The Everton Academy has a rich history of producing exceptional talent – and Roberto Martinez is determined that tradition will continue during his reign as manager.
A week-and-a-half into his tenure, the Blues new boss has already outlined his desire to see players progress from the Finch Farm youth set-up and make the transition into the first team squad.
Martinez will work with Leon Osman, Tony Hibbert, Victor Anichebe and Ross Barkley when the players report back for pre-season training at the start of July.
And the Spaniard is eager to integrate more Academy graduates into his senior group in the coming seasons.
“I will be working very closely with the Academy. It is important,” Martinez told evertontv. “Alan Irvine has played a tremendous part in that and what he has done so far has been really impressive.
“We need to work together and as a football club we need to put a lot of focus on trying to give youngsters opportunities.”
Last season, Everton were the only club to have their Under-18 and Under-21 teams reach the knockout stage of the inaugural development league.
Furthermore, Kevin Sheedy’s scholars reached the quarter-finals of the FA Youth Cup, while the Under-21s, coached by Alan Stubbs, embarked on a 16-game unbeaten sequence during the second half of the campaign.
Martinez recognises the quality within the current Blues’ youth set-up and is eager to nurture this ‘phenomenal’ talent.
“Any football club – it doesn’t matter where you are looking – relies on the home-grown talent and probably the biggest example in football now is Barcelona,” added Martinez.
“I do feel that the talent we have in our football club is phenomenal and we need to make sure that we help that talent to develop and reach the levels that the modern game needs.
“That’s something that we are going to put a lot of attention, effort, time and a lot of finances - as we have been doing in the past - to make sure that happens.”
Since his appointment, Martinez has spent several days familiarising himself with his new working environment at Finch Farm.
The 39-year-old is convinced that every age group maximising the state-of-the-art facilities at the Halewood training complex is a major plus point for the football club.
“For me, the most important aspect is that we have got everything - from the Under-9s right the way through to the first team - on the same site,” he explained.
“You breathe football when you come in and see that we spend as many hours as we can developing youngsters and preparing them as well as we can.
“The first team area there is the perfect environment to work and spend as long as we can as a team and individuals to reach the levels that we need.
“In that respect, I couldn’t be happier. I’m proud of the facilities that we have got here.”