Charlie Whitaker signs a new 3-year deal

01/11/2022 40comments  |  Jump to last

Exciting midfielder Charlie Whitaker is the latest Academy player to sign a new professional contract at Everton, agreeing a 3-year deal that is set to run through June 2025.

The 19-year-old has worked his way up through the age groups at the Everton Academy to become an essential performer for the Under-21s in the last few seasons. He has already scored six goals and earned four assists to help the young Blues make an impressive start to the campaign.

“I’m delighted with this new contract,” he told evertontv. “It’s a proud moment for me and my family. They’ve been working hard behind the scenes to support me and now I can focus on the future.

“I’ve worked hard [for this extension] and I’m grateful for the club for showing faith in me.”

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Whitaker credits Under-21s coach Paul Tait with developing the attacking side of his game which has caught the eye of Everton fans who track the progress of young players through the Academy at Finch Farm.

Whitaker worked with Tait extensively at Under-18 level and the two have now been reunited with the youngster's move up to the U21s.

“It’s been perfect working with Taity again,” Whitaker explained. “The manager’s tactics help me exactly how I want to play. You’re given the freedom to try things and play without fear. [He] and Keith [Southern] believe in me which has been great.”

“It’s been a massive learning curve for me training with the first team, too, Whitaker said of his recent opportunities to train with Frank Lampard's senior squad.

“The tempo is completely different. It’s faster and more intense. It’s been great experience that I’ve learnt a lot from so far.

As a kid, Frank Lampard was someone I looked up to and to learn from him now has been terrific.

“When you see players like Tom Davies and Anthony Gordon, it shows the pathway is there. That’s why I want to stay at Everton. It’s something to work towards and a goal I’ve set for the future.

“For this season, my aim is to get as many minutes as I can with the Under-21s and try to progress in the EFL Trophy.”

Everton Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, added: “Charlie has shown his undoubted talent throughout his journey in our Academy and we are pleased he has committed his future to Everton.

“He has been a key part of the Under-21s’ excellent start to the season under Paul Tait and, having had a taste within our First-Team setup, we hope that provides him with all the motivation he needs to become a regular in the future.”


Reader Comments (40)

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Kevin Prytherch
1 Posted 01/11/2022 at 18:20:52
If anyone thinks that Unsworth and Kenwright still don't hold the power in this club then this is further proof that they do.

Handing out 3-year contracts to 18-year-olds who haven't even played 10 Premier League games yet is ludicrous. If he isn't the complete footballer by now, then he will only ever be Championship at best.

Luke Garbutt Mk 2…

Brent Stephens
2 Posted 01/11/2022 at 18:25:47
Kevin, I thought Unsworth had moved on?
Phill Thompson
3 Posted 01/11/2022 at 18:33:03
Haha, nice one, Kevin, I'm sure somebody will bite, unusually for you, too many mistakes there.😀

Well done, Charlie, well deserved. I was posting in another thread how pleased I was that he's bounced back from his injuries to show his talent again, 5 goals in his past 5 games, two against City plus two assists if you count City's keeper failing to hold his shot, allowing Price to score.

It'll be interesting to see if he gets loaned out in January or remains with the U21s. He offers something different from Cannon as a forward, maybe closer to Dobbin in style.

Danny O’Neill
4 Posted 01/11/2022 at 18:34:20
Good luck, young lad.

I've read and heard very good things about you.

Tony Everan
6 Posted 01/11/2022 at 19:03:36
Delighted one of our best youngsters has signed this 3-year contract. It's excellent news for the club and the player.

There's a sprinkling of stardust on Whitaker and Mills; now they're both signed up longer term, it will be exciting seeing them develop further.

It'll be interesting to see if they go on the loan route in a year or two or whether they are good enough to break into the first team. These two have a chance to go direct.

Robert Tressell
7 Posted 01/11/2022 at 19:23:49
Excellent news. He's certainly got ability. People have mentioned Adrian Heath as a comparison. That's going back too far for me. Maybe Barmby.

If he keeps delivering in the U21s, then it'll be interesting to see what he does on a loan. However, a foreign loan (like Branthwaite) might offer more than the lower leagues for a technical player.

