Everton Youth Helping Vlasic Flourish

Everton’s abundance of young talent have helped Nikola Vlasic hit the ground running, says Ronald Koeman.

The 19-year-old Croatian joined the Toffees on transfer deadline day to swell the ranks of youngsters playing big roles in Koeman’s first-team squad.

Having made his debut in the defeat to Tottenham Hotspur, Vlasic has impressed in his three appearances to date, including runouts against Atalanta and Sunderland.

Indeed, Koeman highlighted his display in the Europa Clash against the Italian side, and has been happy with how the former Hajduk Split man has adjusted to his new surroundings, something made easier with the amount of youngsters within the group.

“Nikola has adapted to the team really well,” Koeman told evertontv. “He is a good player and that’s the reason that we signed him. He is young – only 19 – but he has a lot of experience and he can play out of a lot of positions.

“He was strong on the ball against Sunderland and also against Atalanta in the Europa League, and he has shown that he is a big talent.

“It has helped him having a lot of first-team players of a similar age around him. It is always good for young players to have other youngsters around them. They are the same level in terms of their development at Everton.

“In that way, we have a bright future because if you look at the team from Wednesday night, we ended the game with six or seven players under the age of 22 years old.

“That’s really good and what the Club needs. Lets hope that every one of those players can go on developing like everybody is expecting.”

Vlasic will have the chance to continue his early form when Bournemouth visit Merseyside on Saturday. The Cherries have turned a corner of late, with two straight wins after a tough start to the campaign.

A come-from-behind 2-1 win over newly-promoted Brighton was soon followed by safe passage through to the fourth round of the Carabao Cup on Wednesday, again against the Seagulls.

Koeman is wary of the threat posed by Eddie Howe’s improving Cherries. “Bournemouth had a good result last weekend and again in the Cup on Wednesday,” he added. “They are normally a team that are really successful in terms of how the manager Eddie wants them to play football.

“They have had two really good seasons in the Premier League and, yes, they have had a difficult start to the season but so have we. It makes it a tough game for both sides for this Saturday.”

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