'Young Blues Will Benefit From Europa Education'

by Paul McNamara

Ronald Koeman says Everton’s involvement in Europe will speed up the footballing education of his highly-talented collection of youngsters.

Six Everton players were named in the England Under-21 squad this week for European Championship qualifiers against Holland and Latvia in early September.

Two of those men – Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman – lined up for Koeman’s side in Hajduk Split’s febrile Stadion Poljud on Thursday night.

Gylfi Sigurdsson struck 12 seconds after half-time to equalise Josip Radosevic’s first-half goal, and Jordan Pickford saved a 65th-minute penalty, as the Blues drew 1-1 to seal their progress to the Europa League group stage.

Tom Davies played as a second-half substitute to add to his appearance from the bench in last week’s first leg at Goodison Park.

“They need to learn from this (playing in Split),” Koeman told evertontv. “It is different. It is intimidating. 

“Ademola had some difficulties in the first half, and Dominic had some difficulties in the second half. They need to know the professional way to play in these kinds of games.

“You need to keep the ball instead of making an action… like in the situation before the penalty when Dominic lost the ball in the corner, because he tried a flick. 

“You play the ball out and defend the throw in. But he will learn from this.”

Calvert-Lewin has played some part in all of Everton’s six games this season and started both Premier League matches – against Stoke and Manchester City.

Koeman has been thrilled with the 20-year-old’s ongoing development after he broke into the Blues’ first-team last term following an August deadline-day move from Sheffield United.

And from a wider perspective the manager says his side will head to Chelsea on Sunday in good spirits after delivering two solid away displays during the previous six days.

“It is a really tough week,” added Koeman. “We had to make some changes to the team in Split and I was really pleased with all the players.

“I am really happy with Dominic’s performances but he is still young. We had all the young boys selected by England Under-21s and the most difficult thing for young players is being consistent with their performances.

“But Dominic is an exception – like Tom Davies – and he is doing really well.

“The overall feeling is good. We are happy and that makes it a little bit more easy to go and start again on Sunday.”

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