Dupont Koo
8 Posted 01/11/2022 at 00:12:21
If the right Football League Club (ideally League One, but likely League Two) with the right opportunity will come in January (allowing Charlie to start as many games as possible till June, à la Lewis Warrington at Tranmere earlier this year), then by all means we should send him out (cue James Vaughan calling and texting up and down the Football League furiously).

Charlie has spent 2 years in the Academy teams and it is time for him to play against real pros every week. He is a technical player and a potential full-time No 10, so James also needs to find a club that can "accommodate" Charlie into their tactical set up as well.

(Robert, I agreed with you that a foreign club might be a better fit for someone like Charlie because he sure will get some big culture shock playing against rough centre-backs in the Football League.)

Nonetheless, happy to lock Charlie up early and get him underway under the development pathway set forth by Thelwell.

David Hayes
9 Posted 02/11/2022 at 09:09:01
Still struggling to remember when Championship or League One loans returned a Premier League ready young player.

This outdated, park football level thinking confuses me. It's not 1970 as far as I know. Look at Chelsea's or Man City's loan policies. Premier League level bottom-half clubs to find out if they will step up.

Oh wait – we are a bottom-half Premier League club, that they know already. If Frank thinks they are ready then train and work with the first team till a decision on contracts and squad is made.

Danny O’Neill
10 Posted 02/11/2022 at 09:26:45
Oh there's a challenge, David.

Without going all Google and Wikipedia, Seamus Coleman and David Beckham spring to mind. I need to look to see if there are more recent ones.

Brian Harrison
11 Posted 02/11/2022 at 09:31:13
Big Nev went out on loan as did Leon Osman. It didn't seem to do their careers any harm.

I think the question is why the clubs thought it was beneficial to send the players out on loan? And, just as important, how did the players embrace being sent out on loan?

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 02/11/2022 at 09:34:05
Leon Osman. Good spot Brian. They loved him at Derby and rated him highly.
Kevin Prytherch
13 Posted 02/11/2022 at 09:58:51

Harry Kane went to Leyton Orient, Millwall, Norwich and Leicester before making it with Spurs.

Mason Mount went to Vitesse and Derby County.

Reece James went to Wigan Athletic.

Jordan Pickford went to Darlington, Alfreton, Burton, Carlisle, Bradford and Preston.

Ben Chilwell went to Huddersfield.

Anthony Gordon went to Preston.

It can work if managed correctly.

Tony Everan
14 Posted 02/11/2022 at 10:16:23
Our own highest scorer for the last 20 years was loaned out to West Bromwich from Chelsea.
Tony Abrahams
15 Posted 02/11/2022 at 10:30:15
I thought it was you who was trying to wind people up, Kevin, but it looks like David has beaten you at your own game, mate!

I watched Dobbin playing for Derby County last night, Phill, and I hope playing league football now starts to bring the kid on.

He looked dangerous: one driving run got them a penalty (which I'm sure he was playing for); another surging 60-yard run nearly resulted in him scoring a worldie; and he also cut in dangerously beating his man with a curling shot just missing the far post in the second period.

He also made some mistakes, losing possession in dangerous areas on a couple of occasions, but he's there to learn and gain experience, and he was definitely one of Derby's better players last night.

David Hayes
16 Posted 02/11/2022 at 11:41:08
In my previous post, I was referring to Everton youth or Academy players going on loan as prescribed and then returning to Everton ready for the Premier League.

Out of the multitude in the last 10 years or so, I've heard Anthony Gordon mentioned as one. So the percentage is probably under 5% and that's generous. So how is that a proven successful system?

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 02/11/2022 at 11:49:03
Tony (@15),

James Maddison of Leicester City is another who went on loan from Norwich to Aberdeen, came back and helped them to win promotion to the Premier League before joining Leicester with Everton among a few clubs clamouring to sign him. He will leave Leicester for big money in the near future.

Very glad to see Dobbin getting games from the start at Derby. I hope he comes back here to put pressure on the strikers and start scoring for us.

See Adam Mayor got a standing ovation, for Morecambe, when he was substituted just before the end of that game versus Derby, another step on the ladder for Adam hopefully?

Danny O’Neill
18 Posted 02/11/2022 at 11:50:46
I think you've opened an interesting debate, David.

Lukaku, now there is a good shout.

