Academy is set to lose two more up-coming stars

03/07/2022 27comments  |  Jump to last

There is a tweeted report from inside the Academy that two of the brightest Under-18 prospects have rejected Scholarships offered by Everton, which means they will very likely be moving elsewhere to continue their development.

Highly rated left-back and England U17 international Ishe Samuels-Smith, 16, and Emilio Lawrence, also 16 and a Scotland U17 international forward, have reportedly rejected Scholarships that likely include promises of professional contracts when they reach 17.

This represents a huge blow to Everton and especially the revamped Academy system Kevin Thelwell is trying to put into place. But Everton are unfortunately no strangers to the challenge of keeping the best young players as they realize their potential having similarly lost Mohamed-Ali Cho and Tierry Small in recent years.

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This comes hot on yesterday's news that Mathew Mallon has signed his first professional contract after changing his mind about leaving the Academy. But that is counterbalanced by the confirmation that Rangers have enticed away another young 16-year-old from Everton's Academy in Cameron Bell, who has not yet played for Everton's Under-18s.


Reader Comments (27)

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Robert Tressell
1 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Really depressing news. Samuels-Smith looks the business. The classiest player in our academy out of everyone I've seen.

Not really seen much of Lawrence.

Phill Thompson
2 Posted 03/07/2022 at
This has been going around for a while now. Samuels-Smith in particular will be a big loss if he goes. We'll just have to wait and see, things should be clear in the next week or so.
Stu Darlington
3 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Is it that we are not treating these young players right, not giving them the hope and confidence that, with the right attitude and work ethic, they can make it as professional footballers, ie, massaging their egos a bit?

Or is it that they are being “got at”?

Either way, it needs sorting as this is the kind of young talent we can ill afford to lose.

Mike Keating
4 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Bad enough getting our best players cherry-picked by our rivals but more worrying is the news that our academy players don't want to stay either.

We've already lost one to Southampton and another this week to Rangers but now we hear two more of our most promising prospects are considering jumping ship.

Maybe they're getting their heads turned by the likes of Chelsea and Man City or the toxic atmosphere at Goodison is contaminating every level of the club.

Phill Thompson
5 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Stu #3, it can often be a complex mix of young heads being turned by money, grass is greener elsewhere, or an offer that's too attractive to turn down.

The attraction of Man City and Chelsea is that their academies are so good in terms of facilities, coaches etc that they are often regarded as a “finishing school”. They can say “Join us and we'll develop you to the next level, and if ultimately you don't make our first team, you'll be in demand from other clubs – just look at our track record.”

It looks today that 18-year-old Romeo Lavia is going from Man City to Southampton for £10 mill, they got him from Anderlecht 2 years ago at 16. Just one example.

If we can't compete with the likes of Man City and Chelsea, maybe we need to change tack and compete with the likes of Southampton, Leeds, and Aston Villa and snap up these players, for a fee, when they are 18.

Gary Jones
6 Posted 03/07/2022 at
If Thierry Small had stayed here last season, he'd have gotten game time with us. If Nkounkou hasn't progressed, Samuels-Smith would have a fighting chance too.

If they'd rather go take a chance at Man City or Chelsea, then good luck. The laws are there to prevent any tie-downs with children, so not much we can really do about it.

But, if you can't beat them, join them… the depressing thing is that, other than the young striker Francis Okoronkwo from Sunderland, I can't recall many “Everton snatch very exciting 16-year-old” headlines. Hopefully recent changes change it.

Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 03/07/2022 at
This news about Emilio Lawrence has been ongoing since the beginning of last season when Mr Benitez couldn't believe that Lewis Dobbin hadn't signed a professional contract and started talks on Dobbin getting his signature on a contract. At the same time, it became public knowledge that Lawrence was being hunted by Chelsea.

As Robert says @(1) lshe Samuels-Smith has huge potential, much more potential than Thierry Small, in my opinion, and we still haven't heard how much compensation Southampton are paying us for enticing Small away from us. Liverpool had to pay Fulham about £7M for enticing Elliot away from them.

I imagine Everton will get a lot for Lawrence; not sure about Samuels-Smith because I think he is still very young, 16?

I don't think Everton were at fault in not retaining Thierry Small, offering him very good terms but most likely he had a clued-up agent who got him a better deal from Southampton and more than likely this will be the case with Lawrence and Samuels-Smith.

