14/11/2023 54comments  |  Jump to last

Everton have confirmed rumours and speculation that Under-21 striker Francis Okoronkwo has signed a new deal with the club.

The deal for the 19-year-old runs through June 2026. 

Everton secured his acquisition as a very promising teenager from Sunderland's Academy in a deal reported to be worth up to £1M 2 years ago.

In that time he has worked his way through the U18s to cement a place in Paul Tait's Under-21 side. He played in all 26 Premier League 2 games last season, scoring 4 goals. He scored another 5 goals in the various cup games, missing only 1 of the 17 played.

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Although the young striker has enjoyed training with the first team and watching Dominic Calvert-Lewin, he has yet to be involved in any first-team squads on matchday. 

“I think going up to train with the Senior Team has been great for my learning,” he told EvertonFC.com. “The speed and the tempo they play is very different. But I feel like after a few weeks in pre-season, I got better. I just want more opportunities with them.

“I like to watch DCL and everything he does. I love watching him play. I feel like the one thing he does most is he always helps the team no matter where he is on the pitch.”


Reader Comments (54)

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Mike Gaynes
1 Posted 14/11/2023 at 14:59:48
So any editorial thoughts from those who have seen this kid play? Does he have a chance to make it?
Martin Reppion
2 Posted 14/11/2023 at 15:30:27
My concern is that he isn't a prolific scorer at his age group levels.

If this is something that the coaches feel they can help improve, and he has other attributes, then that is okay.

But the strikers we tend to see coming through early are usually those scoring every week.

Tom Bowers
3 Posted 14/11/2023 at 15:54:16
Most of the young promising hopefuls tend to get forgotten when the big money, big wage signings come in but maybe this lad will be an exception.
Mike Allison
4 Posted 14/11/2023 at 16:23:44
It's very hard to see how he's better than Simms or Cannon given their respective records at the age groups.
Robert Tressell
5 Posted 14/11/2023 at 17:39:53
I've seen him a few times and he is roughly the size of Simms but with much more about him as a footballer. However, he doesn't score anything like as often as Simms.

Maybe it's because he gets played wide a bit but even then he ought to be scoring more.

And he's not yet had any international recognition either – which is not a great sign.

But the club is obviously showing some faith with the new contract so hopefully he kicks on. But probably more likely that we're ensuring we get a Simms- or Cannon-like fee if sold in a couple of years.

Brent Stephens
6 Posted 14/11/2023 at 17:43:48
I have watched him since he first got some U23s time, about the same time as Kouyate first came through.

I can't say I've seen much progress from him – some exciting "mazey" runs at times but often as not into a dead-end.

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 14/11/2023 at 17:57:59
You watch the U23s a lot Brent.

I know it's hard to predict, but what do you think?

Michael Kenrick
8 Posted 14/11/2023 at 17:58:42
Fully agree with the foregoing comments.

He's 19 but nowhere near challenging for the first team. Dobbin is well ahead of him and he can't get any time to speak of, coming off the bench once in a Blue Moon under Dyche. So his chances must be rated slim at best.

I think the club need players at U21 and U18 level – by my limited records based on appearances, there's a whole slew of players currently out injured and they are struggling to field full teams and subs benches. So it makes sense to hold onto ones like him – he seems to have been largely injury-free.

But he just does not score enough goals.

Geoff Trenner
9 Posted 14/11/2023 at 18:07:30
Hope he comes good but his stats aren't that good.

Probably as likely to make it in the Premier League as his namesake from a Wimbledon Common!

Jason Li
10 Posted 14/11/2023 at 18:36:12
Good luck to him as he seems enthusiastic. Now needs to demand to go out on loan to be judged, it's the best litmus test.

It might spur him on, be the making of him, or he can't find a way to improve.

Hard to judge his standard as most academy players in the academy competitions he plays against every week won't make it to a Premier League player standard unfortunately for different reasons. Only playing in a men's league tells you if you can play against men, against different types of ages and styles of players.

Hopefully no more buys from academies in the future, but only transfers in of young lads who've played adult professional football in a lower league and done well like Branthwaite, Coleman, Dele, and Calvert-Lewin. If a teen footballer can handle it physically and the mental pressure at a lower but good men's league level, then it's a big tick on the sheet.

Loads of young professional players in leagues like Holland and Belgium waiting for a chance to do an Onana and up their game a division higher. Some buys may end up Championship level as their ceiling, but at least if they need to be sold off will make a decent profit. Will be a much better business model than buying kids from academies.

Good luck to him.