I guess, David, you could apply that theory to football in general. How many kids enter the system and make it?

I don't know but it's probably lower than 5% (or lower than lower than 5%). I suppose it depends what we consider 'make it'. Premier League? Professional Leagues? The 6th or 7th tiers, which are a decent standard?

The loan system can work just as can a decent coaching system. But the breaks and successes are few and far between if you look at the sheer volume of players in the system. And obviously there are many other factors as to why players do or don't make it.

I'm pleased for Charlie Whitaker. I hope he goes on to have a good career in the game.

Derek Knox
19 Posted 02/11/2022 at 12:35:21
We certainly have a few seemingly good young lads coming through, Charlie, Lewis Warrington, Stanley Mills, Reece Welch to name but four. I'm sure there are many more but showing promise is quite a way from making the breakthrough. I obviously hope they stay with us if they all turn into superstars. Hang about, a pig has just flown over my neighbour's roof !
Fran Mitchell
20 Posted 02/11/2022 at 13:16:52
Currently in the league,: Harvey Barnes, Mason Mount, Anthony Gordon, Jacob Ramsay, James Maddison, Jack Grealish and Ivan Toney are all players who quite clearly benefitted from getting loan time at a lower level.

There are multiple other examples of players who benefitted from starting a career lower down and getting game time before moving to the Premier League.

Bill Gall
21 Posted 02/11/2022 at 13:25:32
Over the years, there are a number of clubs that have had a number of potential young players who were tipped for stardom in their youth teams, and their success to start in a first-team was limited.

Was it because of attitude or is it that there is such tremendous pressure in the Premier League and that managers demand instant success, and that limits their progress, and so young players are loaned out?

The Premier League brings in players from all over the world and young players who throughout their careers have usually played with the same players and systems in their youth teams and, unless they are exceptional, find it difficult to adapt with experienced professionals.

I think that we may get more success from our youth players in the future, as the DoF along with Lampard are trying playing the same system throughout the academy to the first team that may make it easier to adapt.

Phill Thompson
22 Posted 02/11/2022 at 13:46:39
Tony #15, cheers for the Dobbin update, that's very encouraging.

I've started watching the Arsenal documentary All or Nothing. In the first episode, Arteta says to Emile Smith-owe something like “You're going on loan but I won't be watching you. I know that you are good footballer who will play for Arsenal, so I don't need reports on your football skill. They will tell me about your attitude and your ability to adapt etc.”

That's a big part of a loan, can they adapt to new environments, learn new things, have the right attitude?

Gordon's loan was a poor one in terms of his game time, but I'd say he came back from it with a great attitude to improve his game when many had written him off.

Tony Abrahams
23 Posted 02/11/2022 at 13:47:36
I might be a bit more critical of my own, Dave, (Thanks to you - possibly) and I've always felt that Adam usually left too much out on the pitch, but he ran and ran last night, and it was mostly dirty defensive work, so he deserved his standing ovation imo, simply because he played like a very honest 18-year-old kid.

The Morecambe goal was scored by a kid named Jenson Weir. I didn't realise he's the son of Davie Weir, and on loan from Brighton. This might have been one of the reasons his father never came to Everton last season, when there was rumours he'd been offered a job?

But this might have also been because he knew how bad of a state the club was in, and probably knew that Rafa Benitez wouldn't last at Everton, maybe?

Dave Abrahams
24 Posted 02/11/2022 at 14:03:17
Tony (23),

I'm glad Adam had a good game, criticism can help a player develop, as long as it is constructive, no use moaning for the sake of it.

Adam might be listening to you, not just the praise but other points about his game. I gave you a bit of stick, at times. I realised praise never went to your head, so I let others do that and I mostly just watched you as you developed. Hopefully Adam is starting to reap some of the hard work he is putting in.

Danny O’Neill
25 Posted 02/11/2022 at 14:16:18
I've never met him, Tony, but we talked about Adam only yesterday. Really pleased for him. Great stuff.

As you always say, it's not just about ability. Fitness, attitude, desire, commitment and hard work. Glad it's coming good for him and that you're proudly beaming like an L4 cat.

We should all accept criticism, Dave, as long as it is constructive and corrective. It helps you learn and improve. As a footballer but also as a person.

Best of best wishes to Adam and I hope he pushes on with his development and progression.

