Barkley Takes Top Prize

by Adam Clark

Starlet Ross Barkley bagged the top prize at Everton's annual Academy Awards evening on Tuesday.

The midfielder was at the Philharmonic Hall in Liverpool to receive the Keith Tamlin Award, an honour which recognises a player's excellence, attitude and application during their time within the youth ranks at Goodison Park.

Barkley's occasional reserve-team cohort Conor Grant was named the Under-18 Player of the Season, while Welsh youth international Gethin Jones took Goal of the Season.

Barkley followed the likes of Jose Baxter and Jake Bidwell in scooping the evening's most prestigious award, which was presented by Mr Keith Tamlin, the Club's Vice Life President.

Conor Grant receives the Under-18s Player of the Season award from coach Kevin Sheedy and Everton's Life President Sir Philip Carter

Fazakerley-born winger Grant, meanwhile, was described as 'a model of consistency' after a campaign in which he shone for Kevin Sheedy's Under-18s and also made his breakthrough for Alan Stubbs' second string.  

Jones beat off four other contenders to take his gong, for a header in an Under-18 game against West Bromwich Albion.

The midfielder, who was just 16 at the time, applied an emphatic finishing touch to a fine flowing team move and coach Sheedy said: "It was difficult to pick a winner because there really were so many candidates. But we encourage the players to play as a team and nine of the outfield players got a touch in the build-up. It was a terrific team goal."

Ross Barkley accepts his award from Vice Life President Keith Tamlin

The prestigious yearly event was attended by Academy manager Alan Irvine, coaches Sheedy and Duncan Ferguson, as well as first-team players and Academy graduates Victor Anichebe, Shane Duffy and Conor McAleny.

Other guests included Everton's Life President Sir Philip Carter and Lord Mayor of Liverpool Frank Prendergast.

Conor Grant receives the Under-18s Player of the Season award from the legendary Duncan Ferguson

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