Graeme Sharp has tipped Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley to step up and fill the void created by ‘fantastic servant’ Tim Cahill’s exit.
The popular 32-year-old left Goodison Park this week after eight years as a mainstay of David Moyes’ team.
The Aussie has been at the forefront of the Blues’ resurgence under the Scottish manager.
But following Cahill’s decision to move to the MLS with the New York Red Bulls, Sharp feels it is time for youth to shine.
“It gives the opportunity for someone to step up,” he told evertontv. “It is a big season for Jack Rodwell and there is young Ross Barkley who has done well in pre-season.
“It gives them the opportunity to fight for Tim’s position. Obviously the manager will have a look at it and see what his options are in midfield but Ross and Jack should be looking to cement their places in the starting line-up.”
Cahill made 278 appearances for the Toffees, scoring 68 goals and has now signed a three-and-a-half year deal with the Red Bulls.
Sharp admits he is sad to see such a loyal player leave the Club but believes all Evertonians will wish him success in what is a new chapter in his career.
“On a personal note, I am disappointed to see him go,” Sharp added. “Tim has been a fantastic servant to the football club – nobody could ever doubt that.
“His goalscoring record has been phenomenal, he has been a competitive player for us and I am sad to see him leave.
“Obviously it is a stage in his career where he fancies a new challenge and he has gone to America. We will wish him well as he has been fantastic for the football club since he arrived from Millwall.
“People will remember Tim as a fierce competitor. He always gave 100 per cent commitment, but more importantly, he was a player who scored vital goals.
“There was the season where we won a lot of games 1-0 and nine times out of 10 it was Tim Cahill who was coming up with the decisive goal.
“His aerial ability is fantastic. For not the tallest guy in the world his leap and his jump are great and he scored some memorable goals.
“I am sure all Evertonians will be sad to see him go but will wish him all the best.”