Roberto Martinez says Everton's young guns were an 'incredible example' of how to adapt to a big game environment.
In the second half against Liverpool, Everton fielded five players aged 23 or under – all of whom were making their first appearances in the all-Merseyside fixture.
Romelu Lukaku, 20, grabbed the headlines with his two-goal salvo but Martinez was also delighted with the way his other starlets showed no fear in a game played at break-neck speed.
James McCarthy, 23 this month, excelled in midfield, while Gerard Deulofeu and John Stones – both 19-year-olds - made positive contributions after appearing from the bench as substitutes.
However, the performance of 19-year-old Ross Barkley, who gave no quarter in his tussle with England captain Steven Gerrard, was a particular source of satisfaction for Blues boss Martinez.
“It's fair to say we've got some young players who are incredible examples of how to be a young player in this business,” Martinez told evertontv.
“There's been a lot of bad press about young players not having the right education or having the right mentality to be a professional footballer.
“But you see how Ross handled a Merseyside derby which is so close to his heart and defending his club - the performance was of a real mature footballer.
“You see Gerard Deulofeu coming on at his age, working extremely well and being a big threat. Even with Romelu Lukaku and John Stones when he came on, I think we've got a very special breed and group.
“That mixture with the senior boys allows me to think our dressing room is really special.”
Everton are back at Goodison Park this Saturday when Stoke City are the visitors to Merseyside. Will there be more drama? Be there to find out!
Tickets for the game are still available, with adult prices starting at £32 and juniors half price. Click here to buy online, call 0871 663 1878 or visit the Goodison Park box office, the TicketQuarter or Everton Two in Liverpool One.