I hope Everton get on the case with the clubs signing these two players and fight as hard as possible to get very good compensation for two outstanding talents.

I wouldn't blame Everton, but don't honestly know the facts, for losing these players but wised-up agents have got these players snubbing Everton for better offers. Although it must be said, at the moment, Everton are not a very attractive club to come to when the top clubs come calling for you.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Just reading what the kid who has just joined Rangers, Cameron Bell, has posted on the Echo website, and you do wonder if something isn't quite right behind the scenes?
John Kavanagh
10 Posted 03/07/2022 at
I think this just emphasises the growing divide between the Sky 6 and the rest. They can cherry-pick any youngsters they want nowadays and buy almost anyone they want from a non-Sky first team. It will prevent other clubs from developing their own teams and make us even less competitive in the future.

The Super League isn't that far away and anyone outside the Big 6 will effectively end up as mere practice run-outs for them to prepare for Champions League games in the meantime. The threat to the Premier League hasn't gone away – it's just developing out of the limelight, with the added assistance of FFP and VAR.

Michael Kenrick
11 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Yea, Tony, that was a little barbed message, to say the least!

"Nine years at this football club," said Bell. "Travelled the world with my best mates and beat the some of the best teams in the world. I was gonna put some of my goals on but thought there’d be too many you see.

"Some of the best moments of my life playing for this football club and wouldn’t change a single thing. Thanks to every person at @Everton that made me into the person and player that I am today.

"Hopefully things will return to the way they once was at the club soon enough. Gonna be strange not putting that kit on anymore but cannot wait for the next chapter.

"Thank you for everything @everton."

Billy Roberts
12 Posted 03/07/2022 at
If they want Southampton or Rangers before Everton, I don't want them.
Peter Mills
13 Posted 03/07/2022 at
Tony #9, Michael #11, I'm sorry, I'm not seeing anything barbed or sinister in the lad's statement.

He has posted effusive thanks to everyone at Everton. “Hopefully things will return to the way they once was”, if that is the supposed barb, is no more than any Evertonian would wish.

There is plenty amiss at the Club, let's not make up stuff.

Justin Doone
14 Posted 03/07/2022 at
If a 3, 4 or 5 of these players turn out to be of Premier League standard, then yes, we will be gutted.

But I'd be surprised and, in all honesty, if they're good enough to play for Man City or Chelsea, we would have lost them eventually.

Surely we are still due compensation?

Dupont Koo
15 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Given our chaotic setup previously and a complete lack of pathways to first-team football (Thierry Small's media exposure didn't help too), I wouldn't begrudge the 2 lads on making the switches – especially when an offer from Man City can represent a "Godfather Offer" for a lot of the lads and families out there.

Even if Thelwell goes all-out to try convincing these lads to stay, my reply if I were the lad (or parent of the lad) would be:

"What have you done and accomplished so far? At Wolves? At New York? That isn't even a proper football city! Whatever you are going to do here, I wish you the very best of luck! Thank you but no thanks!"

There is nothing else we can do with these two lads, but what we can do instead is to make sure this is only a "fool me once" case. The ball is now firmly in Thelwell's court to make sure there is no déjà vu in the future.

Alan J Thompson
16 Posted 04/07/2022 at
It would seem that they must be moving because of a better monetary offer as they can't seriously think it will improve their chances of making it through to the first team – unless of course they are in the same position at Everton.

Who can Everton boast? Anthony Gordon and Tom Davies in what, the last 5 years while Holgate and Calvert-Lewin have made it after being signed from other clubs.

I can't begrudge them the money, given they may not make it at Premier League level, but it does worry me that they may be chasing the money at aged 16 or 17.

Sam Hoare
17 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Very sad if these two both leave, especially Samuels-Smith who looks to have huge potential.

We have certainly snaffled away young players from clubs beneath us so perhaps this is “live by the sword, die by the sword” type stuff. The richest clubs continue to cherry-pick whoever they want.

Can't begrudge the kids and their families wanting to make the most money they can get but I wonder, if the academy had got more players in and around the first team over the last 5 years, whether that would make a difference? Possibly not.

