The Everton Academy have held their induction day for the scholars of the system – introducing the possible Blues stars of the future to evertonfc.com.
The boys who attended have been registered as Academy students since ages varying between nine and 16 but are now full-time Everton players.
With the scholars having still been at school until recently, they were only able to train outside of school time on weekdays or weekends.
It is now their full-time job to play for Everton, and so it was a special day for all – especially Academy Director, Ray Hall.
He exclusively told evertonTV: “It’s an exciting day for the boys and it’s an exciting day for the staff because this is my 18th go and when I see the potential talent it’s what the job is about.
“In the main they’ve already shown that that they have the right attributes. None of these boys would have been given the opportunity to play here full-time unless they had the potential to get into our first team or somebody else’s first team. That’s not easy.
“There is an awful lot of qualities needed for that to happen. Are the boys mentally strong enough to deal with the expectation levels? Who are the ones who are strong enough to stand up and have a go?
“Their results and the way that they have played over the years together has suggested that they are a good group so it’s exciting that we’ve got a good group and under-18 level and under-17 level.”
“We are ready for the season starting and you can see it on their faces that they are prepared for what’s ahead.”
And while Ray knows in his mind that the chosen scholars have the ability needed, it is now down to the players themselves to prove to the first team manager David Moyes that they are good enough when the opportunity comes up.
“I hope that we have some boys in this group that will make the manager’s job easy for him.
“Because we are now at a fantastic training complex in Finch Farm, every one of these boys has to be ready.
“The manager could say to Neil Dewsnip, the Academy coach that he needs a front player – and you never know when that opportunity will arise.”
The players who completed their induction and signing for Everton were Jose Baxter, Nathan Craig, Adam Davies, Shane Duffy, Adam Forshaw, Gerard Kinsella, Conor McAleny, Lee McArdle, Jon Nolan, Aristote Nsiala and James Wallace.