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Sheedy Hails U18s' Spirit

by Daniel Alston @efc_danalston

Kevin Sheedy hailed his Everton Under-18 side for their stunning FA Youth Cup fightback against Arsenal on Monday evening.
The young Blues fell behind to Chuba Akpom's 11th-minute opener at Underhill, but responded with aplomb to record a 4-2 victory to reach the quarter-finals.
Matthew Pennington levelled the scoring moments later, before Chris Long, Conor Grant and Harry Charsley put the Gunners to the sword during a whirlwind start to the second half. 
And speaking to evertonfc.com after the contest, a thrilled Sheedy was full of praise for his united squad.
"It was a magnificent performance," said the Blues legend. 
"The players are getting better and I told them before the game that they will continue to get better. The determination, the camaraderie and team spirit that we've got shows in abundance on the pitch.
"There's a good unity. It makes that league defeat to Fulham a bit more galling because we asked our players to play 36 hours after a massive effort against Port Vale in the last round and we lost our unbeaten run, which stretched back a long way. 
"That still hurts me, but for the game tonight, Arsenal put their best team out and we've totally dominated the game. There were a lot of great characters out there. I'm absolutely delighted for them. They're buzzing!"
Sheedy's opposite number had approached the game with intent - and opted to rest his entire starting line-up for Saturday's league fixture against Manchester City. 
It proved to be a miscalculated move, as it was to be Everton that looked the more refreshed side. 
"That was a very, very good Arsenal team - don't underestimate them," said Sheedy. "They've got some excellent players but our work ethic and desire to win was there and we thoroughly deserved to beat them.
"Our finishing was excellent. I said to the lads before the game that we had plenty of players who could score goals, whether it be from set-pieces or open play. 
"We conceded a soft goal and there was a good finish for their second, but we've got goals in our own team. If we perform like that, they'll have no complaints from me."
And after three away ties so far in the competition, Sheedy admits a home tie against Norwich or Birmingham City in the quarter-finals will be a welcome prospect.
"It will be nice," he said. "But we've had tough encounters and it's good experience for the players to come away and play at league grounds. They'll learn and it's good for their development. 
"I'm chuffed for the lads." 
The game between Norwich and Birmingham takes place on 26 February.

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