Russell Griffiths is determined to make the most of his promotion to Everton’s first-team squad.
The rookie goalkeeper, 18, has been elevated to the position of back-up goalkeeper over the last month following Tim Howard’s injury, sustained against Stoke City on Boxing Day.
Griffiths has been on the bench for Everton’s last six matches, acting as deputy to Joel Robles.
It represents a rapid rise for the youngster who only signed his first professional contract at Goodison Park back in the summer.
He told evertontv: “I set myself the target to get on the bench for the first-team and I’ve accomplished it. It’s been a nice start to the year for me.
“I was the Stoke game when Tim unfortunately got injured and I then got the call to say I would be with the first-team. I have been training with them since, preparing for the games and travelling with the team.
“It’s been brilliant being part of the squad and I feel really privileged to have been on the bench.
“Each day you learn something new from training with the first-team. It’s been a fast-tracked experience and development.”
Howard is making steady progress in his recovery from a calf problem – but until the American is back fit and available for selection, Griffiths knows he is potentially just an injury or suspension away from a senior Everton debut.
“I’ve got to keep my focus and concentration at all times,” he added. “If the call comes, then I have to be ready.”
Watch the video above to hear more from Griffiths, who discusses his journey through the Everton Academy.