Brent Stephens
11 Posted 14/11/2023 at 18:53:08
Danny #7 - prediction is to make a fool of youself. So, making a fool of myself!. Metcalfe (hard) and Dixon (fast) are more likely to get me a wee bit excited. Also Hunt (developed better than I'd thought)?

But I thought e.g. Price would get there. How wrong was I?

ps: U21s now, not U23s. Pedant, Stephens.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 14/11/2023 at 19:34:25
I lose track Brent.

Here's hoping. Nothing better than seeing one of our own come through.

Kevin Ratcliffe. Gary Stevens. I know they weren't natives, but came through what was then not an academy but an apprenticeship.

And then, even though we didn't have him for long, Rooney.

As you say, prediction is, well, unpredictable! It's why I don't gamble apart from a £1 each way on the National!!

Michael Kenrick
13 Posted 14/11/2023 at 20:10:27
Isaac Price.

Looks like he was in the team for the first 5 matches at Standard Liege, lasting the full 90 in 2 of them and getting pulled in the other 3.

But for the last 3 months, he's become a permanent feature on the bench — at least getting called on in each game. But it looks like they expected more of him than they are getting.

Kieran Kinsella
14 Posted 14/11/2023 at 22:13:47
Didn't Fraser Hornby light up the Belgian league a few years back?
Peter Gorman
15 Posted 14/11/2023 at 22:34:04
Isaac Price did score a peach of a goal to win a game for Liege;


As for Franny Okoronkwo, it doesn't look like he scores enough to be excited but I think the goals he does score tend to be very well taken.

But that was the case with Simms.

Robert Tressell
16 Posted 14/11/2023 at 22:34:43
Unfortunately, unless they are consistently in the England youth (or other) set up and getting first team minutes from around age 18, the chances are very, very low indeed.

Not impossible, just very, very low.

Ball, Jeffers, Dunne, Rodwell, Rooney, Vaughan, Anichebe, Barkley, Davies and Gordon all certainly got their first team minutes early and most were playing for England youth too.

Osman and Hibbert were exceptions, true. Which means there's still hope for players like Onyango, Dobbin, Mills, Warrington, Dixon and Metcalfe – but really our next regular first teamer from the academy is probably in the current U16 age group or younger.

Dupont Koo
17 Posted 15/11/2023 at 00:38:48
It was reported in The Athletic that the deal has an Option for the Club to extend the contract to June 2027.

If that's the case, that means there will be 2 full seasons ahead (24-25 & 25-26) to loan Francis out (preferably to Championship Clubs like what we did with Simms and Cannon) and observe his progress. Barring injuries, 2 full seasons with Championship &/or League 1 Teams would represent a big enough track record to establish a fair market value for Francis.

(What we are putting Lewis Warrington through these 2+ seasons so far provides the perfect blue print.)

If he pans out and finds his way into the First Team, great; But if not (&/or the possibility that Francis wants to find greener pastures and refuses to sign an extension), Thelwell can activate the Club Option in June 2026 to either buy time for negotiations of an extension (like Doucoure this year) or selling Francis as an expiring contract to replenish the coffer.

No more selling young assets on discounts a la Antonee Robinson (he is now worth at least 10 times more than the £1 Million we got for him from Fulham) & Joe Williams.

No more enforced nominal returns like Thierry Small (by tribunal) and Isaac Price (by UEFA).

No more Free Transfers like Tom Davies & Jonjoe Kenny.

This contract extension put us at a position to get the best deal in the market for Francis if needed (a la the cases for Simms & Cannon, IMHO). That is a testament to the very, very late modernisation of the Club's Players Trading & Asset Replenishment approach implemented after Thelwell's arrival.

But as always, better late than never.

Grade = B-

Mark Taylor
18 Posted 15/11/2023 at 01:02:10
Dupont 17

Isn't Davies a prime example of why we need to be careful of contract extensions? We kept him far too long. No serious club was interested when we didn't renew again, especially at the wages we were paying. Sheffield United eventually picked him up, but he's barely featured, even for a team so poor.

I think our bigger problem is keeping Championship players (if that) for too long, hoping/pretending they will one day be Premiership standard. And it is sobering that Davies actually represented England at pretty much all age levels, and as a semi regular. In a way, he is a sort of benchmark for when we get excited about new talent. Many frogs have to be kissed before you get a prince.

Peter Gorman
19 Posted 15/11/2023 at 07:44:28
Mark - Davies has barely featured for Sheff Utd because he is out with a major knee injury which required surgery.

He is still a Premier League / Championship level player so I agree with your point that we should have sold him sooner.

