Under-21s Ready For Royals

David Unsworth is pleased to see his Under-21s side back in the winning habit ahead of their meeting with Reading on Wednesday.

Everton’s youngsters suffered twin defeats in the middle of November, losing to Middlesbrough in the league, before being beaten by Porto - a result that cost the Blues a place in the knockout stages of the Premier League International Cup.

But Unsworth’s side responded emphatically by casting Widnes aside in the Liverpool Senior Cup (8-0) and then earning a precious 3-1 victory in Sunday’s mini-derby.

“Reading is our rearranged game and they are a new team for us this year,” said Unsworth. “They had a great season last year and it will be a tough game for us.

“The games are coming thick and fast. We have Reading on Wednesday then Tottenham on Monday. But you won’t hear us complaining. We love that.”

Unsworth credits the mental strength and togetherness of his side as the reason behind such a quick response.

That was on display in the second half of the derby, as despite the Reds reducing the deficit to 2-1, the Blues showed the confidence to go forward and secure the win with a third goal through Kieran Dowell.

“I see signs every game but the Liverpool victory is probably collectively the best we have played over the recent period,” he added. “That was a really good win for us.

“We spoke at half-time about how we would mentality be if they got a goal back. Do you take a step back or do you take a step forward? We wanted to go and score three, or four, or five. They are a mentally tough group. They have come through the system together and they are used to winning.

“It doesn’t matter what age you are, if you are used to winning, you develop a mentality and they have got that.”

Everton Under-21s: Hewelt, Kenny, Connolly, Davies, Feeney, Holgate, Dowell, Williams, Byrne, Evans, McAleny. Subs: Walsh, Gray, Dyson, Charley, Thorniley.

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