of Sam Allardyce from our club — we as Evertonians have the opportunity to look forward with optimism about our future under a new manager, with a new Director of Football already in place, and a new board at the helm.

With this in mind, it got me thinking about the future and the generation of kids that we seem have been buying over the last few years and whether folks had a view on who would be the next breakout star into the first team? I was never a fan of the recruitment policy of Steve Walsh (if 'policy' was even the right word!) but some very vaunted youngsters were acquired by Everton over the last couple of years and I'd love to know what's happened to a number of them and what everyone's view is on their potential to make it into the first team in the next season or two.

We have been crying out for years for a decent replacement for Leighton Baines to challenge him and eventually take over from him — and he isn't getting any younger. We bought that Lewis Gibson kid from Newcastle who I've not heard about since — how is he doing? Why has he never been mentioned as a potential replacement for Baines? Garbutt was mentioned loads, but we never hear about Gibson.

There was also Josh Bowler (QPR) and Dennis Adeniran (Fulham) who were bought in the last 12 months, among many others. Does anyone have a view on how these kids are doing and whether any of them may make the grade?

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Reader Comments (9)

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Michael Kenrick
1 Posted 17/05/2018 at 23:23:08
FWIW, here are the appearances (sub) and goals stats for the upper tier of Under-23 players last season, from 22 Premier League 2 games and 13 various cup games played at that level:

 Bassala Sambou	15 (5)	 3	8 (3)	2
Lewis Gibson 15 (2) 0 8 (1) 0
Morgan Feeney 15 (1) 0 6 (1) 1
Anthony Evans 14 (2) 4 8 (4) 1
Matthew Foulds 14 (1) 1 7 (1) 0
Nathan Markelo 12 (2) 0 10 (1) 0
Mateusz Hewelt 11 (0) 0 6 (0) 0
Beni Baningime 11 (0) 1 4 (0) 0
Josh Bowler 10 (3) 0 6 (2) 0
Harry Charsley 10 (2) 1 6 (0) 0
Luke Garbutt 10 (0) 3 9 (0) 0
Denny Adeniran 10 (0) 0 7 (0) 1
Fraser Hornby 9 (4) 3 6 (1) 0
Conor Grant 7 (2) 0 5 (0) 0
Nate Broadhead 6 (5) 0 6 (0) 2
Alex Denny 6 (3) 0 6 (0) 1
Gethin Jones 6 (1) 0 2 (0) 0
Jose Baxter 5 (4) 0 3 (4) 0
Con Ouzounidis 5 (1) 2 5 (0) 0

Mike Gaynes
2 Posted 18/05/2018 at 00:32:43

Gibson is not yet 18 and is therefore is some distance away.

Adeniran is 19 and Rhino says he trained impressively with the senior side last fall, but was injured in December and lost the rest of the U-23 season.

Bowler just turned 19 and Rhino says he came into his own during the second half of the season.

TW contributors who watched the U-23s this year were particularly complimentary about attacking mid Antony Evans, also 19, who captained the side before he too was halted by an injury.

Alan J Thompson
3 Posted 18/05/2018 at 05:17:30
Michael (#1);

Leaving Baxter out as a special case having previously been with Everton, is it 8 of the players you mention for whom Everton have paid another club a transfer fee?
Jon Withey
4 Posted 18/05/2018 at 12:28:43
Seems to be the loan players that are generally closer to the first team – Onyekuru, Lookman, Dowell, Robinson, Connolly, Williams.

Although Baningime is obviously close and I thought Feeney played well when I saw him.

I was curious which scout got Stones – Tony Henry, who we lost to West Ham a few years ago, and then he was done for racism.

Our scouting has been pretty poor since then really.

Michael Kenrick
5 Posted 18/05/2018 at 15:58:35
Alan, I think you're right: eight or nine of that list are (from memory) imports rather than locals; fees paid often "undisclosed".

A distant cry from recent years when they would almost all be homegrown locals. Sign of the times???

Lyndon Lloyd
6 Posted 18/05/2018 at 17:53:02
Andrew, although Lewis Gibson can fill in at left back, he is naturally a centre-half and appears to have cemented a place alongside Morgan Feeney in the U23s team. Antonee Robinson is said to be a potential replacement for Baines long-term if we don't sign someone else more experienced this summer.

After a slow start that was disrupted by injury, Josh Bowler seemed to really come into his own towards the end of the season so that's really encouraging. Adeniran has been solid from what I can gather without grabbing many headlines. Then, as Mike (2) points out, Antony Evans has, by all accounts, also been making really good progress.

Danny Broderick
7 Posted 18/05/2018 at 19:26:01
There's too much of a gap between academy level and the Premier League. The reserve league is not what it was, and very few players go into the first team directly from the academy now.

These players need to be sent out on loan to learn their trade. Even the likes of Kenny, Calvert-Lewin and Davies would benefit from a season in the Championship. Look at the progress reportedly made by Lookman – he's learnt a new culture, has broken into the first team at Leipzig and made several assists and scored several goals.

These lads need to develop away from the pressures that come from playing for a team in the top 8 in the Premier League.

Kevin Prytherch
8 Posted 30/05/2018 at 20:24:14
From various reports,

Under-23s on loan...

Browning – kept out Lamina alone, our £18 million former target, for parts of the season. Rated very highly by Sunderland fans. Might just make it as a back up.

Galloway – polar opposite. Barely played and surely chance has gone now.

Pennington – surprised he got a new deal, very hit and miss for a poor Leeds side and struggled to get in the team for large parts of the season. Did finish the season strongly at right back.

Robinson – played around 40 times after a slow start and broke into the USA team. Definitely one to watch out for.

Williams – regular for Barnsley, either as a holding midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 or on his own in a 4-1-4-1. Model of consistency. Didn't make a name, but didn't make mistakes to get dropped. We turned down a £1million bid for him.

Connolly – played midfield for Wigan last year so was surprised to see him at left back for the Under-20s. Grew and grew at Ipswich, he also expressed concerns about the lack of contact from Everton.

Dowell – 10 goals and 5 assists would be a pleasing return for a number 10, he did this in the first few months then tailed off. Got a glowing report from Karanka.


We know about Baningime, Kenny, Holgate, Vlasic, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin...

Gibson - only 17 and ended the season captaining the Under-23s, give him at least 3 years and we might have a gem.

Feeney – Unsworth can't speak highly enough of him, opposite to Keane in the fact that he is a talker and organises the defence around him.

Markelo – young right back I think who, like Gibson, stepped up for the Under-23s towards the end of the season.

Bowler - again I think he's only 17, started with the Under-18s, ended with the Under-23s. A little exuberant at times by some reports but tricky, fast and can beat a man. Maybe Lookman but 3 years younger.

Evans – captained the Under-23s between Feeney and Gibson. Didn't get many reviews on loan but was promising by all accounts when he came back. At 20 (I think) he's now one of the more senior Under-23 players so could do with an impact soon.

Don't know much about Adeniran, Sambou is a handful but you would expect more goals at this level, and Hornby seems to have impressed after being promoted from the Under-18s.

Steve Ferns
9 Posted 30/05/2018 at 20:42:18
What about Anthony Gordon, Kevin? Bit harsh to build the lad up too much, but I really, really liked what I saw. He missed the end of the season with injury (I think).

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