14 Become Scholars

by Daniel Alston

The latest batch of Everton Academy youngsters have graduated to become full-time players at the Club.

The boys have been registered as Academy members since ages varying between five and 16 but will now work alongside the first-team at the Blues' Finch Farm training ground.

With the scholars having still been at school until recently, they were only able to train outside of school time on weekday evenings or weekends.

This year, as many as 14 new scholars filled in the necessary paperwork and it is now their full-time job to play for Everton.

Academy boss Alan Irvine, Under-18s manager Kevin Sheedy, Head of Education and Welfare Mike Dickinson and other members of the Finch Farm team led presentations to explain to the youngsters what is required and expected of them now they have stepped up to their new status.

"It's a huge day for the boys,” Irvine told evertonfc.com. “It’s a day when their parents come in and we talk to them about the difference between being a schoolboy footballer with us and being a professional footballer. Although they sign a scholarship rather than a professional contract, they are professional footballers because it's what they do for a living.

“There is a difference from before and they will be treated in the same way as we would treat first-team players and Under-21 players. It's a watershed for them - this is them playing football for real.

"It's a big intake for us, quite simply because we think we've got a lot of good young players in the group. We don't have any set figure in mind when we make these decisions; we simply go on the basis of whether we think an individual is good enough.

“We believe this is a good crop and, as a result, we've given out a lot of scholarships and we hope the boys will prove us right."

The 14 players to have signed with the Club are: (top row, left-to-right) Jordan Thorniley, Joe Williams, Calum Dyson, Arlen Birch, Charley Edge, Harry Charsley, Tyrone Duffus; (bottom row, left-to-right) Ryan Ledson, Jonjoe Kenny, George Newell, Antonee Robinson, James Graham, Reece McNally, Matteusz Hewelt.

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