Midfielder Kieran Dowell has thanked Everton Academy coaches who helped him rise through the ranks at Goodison Park after putting pen to paper on a new three-year deal with the Blues.
Dowell, 18, has agreed a revised contract that will keep him with the Club until the summer of 2019.
It comes less than two months after the Ormskirk-born youngster made his Premier League debut in a 2-1 win over Bournemouth and five weeks after his first full start in the 3-0 defeat of Norwich City.
Dowell, who joined the Club's youth system aged seven and made his senior bow in a Europa League game against FC Krasnodar in December 2014, was a star for David Unsworth's Under-21s last term, netting 11 goals despite missing much of the first half of the campaign due to an ankle ligament injury.
"It’s a huge day for me and I’m delighted," the teenager exclusively told evertontv as the ink dried on his new deal. "I found out it might happen at the end of the season, then I’ve come back from a holiday and it was all ready to be sorted.
"You could say it’s just the beginning. All the work you put in during your time with the Academy is towards getting your first professional contract, but this really makes me feel like part of the team.
"At moments like this, whether it’s signing a contract or making your first appearances for the Club, you look back and wonder if you’d be here without your family, friends and especially the staff here. I can’t thank them enough for everything they’ve all done for me so far."
Asked how he felt about his ascension into the first-team picture having had time away to reflect, Dowell continued: "It was the best and the worst time for me at the end of last season because I didn’t want it to end!
"Unsy obviously started me in the final game and I can’t thank him enough for that.
"I think it helped having David Unsworth in charge, and John Ebbrell, Joe Royle and Duncan Ferguson involved, too. I didn’t feel as much pressure as I thought I would because there were so many familiar faces and it just felt like business as usual.
"I had a good pre-season last year and then picked up an injury. All the staff were really good with me, because they could have just left me in the Under-21s for the rest of the season.
"They didn’t and they always pushed me towards the first team. I'm really grateful for that and hope now to keep kicking on."
Everton Chairman Bill Kenwright added: "I'm really pleased for Kieran... and for Everton. This contract demonstrates not only his great potential but also the quality of David Unsworth and our Academy coaches.
"Like every Evertonian, myself, Farhad and the Board are hugely excited with the talent we've got coming through at Finch Farm. Good luck Kieran in what I'm sure will be a terrific career."