Tony Abrahams
18 Posted 04/07/2022 at
We all see different things, Peter, and although I never said barbed, and the kid might have just been given a better offer from Glasgow Rangers, I still read it differently to you, mate!
Ian Bennett
19 Posted 04/07/2022 at
It tells you a lot of where youth players see Everton. Players would rather go Man City, Liverpool, Man Utd or Chelsea than us. Even ones who have been with us for the previous 8 or 9 years.

That will be down to more money, better quality coaching/experience, and if they don't make it – a better club launch pad into Premier League or Championship clubs.

We need to get some players through to the first team, and Thelwell needs to get a grip of it.

Brands can moan about a lot of things, but he did nothing in this area. No talented young South Americans pushed through the lower levels, and an academy that went to seed.

Danny O’Neill
20 Posted 04/07/2022 at
I think players at this age should be making footballing decisions, not financial ones.

As Alan says, it's not like Everton has been a place where young players coming up from the academy have a good statistical probability of playing. So I hope these are football decisions.

On that hope and assumption, an overhaul of the academy is much needed and by the sounds of it, is already in flight.

There are other factors that could be at play:

1. Upheaval and uncertainty throughout the club as we have gone through manager after manager, which will have affected the coaching regime. They will have felt the turbulence at first hand. Everton can't have been a good environment to be in over recent seasons as they were learning their trade.

2. Probably linked to point 1, but what I see as a disconnect between first team down to U23s down to youth. No end-to-end system in place to make the transition to more senior age groups and ultimately the first team smoother.

3. We have just changed the DoF, the manager (again) and Unsworth has left. Manager aside, these lads will have grown up with a management structure that has just been pulled and change is on its way. Do they feel part of that change?

I may be over-thinking, but a few things could be at play here. We need to give the new coaching establishment the time because change and implementing a coaching and playing system throughout the club won't happen overnight.

The language so far has been encouraging. But let's see that turn into action and outcomes. We finally need to remain calm and hold our nerve. Especially with youth development.

Phill Thompson
21 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Tony #18, re Cameron Bell. I read his comments differently, that he hopes the club will return to where they where re the Premier League.

Let's put this in perspective. He's played for Scotland 16/17 but never really made a mark at Everton. Our best Under-16s feature regularly in our Under-18s, Samuels- Smith, Lawrence, Sherif last season plus at least 4 more getting appearances. Bell never featured, earlier in the season he was told he wasn't getting a scholarship and he even had a trial with the RS, which I guess came to nothing.

Good luck to him at Rangers but, from all the reports, we have better U16s coming through into our U18s this season.

Tony Abrahams
22 Posted 04/07/2022 at
The more you read, the more you learn, Phill, and that definitely puts a different perspective on things. I did think after reading it again (I thought he was just a cocky fucker the first time I read it. He might be?) that by not being able to put all his goals up, because they were to many, he might be having a dig at someone who doesn't seem to rate him?

This is another example of why I prefer talking to writing, because there's a lot less chance of getting crossed wires, when you speak to someone verbally! It's why I sometimes call Michael, “literal Mike” but I'm sure he knows I'm just returning the verbal blasts, that he often used to give me!

Mike Hayes
23 Posted 04/07/2022 at
At the minute, we are a basket-case club who are paying millions a year for players who can't be arsed to play, yet get picked, week-in & week-out – what sort of incentive is that for any aspiring youngster wanting a career in football, especially with us?
Joe McMahon
24 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Mike @23, personally I would change "at the minute" to reflect the many years.
Dave Abrahams
25 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Phill (21), I know the name, Cameron Bell, but couldn't recall seeing him playing for any of the younger Everton teams. I just googled him, he has played one game for the Scottish U17's, no mention of any games he played for Everton.

However there is another Cameron Bell, aged 35, who played for a few Scottish teams including 3 years at Glasgow Rangers, I wonder if this is a relation of the lad who has just signed for Rangers, the youngster is listed as a Scottish citizen.

Dave Abrahams
26 Posted 04/07/2022 at
To add to the above @ 25, Cameron is listed as a defender so maybe he was having a laugh at himself about not putting all his goals up!!
Brendan McLaughlin
27 Posted 04/07/2022 at
Dave #26,

That's how read it. Your Tony was right – the lad was having a dig – but I think it was at his own expense.

Tony Abrahams
28 Posted 04/07/2022 at
That looks exactly like what he was doing, Brendan, which shows me he's not a cocky kid, and people should do a bit more research sometimes before they post!

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