David Unsworth says Everton Under-23s will branch out across the country and beyond to identify and recruit the best talent at that age level – with the long-term aim of developing potential signings into first-team players at the Club.
Unsworth recently bolstered his backroom team with the addition of Jamie Hoyland, who has taken up the position of Under-23s scout.
Hoyland arrives with a vast amount of experience garnered from a 17-year playing career which included spells at Manchester City, Bury, Sheffield United and Burnley.
Since retiring, Hoyland had a lengthy stint as a coach in the youth setup at Preston North End - where he crossed paths with Unsworth - and most recently as a scout for the Football Association and England national team.
>>> Watch the video above to see an in-depth exclusive interview with Unsworth and Hoyland.
Unsworth has revealed how this week’s arrival of attacker Anton Donkor, a loan signing for the rest of the season from Wolfsburg, is a product of the extra focus placed on recruitment at Under-23s level.
“It’s a great deal that the two clubs have agreed - Anton can have a look at us, we can have a look at him, and I hope he can be successful,” Unsworth told evertontv. “I’ve been to see Anton and Jamie [Hoyland] has watched him a couple of times as well. Every time we have seen him, he has played really well and we think he has the potential to develop into a really good player.
“Jamie has been here a couple of months now,” added former Blues defender Unsworth. “I wanted to get a real expert in this field. [Director of Football] Steve Walsh has come in to the Club and taken over the scouting department and Jamie was someone who I spoke to Steve about. He’s someone who can identify young players to come into our group and become potential first-team players.
“We came across each other when I got my first coaching role at Preston North End. Alan Irvine brought me in as the reserve team manager and development coach, and our friendship and partnership started then. We have a very similar work ethic - we love and are obsessed with football. We had a lot of success bringing the players through.
“I have wanted to get Jamie in for a while. His work is outstanding and his eye for a player is just what we were looking for. Since he has been here, his work has been top class.”
Brendan Galloway, Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin are three examples of players who were signed by Everton, excelled for the Under-23s team and subsequently earned first-team opportunities.
Speaking about his role, Hoyland said: “There are two people who work alongside me, Tony Grant and Damian Matthew. I’ll be planning and going to lots of matches. For example, each week I might go to three or four games to look at specific players. And it’s not just in this country - I do travel to the continent and see players who get recommended out there.
“Everton is a marvellous football club. It’s got that family feel, that togetherness about it, from the first-team down. Everyone here wants the Club to do well.
“It’s great to be working here with Unsy, his team and Steve Walsh who I’ve known for a long time.”