The list of Everton graduates playing in the Championship is pretty extensive so I think the onus is on the club to cash out at the right time. There are plenty of kids on the books that are capable of making a decent living out of football, obviously we'd all rather it was with us.

Robert Tressell
20 Posted 15/11/2023 at 09:13:02
Davies is a very unusual case. Some bad luck, some terrible mismanagement – and maybe a case also of a kid flattering to deceive in youth football.

I don't think it detracts from your point Dupont that it's a good idea to tie down promising players between ages 18 to 21 - in order to maximise our sale proceeds if we sell.

Keeps the kitty topped up for spending on genuine first teamers.

Rob Jones
21 Posted 15/11/2023 at 09:55:31
The club utterly failed Tom Davies. His development was stifled by a succession of short-termist managers who didn't give a crap about the development of players, with results being prioritised at the expense of the development of the team.

Worse yet, because of the very different tactical styles of each successive manager, Tom, Jonjoe and others like them were never in a position to nail down a position or a place in the team.

Robert Williams
22 Posted 15/11/2023 at 11:15:40
I think this new contract may be all about ensuring that the young players remain tied down and thereby unable to jump ship at a young age as one or two have done recently.

Thelwell's 'new' policy is to add value to players, so whether he plays for us or not he will hopefully be worth more and add to the coffers when we decide to cash in.

John Raftery
23 Posted 15/11/2023 at 11:58:26
In some ways the trajectory of Tom Davies’s career mirrors that of his uncle’s, Alan Whittle. They both blossomed as teenagers, tailed off in their early twenties before suffering injury problems.

Mark Taylor
24 Posted 15/11/2023 at 12:26:47
Peter 19

True, he is currently injured but nor did he figure much when he wasn't, in what is manifestly a poor team. Moreover there was a distinct lack of interest in him, so no-one was seeing a hidden gem.

Perhaps one ought to say that there is no shame in being Championship level (or even lower). It still means you are a terrific player, a success by any normal measure, among a small elite, just not quite at the pinnacle. And you can still earn a decent living, in some cases a very good one.

A few weeks ago I checked out the fate of many of our younger players who were 'hot prospects' at the time and most ended up in the lower leagues, Div 1 or 2. That could actually be argued as a success, and we are in fact pretty good at producing professional footballers from our youth, just not so much for our first team.

Davies likely would have been snapped up by Championship clubs, maybe with a small fee, but the wages we were paying him were way too high for this level. Our mistake, not his...

Mike Gaynes
25 Posted 16/11/2023 at 22:39:09
Rob #21, where Davies is concerned there just wasn't enough there to develop. Yeah, we had some crap coaches, but a coach can't make a kid faster, stronger or shoot better -- or able to keep hold of the ball in midfield traffic.
Robert Tressell
26 Posted 16/11/2023 at 22:53:13
Mike # 25,

Some of that comes from nous and confidence. I think if Tom Davies were coming through now under Dyche then his career would be much the better for it. Kenny, too.

Phil Sammon
27 Posted 17/11/2023 at 01:27:52
Robert 26,

How do you come to that conclusion?

Dyche has been reluctant to use anyone outside of his core 13 or 14 players. Even then, subs are limited to 5-minute appearances.

He was also the last person to recognise that Branthwaite should be getting a game over the likes of Keane. And he appears to be similarly stubborn on the Patterson / Young situation.

Kieran Kinsella
28 Posted 17/11/2023 at 01:44:29

I agree on Kenny but agree with birthday boy Mike Gaynes on Davies.

Derek Knox
29 Posted 17/11/2023 at 01:57:00
While I agree that Sean Dyche is possibly a very under-rated manager, let's face it, we have had almost the full gamut of proven to unproven managers hitherto.

I can't accept that several 'player failures' may have flourished under his tutelage. It's almost tantamount to saying how would Dixie, Alex Young, Kevin Sheedy etc, have fared today in the modern game? Hypotheses in all cases!

However I can only endorse that I believe we have the right manager in our present situation, and I also believe, given time, and backing in the transfer market, we may be seen as a force again.

I appreciate, like many before me on this thread, I have digressed from the original Francis Okoronkwo issue, that does tend to happen on TW. Having seen this lad a few times, he never really got my pulse racing, like many before him, and in my opinion better, not making the grade!

Mike Gaynes
30 Posted 17/11/2023 at 02:15:33
Robert T, not sure any of the characteristics I listed are products of confidence. Nous can't make you run faster or be stronger on the ball in midfield. There's no way in the world Tom was ever going to be as good as any of our current midfielders.

As for Jonjoe, he's a one-position player, and when he was coming through the position was occupied by one Seamus Coleman, with whom he could never compete. He's found his level in the 2.Bundesliga.

