Gethin Jones is targeting a regular role for Everton Under-21s this season after putting pen-to-paper on his first professional contract.
The Welsh youth international was part of the Blues' Under-18 league winning side last term and also made 12 appearances for the Club's second-string.
And ahead of Wednesday evening's pre-season friendly at Wrexham, the right-back says he is keen to make his new one-year deal count.
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"I am really happy to sign," the 18-year-old told evertontv. "I can’t really believe it. It was really hard last year, especially the last three months, and I was getting quite nervous about whether or not I would get a new deal.
"We were doing really well, ended up winning the league and there was tough competition for places in the team.
"So you had to play well every week and to be rewarded for that by being offered a professional contract is fantastic. I am over the moon."
Born in Australia, Jones has been at Everton since the age of 12 and in recent years has adapted to the full-back position from central midfield.
He skippered Kevin Sheedy's side to glory in the Premier League final at Goodison Park in May and believes the experience can aid him in the latest stage of his development.
"It was great to be the captain," he continued. "Being able to lead the team out during the season, especially at places like Goodison and the Emirates, was a great honour to take on.
"This season, hopefully I can start well and then progress as the season goes on. Hopefully I can get into the starting XI [for the Under-21s] every week and, if I do well, maybe I can progress into the first-team squad."
Everton Under-21s’ pre-season friendly against Wrexham kicks off at 7.30pm this evening [23 July] at Cefn Druids FC.
The game was originally scheduled to be played at the Racecourse Ground but pitch renovation is not yet complete at the Conference Premier club’s home venue.
Admission at the 3,000 capacity ‘The Rock’ is £10 for adults, £5 for over-62s and under-21s, and £2 for over-80s and under-16s.
Directions to the ground can be found by clicking here.