Everton academy awarded elite status
Everton's highly-rated academy has been awarded elite status by the Premier League.
After a stringent independent audit of training facilities, productivity and coaching, education and welfare provisions this autumn, all were accredited with the top grading. It means the Toffees have a licence to operate a category one academy for the next three years, in line with the Elite Player Performance Plan being introduced in England.
"We are one of the leading academies in the country and on top of that there is a pathway to the first team," said academy manager Alan Irvine.
"That is a very important selling point for us because everyone can see the opportunities that talented young players are given here.
"There's no doubt that this is about what you are able to do to help the players make the progression into the first team.
"We want our players playing against the best, we want to have increased access to players and we want to have the freedom to recruit nationally if we choose, so being a Category One academy is essential.
"We won't assume we'll produce players just because we are a category one academy.
"That will still require a lot of hard work and still be a very difficult job, but the biggest thing is being able to have the opportunity to let the players see the pathway to get through to first-team football if they are good enough."