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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Matthew Gamble @efc_mattgamble

Alan Stubbs praised young pair Luke Garbutt and Conor McAleny after they helped Everton Under-21s to a 3-2 win at Bolton.

Both were on the scoresheet at the Reebok Stadium on Monday evening as the young Blues picked up a vital victory.

McAleny's 25-yard strike was a huge positive as he continues his return from a broken leg, while Stubbs said Garbutt's cool penalty illustrated his growing maturity.

The U21s boss told "It's great to have Conor back and he is making good steps in his recovery. He scored a fantastic goal, but that's the norm for him because he can pull them out of the bag.

"It will do him the world of good, but the most important thing for him is building up his fitness. We know he has so much quality and that will always come through. But now he needs to keep working on his fitness, which will improve his confidence and get him through his injury."

Garbutt was on loan at Colchester United earlier this season and has used the experience gained from that run of games to improve his contribution back at Everton.

Stubbs continued: "I've spoken to Luke and told him that he is showing good signs since he has come back from his loan. I see a matureness and he is showing a good attitude towards the defending part of his game, which was the area we thought he needed to work on.

"It looks like he is starting to enjoy that side of the game now and that is positive from his point of view."

Everton are trying to finish in the top half of the 22-man Under-21 league before it splits into two tiers for next season.

It means every game between now and the end of the campaign is of the utmost importance.

"There's enough quality in the team to win games and I keep telling them that," said Stubbs. "I've got big confidence in them and when they do things right they are a challenge for anyone.

"We just need to control games more when we have possession, because sometimes I feel that we rush play and want to get forward too quickly. But we have got young lads in the team and they are learning all the time. They are doing great."


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