Phill Thompson
26 Posted 02/11/2022 at 14:23:51
Tony, I had a look at the Derby highlights following your comments, and indeed it was an amazing 60 yard run from Dobbin. And he can be credited with an assist for the Derby goal.

I noticed that ex-Everton youth player, Kieran Phillips, was No 23 for Morecambe, on loan from Huddersfield. He suffered a horrendous injury when he was 16, so it's good to see him hopefully making a career in the game.

Tony Abrahams
27 Posted 02/11/2022 at 14:51:20
Interesting, Phill, Kieran Phillips is currently keeping last year's leading goal-scorer, Cole Stockton, out of the side, and he's another player who is full of honest graft. He made a couple of half-chances for himself out of nothing, and is probably getting picked because he's more mobile than Stockton, who probably isn't helped because he's just feeding off scraps.

The loan system means that Morecambe have two young players from Premier League clubs. Weir from Brighton and a kid called Kaleb Watts from Southampton, whilst Derby had Dobbin and another young Brighton player called Ashley Roberts.

If you watched the highlights, Phill, you must have been impressed with the Morecambe keeper saving two penalties. I believe he is the son of the old Middlesbrough and Blackburn player, Stuart Ripley.

Robert Tressell
28 Posted 02/11/2022 at 14:52:22
David #16,

I have this debate with Michael Kenrick every so often. He's not fond of loans either.

You are of course right, we don't have a great success rate. Of our homegrown academy players, I can think of only Gordon, Osman and Barkley who returned as first teamers. Not sure who else.

But my point is that the other players we sent out weren't very good. A loan doesn't turn a sow's ear into a silk purse. It helps a truly excellent player get their first 30 games or so outside of the pressure cooker of the Premier League.

To my mind, it levels the playing field with prospects coming through in weaker leagues like France and the Netherlands age 18 and 19.

I can't think of anyone really highly regarded whose career went backwards because of loan.

Tony Abrahams
29 Posted 02/11/2022 at 15:02:57
Very few players go straight into the first team from an early age and a lot of them benefit from going out on loan. I hope Everton keep Whitaker at the club, before letting him go out on loan next season, whilst I wonder if Stanley Mills might be slowly introduced into the first team. This will obviously depend on how Frank Lampard views the kid?
Tony Abrahams
30 Posted 02/11/2022 at 15:23:38
I'm not beaming, Danny, but his mother is. One person decided to give him a bit of stick on social media, so I've asked her does she want me to get her a private detective, to find out the fella's address!

I wouldn't do that to the man if I'm being honest, because I think the worst fights we've ever had have been over her children, and even when they're bad, I'm the one who's worse, for criticising them!

I'm made up for him though, but as always, my feelings are that he can always do better, so I think I actually shocked him when I praised him for his unselfish running! It's a long road.

Mike Gaynes
31 Posted 02/11/2022 at 16:13:59
Tony, brilliant info, mate. Thank you. Wow, Dobbin's pace just jumps right off the screen. He's so fast and so smooth.

Robert #28, good points. When it loan fails, it's not necessarily because it's a bad idea.

Dale Self
32 Posted 02/11/2022 at 16:18:29
I'd like to think a loan is unlikely since this kid has specific skills that the club has in short supply. His vision for that age is exceptional and we should be trying to build around that now if he maintains form.
Michael Kenrick
33 Posted 02/11/2022 at 17:09:55

I wonder if these could be the criteria under which they are reared and blooded:

1) Really good. Short spell in U18s, even shorter in U21s, and rapidly elevated to the first team. No loans.

2) Potentially promising. At least a full season in the U18s, and maybe in the U21s as well, then out on loan to see what they can do with the big boys.

3) Okay as part of the Academy teams. Multiple seasons in the U18s and U21s, basically making up the numbers and providing team partners in the semi-competitive academy environment for the more promising players coming through. May go out on loan as a precursor to moving on when their contracts are up.

4) Not good enough. Released after 1, 2, 3 years.

That's just a gut perception rather than anything scientific but it kinda fits with your idea about quality and the other players we sent out not being very good.

I'm still not convinced that having the best possible Academy and pathway and loan programme really makes a crucial difference. If the player is really good, he's almost certain to make it by definition. Meanwhile, all the rest (and that's more like 99.75%) fall by the wayside and end up in League One or League Two.