I wish them both nothing but the best, but they just didn't have the talent.

Robert Tressell
31 Posted 17/11/2023 at 07:16:55
Phil # 27, because these are precisely the sorts of players Dyche has previously bought / developed. Indeed he wanted to buy Kenny.

And a well organised 4-4-1-1 is ideal for these two. Neither would be first teamers – but a bit more nous and confidence in the right set up and they could both have been a reliable part of the 2nd string. A bit like, say, John O'Shea holding his own at Man Utd when in all honesty he wasn't a great player.

Coleman was indeed our right-back, Mike, but we went through spells of Holgate, Iwobi and others in that position.

Danny O’Neill
32 Posted 17/11/2023 at 07:40:47
Interesting discussion.

Osman and Hibbert were two of the finest servants and committed players we've had in the past few decades. Yet, and let's be honest, both took the brunt of Goodison criticism.

I always maintain that had Leon played in the Bundesliga, he'd have been a star. I know I keep repeating myself, but I'd take him back tomorrow coaching the youngsters at Finch Farm. And pinch Pienaar who is coaching the kids at Ajax.

Jonjoe was an interesting one. I had hopes for him and like with all Everton players, we want them to come good and succeed. Although he went on to have a few decent games for us after, my mind was made up watching him play for Schalke against RB Leipzig in a 5-1 defeat.

Admittedly he was played as a wing back rather than his natural right back position, but he got well and truly skinned time after time. He's back in Germany now with Hertha Berlin.

I, like many, was often critical of Tom Davies. But I do think he suffered from the instability around the club that possibly (not definitely) stifled his development. Like a lot of our young players of recent years.

Talented and making a living in the game. More than most of us do, so respect to him. Although I see he's not made too many appearances for Sheffield United.

On the England Youth thing, think John Ebbrell. Came through the Everton and England youth system, tipped as a future England, let alone Everton, captain. Injuries and whatever else saw him fail to live up to the high expectations.

I done a quick search. The date is raw, so excuse me. 1.5M players in organised football in England. The success rate of ending up playing for a Premier League club is 0.012%.

But I wouldn't criticise or doubt. It just goes to show that you never really know or predict. Apart from the odd freak like Rooney, most don't live up to early expectations.

Being blunt (not critical), but the English academy system has been wrong for decades and needs overhauling in my opinion. Everton's was left in the wrong hands and we've seen the output, which has mainly been false hope in thinking we've found the next Wayne Rooney.

Revolutionise the system. Make an example, Everton. There is one of the richest footballing talent pools on our doorstep. Get out there and promote Everton in the football community, not lock kids behind the gates of Finch Farm from the age of 8.

Apologies. I do tend to get emotive about this topic.

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 17/11/2023 at 10:29:02
Whatever you think of Jonjoe Kenny and Tom Davies t’s a fact that they both could still be here at Everton, each of them turned contracts and moved on,Burnley, with Sean Dyche as manager, offered a few million for Jonjoe but Everton wanted more than was offered.

Jonjoe played in a terrible Everton defence with Keane at the centre of it, in one game versus Wolves at Goodison, Keane stood with the ball like a dummy not knowing what to do with the ball,Jonjoe, a young kid, was screaming at him to get the ball up the pitch, Keane was an English international who cost £25!

Nous may not give you pace or strength but it will give you, with experience,where to run,when to run and how to use the ball better, holding on or releasing the ball quicker, honestly I don’t know if either would have become stalwart players for the Blues but they started with poor disorganised Everton teams and it stayed like that until they both left.

Dave Williams
34 Posted 17/11/2023 at 11:32:30
Moyes would have made Kenny into a good first team player. As Dave says he didn’t stand a chance given the upheavals and the back four he had to play alongside whilst still learning his trade.
Tom lacked pace and power. Garner is a similar player but gets around the pitch much quicker, is much stronger on the ball, better in the press and can pass the ball better.
A few years ago I was chatting to an Everton legend and he said Liam Walsh and Kieran Dowell were the ones to watch. Walsh never got near the first team and Dowell just didn’t have the physicality and desire in his game to succeed. There are so many pressures on young players who are growing from boys to men and having to compete against hard grown men who will threaten them with all sorts to put them off their game.
It really isn’t easy.
Derek Knox
35 Posted 17/11/2023 at 11:36:59
Danny and Dave A, they always say the proof of the pudding, is in the eating, of all the names mentioned of players that have been let go (apart from Rooney and Haaland). How many have pulled up trees and made us regret not still having them ?

