Coach Sean Lundon believes Everton Under-18s will reap the rewards of being put to the test against high-calibre opposition at the Oberndorf International Tournament last weekend.
After picking up four points from their three group games against Schalke, Fluminense and FC Mainz, the young Blues then fell to an unfortunate 1-0 defeat against Inter Milan in the semi-finals.
However, Lundon's side quickly put that disappointment behind them as Shayne Lavery’s strike secured a 1-0 victory against local side Team Schwarzwald in the third place play-off.
And Lundon said: “I certainly think in terms of the individuals, they really shone and showed that they are ready to play competitive Under-18s football. They look competitive and we’ve got players in the group with bright futures.
“We definitely grew into the tournament as it went along and it bodes well.
“It’s still pre-season and there are still things that we are working on as a group, things we want to embed in the players going into the season. But playing competitive games like those in Oberndorf allows us to see where we are strong and see the things we need to work at.
“From that perspective, we learnt a lot and hopefully the boys will be better for it going into the league programme that starts next week.”
It was the first time Everton had been involved in the Oberndorf International Tournament but, having been impressed with the set-up, Lundon is hoping it won't be the last.
He added: “The tournament itself was of a really high standard. Everything about it, the organisation, the way they looked after us and the quality of the opposition was fantastic.
"They put on a really good tournament and we’d certainly like to come back next year if we are invited.”
Everton Under-18s begin their domestic season on Saturday 15 August at Manchester United.