But then of course the whole scheme is thrown off-kilter by those dreadful injuries. I reckon at least half of them get serious injuries while at the Academy that keep them sidelined for anywhere from 3 to 18+ months. And gawd knows what that does to their career prospects.

It's a very tough business. I'm sure Tony has said as much.

Robert Tressell
34 Posted 02/11/2022 at 19:27:21

I think that makes sense and is basically the system we seem to be adopting now. If we get a Foden, Saka quality player coming through then they'll be in the first team at 18 / 19. It's as simple as that. I'm hoping Samuels-Smith is in this category.

If, as is the case with Branthwaite, we have a player who is good enough – but can't dislodge more experienced players performing well – then they should be on loan.

You're probably right it's a bit marginal with players like Warrington, Mills and Whitaker who aren't Foden or Branthwaite level. But Simms has certainly kicked on with his loans and I think there's a benefit to getting out of Academy / U21s football where the general standard is really not very good.

Tony Abrahams
35 Posted 03/11/2022 at 10:24:57
Is it that the standard is not good, or it's just different maybe, Robert?

I reckon most of the kids coming through the top academies will be decent technical players. (They bloody well should be!)

But I personally believe that, once you're 19 or 20, this type of football, isn't really going to help a huge percentage of young players. The Premier League is such a fast and physical league, my own view is that playing this slightly false academy football isn't going to do much to improve and harden a kid whose future is going to depend so much on their physicality.

Robert Tressell
36 Posted 03/11/2022 at 13:21:46
Tony, in the games I watch at U21s level and previously U23s, the standard really is very poor.

I don't think it's the speed and physicality of the Premier League that is the problem on the whole – it's the level of ability of the academy players coming through.

Dowell was an exception. He had bags of ability but couldn't do the physicality. I can't think of others in the same boat.

It's rare to see someone very technically able making space, pinging the ball about etc. I saw Galbraith of Man Utd do that a few times – but now age 21, he's playing on loan for Salford in League Two. This is someone head and shoulders above U23 level.

It's a bit of a sad indictment on the academy system... but accurate, I think.

Tony Abrahams
37 Posted 03/11/2022 at 13:56:23
Thanks, Robert. I don't watch much Under-21 football, but when I watched Everton playing Morecombe the other week, I thought they were just so-so.

It's very manufactured, and breaking rank to doing something a little bit different rarely happens, but that's just over-coaching imo, and why I now hate the idea of junior school children being taken into the academy system to get coached.

Danny O’Neill
38 Posted 03/11/2022 at 14:00:53
False academy football.

That sums a lot up for me Tony.

Leave them in their natural environments until certain and have the club go out into the community to help coach them rather than enclose them in a bubble behind locked gates. Only bring them in when they're ready.

I'll stop. My scratched record is back on.

Robert Tressell
39 Posted 03/11/2022 at 14:36:15
Tony, Danny - you might well be right. But I think a lot of foreign academies would describe this as very poor coaching, rather than over-coaching. That's my view too.
Tony Abrahams
40 Posted 03/11/2022 at 16:15:15
Sometimes I think there is no absolutely correct way, Robert.

I've watched very talented kids playing for Everton's academy, and thought they're not getting taught enough about the game. But now I think you should let kids learn to dribble whilst they're young because it's very rare that kids learn to dribble as they get older. (Imagine learning them that kicking with both feet is just all about balance!)

Coach and nurture, it actually doesn't sound hard if everyone is on the same page and are all willing, but it's a business, and it's full of so many diverse opinions, that not many kids are afforded this luxury, because if they have a couple of bad months, they are usually released.

It's a production line, that seemingly starts with having the best talent spotters, maybe that's what it's all about? Although the argument could go on forever, because what's the point in getting the best kids, if you don't give them good coaching. Blah blah fucking blah!

Dale Self
41 Posted 03/11/2022 at 16:35:50
As we get more stable performances from Frank's first 25, you can bet Thelwell and he are thinking about this. I'm not saying they will ever give you guys a call but those issues will allow greater feedback for those close to the grounds. Just caring is reward enough tho, innit?

Really good discussion for this lad's story. Keep it going.

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