03/01/2024 9comments  |  Jump to last

Everton U21 centre-back Reece Welch has been recalled from his season-long loan at Forest Green Rovers in League Two, with Everton concerned that he had fallen out of favour. 

The 20-year-old centre-back has found his playing time limited throughout December completing only 9 minutes of football in the past six league matches.

It seemed in the earlier months of the campaign that Welch had established himself in the Nailsworth team, with 12 out of 13 starts, and being subbed off in only one of those games. However, seven of those games were losses with FGR eventually sliding to the bottom of the League Two table.

Everton are likely to send him back out on loan elsewhere if a suitable club can be found before the transfer window closes.


Reader Comments (9)

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Robert Tressell
1 Posted 03/01/2024 at 18:47:45
It wouldn't surprise me if Godfrey leaves and Welch is kept as cover. Not ideal from a football perspective but the money situation is dire.
Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 03/01/2024 at 18:52:08
I don't know too much about him as a player, but a good call by the club. Seven managers in 2 years, including five in 2023 alone, including Duncan Ferguson.

I know we are not a good example on the managerial merry-go-round, but that takes some beating and is not a stable environment for a young player's development.

Mark Taylor
3 Posted 03/01/2024 at 19:45:36
I live near FGR and sometimes see them play.

Without wishing to be cruel, if a 20-year-old can't get game time with them, they are never going to make it as a contender in the EPL, barring a Lazarus-style miracle. FGR are rubbish and heading out the league into non-league football.

At best, we might get a few quid for him from a League One or Two side.

James Flynn
4 Posted 03/01/2024 at 23:18:56
There must be two Reece Welchs playing, Mark, because you've not described ours.

Reece was in the First-11 rotation right from his arrival at Forest Green right up until the last 2 games, where he was left out of the team.

I'm disappointed Thelwell sent him to the worst team in League Two, but he did get regular playing time without injury, so all to the good.

He's played both centre-back positions, left and right in a Back 3, got a few minutes at right-back, and even some minutes in the midfield.

If Robert Tressell's suggested scenario doesn't play out, I hope Thelwell is at least sending Reece out to a League One team.

Mark Taylor
5 Posted 04/01/2024 at 01:14:53
James, I'm afraid he hasn't really made it at this level which as you say, is the worst (maybe second worst) in the whole Football League. He had his chance at the beginning of the season, as you suggest, but didn't really crack it and now is not first choice and sometimes not even on the bench.

Sure, you always have exceptions like Jamie Vardy but, if you are scrapping to make an impact at this level at 20, you are very unlikely to make it at the top level.

Given his record and performances, would a League One team even be interested? If so, then for sure it is more realistic than being a back-up with us, as Robert suggested.

Having seen him a couple of times, I think he would be miles out of his depth. If he could find his feet at League One level, at least we might get a few quid for him.

Dupont Koo
6 Posted 04/01/2024 at 02:57:43
Mark & James, thanks for the field report on Welch.

From a prospect development point of view, there is nothing wrong with sending young guns to some of the worst teams in the EFL to get playing time. If not for the needs of the bad teams, where can we send them to get playing times?

Also, playing meaningful minutes for relegation strugglers can teach the youngsters to handle pressure-cooker situations every week.

IMHO, recalling Welch is more a "Duncan isn't there anymore, so no more favours required".

James Flynn
7 Posted 04/01/2024 at 21:07:19
Mark (5) - Nothing changed.

There's Everton Reece Welch and whatever Reece Welch you're talking about.

James Flynn
8 Posted 04/01/2024 at 21:10:59
Dupont - Reece did well, getting experience at a number of different positions across the back line; bagging around 1800 minutes of playing time.

Hopefully Thelwell pulled Reece back to get him a team in League 1 for the second half of the season.

Dupont Koo
9 Posted 06/01/2024 at 01:17:02
Thanks again, James. Good to know that Reece got 1,800+ minutes under his belt already. To consider a season-long loan successful, my first category would always be having the youngster bagging 3000+ minutes, so Reece is on pace.

Like you said, fingers crossed that Thelwell can find him a team in League One (if not, a promotion-chasing League Two team would be a good fall-back option) between now and the transfer deadline.

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