I can't think of many, (maybe Richarlison, Deulofeu and James). TD is often on the Subs bench at Sheffield United, but very rarely included from the start. As they say in High Court " I arrest my case m'lud ".

Dave Abrahams
36 Posted 17/11/2023 at 12:19:21
Derek (35),Derek I respectively suggest that Everton never had a dog’s chance of signing Haaland,he was a very young lad being touted and getting trials here there and everywhere before his agent, chasing the money plus the best place for his client to go, chose the club he finally went to, he went to City where the money was, he’s doing a great job there while his agent is sorting out his next destination, and has been since the first day he signed for City.

Haaland is a cash machine that pays out very often and will continue until he retires, Everton? Never a chance.

Mick Davies
37 Posted 17/11/2023 at 12:26:34
10 point deduction, just announced on SSN!!!!
Bobby Mallon
38 Posted 17/11/2023 at 12:30:24
Ahhhhh ten points ffs
Pat Kelly
39 Posted 17/11/2023 at 12:49:55
We’re still in this. Sod them all. This will rally the Club.
Derek Knox
40 Posted 17/11/2023 at 12:56:40
I was under the impression that any points deduction would not only be announced at the end of the current campaign, but implemented in the close season.

I also heard that it was a deferred 6 point deduction, which would be written off if no further infringements occurred, and that was the season after next !

Confused Dot Com ? You bet I am !

Mark Ryan
41 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:00:15
Focus, don't be disappointed, say nowt, carry on, we are EFC. Let's get 3 points and move on up. Nothing to see here UTFT's
I hope the club say nothing
Pat Kelly
42 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:01:54
Mark, Everton have issued a statement saying they are appealing the deduction.
Anthony Hawkins
43 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:03:52
There was an immediate response to the outcome and the club will be appealing
Bobby Mallon
44 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:04:58
Get a thread going ffs should be a live forum in this it’s that important
Mick Davies
45 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:06:18
Bobby, I agree, this is one of the most important moments in Everton history
Steve Croston
46 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:13:55
Premier League have now set a very dangerous precedent. Fuck them, and fuck everyone else too. This will galvanise us and see us rise from the ashes like a flaming blue phoenix. UTFT!
Anthony Hawkins
47 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:15:15
@Steve #46. Like they did with Niasse? Nah, They're punishing someone outside the top 6. Can't see them doing much more than fining City, if that.
Steve Morgan
48 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:19:01
Manchester city will be getting a 1000 point deduction then hopefully if it's 10 points per charge. That should put them in the Manchester Sunday league division 7.
Mark Ryan
49 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:20:03
An appeal will happen but we need to accept that its 10 points and stay positive. Accept the sanction, appeal but we, unlike Sky Sports and every Tom Dick and Harry, need to gird our loins and deal with this in bite size pieces, just 3 points at a time, next game, we win.
We need to put the wagons in a circle and fight. Talk is cheap. We've had this hanging over us for ages. Mosh has fucked up and so now that we are sanctioned we need to accept it, put in the appeal but now is the time to close ranks, battle it out and stay up. We can overcome this but we won't do it by crying or complaining. We have to fight and I feel we can do it. Mental toughness, close ranks and fight UTFT's
David Graves
50 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:23:18
Perfect timing - next home game against
Utd, 16:30 kick off so an extra hour in the pubs to get everyone revved up. It's going to be a bear pit. Can't wait.
Barry Hesketh
51 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:25:07
I don't give a flying one about what happens to other clubs at this moment in time. We all know that both Chelsea and Manchester City will not cooperate and will not supply any information to the Premier League and that it will possibly take ten years for those two clubs to be properly charged at great expense to the league.

Everton were with hindsight completely daft to supply enough information for the Premier League to hang us. Having said that, the very fact that an accountant wasn't able to navigate the rules that his club agreed to, is testament to what a completely unsuitable owner Moshiri has turned out to be.

He'll get much of his money back when he sells, we'll be struggling for years to come and might even go out of business if we can't somehow survive in the Premier League for this and a few more seasons.

Roger Helm
52 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:35:48
So if Everton had actually gone into administration the penalty would have been smaller? And Chelsea and City get no penalty at all? The whole game is rotten to the core. Luckily it won’t lead to relegation, given the other clubs around, but getting into Europe seems unlikely this year.
Anthony Hawkins
53 Posted 17/11/2023 at 13:41:51
@Mark #49 wonder if you ran out of idioms?
Peter Gorman
55 Posted 20/11/2023 at 22:12:56
In case anyone is wondering how Isaac Price is getting on, he scored in Northern Ireland's 2 -0 win over Denmark tonight.

Not too shabby a goal either.

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