Ademola Lookman and Tom Davies are helping to attract football’s best young talent to Everton.
That’s the belief of Blues Director of Football Steve Walsh, who says the duo’s rise into the Club’s first team are examples of how youth is given a chance to flourish at Goodison.
Academy graduate Davies was handed his senior debut against Southampton in April 2016 and has since become a first-team regular under boss Ronald Koeman, netting his maiden goal in the 4-0 rout of Manchester City in January.
Lookman also got off the mark for the Toffees in that match, less than four minutes into his Blues bow.
The 19-year-old forward moved to Everton in the January transfer window from League One Charlton Athletic.
And, with Walsh aiming to bring more young talent to the Club, he says the pair, along with the likes of Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin, are showing Everton give youth a chance.
“Ademola’s the future,” said Walsh, who joined Everton last summer from Leicester, for whom he played a key role in their Premier League title success.
“He’s come in and done well but he’s still got a lot of development to do. But putting him and Tom Davies in the first team sends out the right signals and really does help when it comes to attracting more young players to your football club.
“Even the best talents are interested in Everton. You get a pathway through to the first team which you might not get with another club.
“I think if you can buy those players and integrate them with your own youngsters of quality then it’s a potent mix. It gives you that energy and vitality.
“Then you put your Gana in there, Rom, Ross, Ash. Morgan Schneiderlin – I mean, you look at Morgan and think, ‘he’s a real player who can advance you as a club, no question’.”
Walsh was integral to Lookman joining the Blues and has been impressed by his quick adaption to top-flight football.
And while he understands the teenager needs time to develop, the Director of Football has high hopes for the forward.
“I saw him against Oldham Atheltic for Charlton, and never changed my mind on him,” revealed Walsh.
“He’s got two feet. He’s not one of those people who shifts it to his stronger foot to finish. He has an eye for goal. When he came on (against City) and scored the goal that took him into the fans’ hearts. He looks to get his shots off, he does things that are unusual, he tries to find a yard with his first touch.
“There are things I’d like him to add to his game but he’s a young kid who has stepped up two leagues and so it’ll take him time. But I’ve a real hope for him in terms of making it into the England national team if I’m honest, he has that ability.”