Ronald Koeman has congratulated Everton Under-23s on their Premier League 2 title success.
The Dutchman was encouraged to see the young Blues confirmed as champions when nearest-rivals Manchester City lost at Liverpool on Monday evening - but reiterated there is a still a big step for the victorious players to take to one day reach his first team.
“I’m pleased for them,” Koeman told evertontv. “You play football to win titles. We know it’s the Under-23s but it’s always good to win the title because they have worked hard, they’ve played well and they showed that they are the strongest this season in the Under-23s league.
"It is not the most important thing, because the most important thing for young players is their development. [Proving] they are ready for the first team, that is the most important. If they can do that and win the title, that’s even more perfect.”
Koeman praised the job done by Under-23s manager David Unsworth and his staff and said he will continue to monitor the progress of the Club’s up-and-coming talents.
“They’ve worked really well,” he added. “They’ve played some good football, they were strong. They show always really good motivation and, if you saw the training session this morning, I think we had a total of seven or eight young players in the squad.
“Next season, in the pre-season, we will use other young players but sometimes winning the title does not mean they are ready for the first team. Sometimes they need more patience.
"I think we are ready to have some young ones in the squad but we’ll go step-by-step and we will see which young players will be ready for next season.”