Alan Stubbs is optimistic that Everton’s loan contingent will be a step closer to challenging for a first-team place at Goodison Park once they return from their respective spells in the Football League.
Six members of the Club’s Under-21s squad are currently out gaining first-team experience at various levels in England’s domestic divisions.
Republic of Ireland Under-21 international Shane Duffy and midfielder John Lundstram recently had their stays at Championship outfit Yeovil Town extended until the end of the season, while it was also confirmed on Tuesday that left-back Luke Garbutt is to remain in League One with Colchester United for a further month.
Defender Matthew Pennington and striker Hallam Hope joined Tranmere Rovers and Northampton Town respectively on one-month deals at the start of the year and forward Chris Long yesterday headed to MK Dons on similar terms.
Portuguese midfielder Francisco Junior is also due to remain with Dutch top division side Vitesse Arnhem until the end of the season.
Everton boss Roberto Martinez has placed emphasis on youth since taking up the Goodison Park reins, with starlets Ross Barkley and John Stones thriving under the Spaniard’s tuition.
And Stubbs is hopeful that more of the Club’s youngsters will put themselves in Martinez’s thinking as a result of their loans spells away from Merseyside.
“From our point of view, it’s great that we have got that many out at this moment time in time and I’m expecting a few more to go out in this month,” Stubbs told evertontv. “It’s great that the managers from these clubs deem them worthy to help.
“From the players’ point of view, it’s another step in their development and to edge closer to our first-team by gaining valuable experience in someone else’s first-team.
“We’ve seen a real positive influence from them going out on loan in the past. They come back different players, mainly mentally with the fact that they are playing on a Saturday, it is real and means something. There is a real prominence on not making mistakes, doing things well and it can really turn a corner .
“Yes, there is a little bit of anticipation and nervousness when they go out because it’s something they haven’t experienced before but once they get over that and settle in their ability comes through and you can see a different player.”
A consequence of having this amount of players out on loan is fewer options for Stubbs to call upon for Everton Under-21s’ fixtures.
It’s a position that the 42-year-old is happy to find himself in though, as he stresses that the players’ development always takes precedence.
He continued: “It’s not easy and this is probably the hardest it is going to be, but I have had to weigh up the importance of them as individuals gaining experience or staying here.
“In the long run, I’m hoping that them going out on loan and the decisions that we make will have a bigger influence on their final outcome.
“What we are going to suffer in the short-term, hopefully we are going to gain in long-term.”
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