Friday 28 April 2017

David Unsworth predicts bright future for Everton youngsters

David Unsworth, centre, sees a bright future for Everton's first-team youngsters
David Unsworth, centre, sees a bright future for Everton's first-team youngsters
Unsworth (left) with Everton Under-23s captain Jonjoe Kenny (centre) and Toffees first team coach Duncan Ferguson, who has donated £12,000 to the 'Home is Where the Heart is' campaign.

Everton Under-23s boss David Unsworth is confident Tom Davies, Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin all have what it takes to become established first-team players at the club.

Each of the trio, after spending time with Unsworth's squad, has been in the mix with the seniors this season.

Midfielder Davies, 18, and defender Holgate, 20, both started Saturday's FA Cup clash with Leicester for their ninth and eighth Toffees first-team appearances respectively.

Nineteen-year-old forward Calvert-Lewin, an August signing from Sheffield United, got his fourth senior Everton run-out and first start in the previous match, the 3-0 Premier League win over Southampton.

Asked if he could see those three players establishing themselves in the side, Unsworth told Press Association Sport: "Yes, I can.

"They have to keep grounded and working hard, listening to the manager (Ronald Koeman) and his staff, and keep wanting to be better.

"They have now done what I think is the hardest part as a young player - breaking through and making a few appearances.

"Now they have to show consistency of performance, which will enable them to get in the team every week."

Unsworth also fully anticipates Everton's new 19-year-old winger Ademola Lookman, who was presented to the Goodison Park faithful just prior to kick-off on Saturday following his move from Charlton for a reported £11million, will be spending most of his time with Koeman's squad rather than his own.

Saturday's pre-match activity also saw Unsworth and a group of his Under-23s players promoting their 'Home is Where the Heart is' campaign at the ground.

Funds raised through the campaign will be used to purchase and operate a house close to the stadium, offering 16 to 23-year-olds who have fallen on hard times a place to stay.

The club's official charity Everton in the Community will provide those staying there access to health and wellbeing support and assistance with education, employment and training.

The fundraising total currently stands at almost £40,000, with Everton first team coach and former striker Duncan Ferguson having donated £12,000 left over from his testimonial. Various fundraising events are planned over the coming months, with the overall target being £230,000.

Regarding his players' involvement in the project, Unsworth said: "I think it is really important for their development as young men.

"They will always be able look back on their time and say not only that they have been at Everton, but that they have made a massive difference off the pitch as well."

In terms of the football side, Unsworth, whose team are currently top of Premier League 2, feels Everton certainly "do it right" in terms of handling young players - and more so than other top-flight clubs.

"We don't have prima donnas or big-time charlies," the 43-year-old former Toffees defender said.

"We have honest, hard-working young players, and the biggest thing our club does is give them an opportunity.

"They have to take that chance, but there is always an opportunity here, and I think that is the main difference between ourselves and maybe the three or four so-called bigger clubs."

:: For more information about the campaign visit www.evertonfc.com/homeiswheretheheartis

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