Saturday, September 23, 2017

Ronald Koeman giving youth a chance at Everton

David Nugent in Editorial, English Premier League 16 Jan 2017

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Everton youngster Tom Davies impressed in the 4-0 win over Manchester City on Sunday

 

Everton’s 4-0 win over Manchester City at Goodison Park on Sunday was an amazing result.

In fact, considering the difference in the value of the two teams on show, it was even more incredible.

What made the result even better for the Toffees fans was it was driven by one of their own, youngster Tom Davies.

The 18-year-old home-grown midfielder acquitted himself superbly in the engine room for Everton. The mature youngster even capped the win with a goal, start by the youngster with an impetuous piece of skill in the centre of the park.

However, Davies was not the only young player to impress for the Toffees. New signing 19-year-old Ademola Lookman scored just minutes into his debut having come off the Everton bench.

A special mention should also go to young centre-back Mason Holgate, who barely put a foot wrong against the likes of Sergio Aguero and Raheem Sterling.

Koeman is giving youth a chance at Everton

Ronald Koeman’s former club Southampton is adjusted to have one of the best academies in the Premier League. However, during his time with the Saints Koeman was accused of not giving young players a fair chance in the first team.

Koeman is not a stupid man. If he would have thought those youngsters were good enough he would have played them. At Everton, he is not only giving youth a chance but also signing young players.

The acquisition of Lookman and also fellow youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin has shown that Koeman is prepared to give youngsters their chance.

Maybe the Dutchman has had his hand forced slightly by not believing in some of his senior players. However, he is now giving the likes of Davies and Holgate the chance, despite having alternatives in their positions.

Holgate was starting yesterday’s game when former England international Phil Jagielka was available. Davies was in the starting eleven ahead of James McCarthy. New signing Morgan Schneiderlin was obviously not match-fit, but the youngster still started ahead of him.

A gradual lowering of the average age

Ronald Koeman joined a club with a lot of older players and deadwood. He has started clearing the deadwood out with the exits of midfielder Tom Cleverley and Oumar Niasse last week.

The Dutchman did not help himself by bringing two more over-thirties in goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and Ashley Williams. In truth, though, both were needed. Everton were short of centre-backs and Williams is a solid one.

Stekelenburg was initially only brought in as cover in the goalkeeping position. However, the veteran goalkeeper has been the first choice for much of the campaign until a recent injury.

Everton already had the likes Gareth Barry, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines into their thirties. They have been fine servants for the club, but Koeman has to faze them out.

The team that took to the field against City produced a more vibrant and energetic display. It also seemed like it had a good balance of youth and experience to it.

Building momentum for next season

Everton are currently seventh in the Premier League table and odds of 10/1 to finish in the top-six this season. The Toffees are currently seven points behind sixth-place Manchester United in the table.

Ronald Koeman admitted recently that the best his team are going to achieve this season is holding on to seventh spot in the table. A seventh place finish would not be a terrible finish for Everton considering the amount of money the current top-six have spent in recent years.

Everton fans will be happy with a seventh place finish if they see that progress is being made in the team. There are now signs that things are changing slowly but surely under Ronald Koeman. Part of that change is young players are being given the chance to impress.

If the young players continue to impress and develop, then they and Everton could have a very bright future ahead of them.

Will Ronald Koeman keep faith in his youngsters for the rest of the season?

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

David Nugent


David is a freelance football writer with nearly a decade of experience writing about the beautiful game. The 33-year-old has written for over a dozen websites and also an international soccer magazine offline.
Arguably his best work has come as an editorial writer for Soccernews, sharing his good, bad and ugly opinions on the world’s favourite sport. During David’s writing career he has written editorials, betting previews, match previews, banter, news and opinion pieces.

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