Lee Carsley says Everton’s collection of burgeoning English talent are “serious about their football” and “passionate” about playing for the Toffees.
Former Blues midfielder Carsley has worked at close quarters with a host of Everton youngsters in his position as assistant to England Under-21 boss Aidy Boothroyd.
In his first match with the Young Lions, after being appointed back in August, Carsley saw Dominic Calvert-Lewin score on his Under-21 debut in a European Championship qualifying draw with Holland.
Calvert-Lewin, Jonjoe Kenny, Ademola Lookman, Kieran Dowell and Tom Davies were all involved as England chalked up subsequent victories over Latvia, Scotland and Andorra, where Davies scored the only goal of the game.
“I always gravitate towards the Everton lads during international camps, to see how they are getting on and what is happening at the Club,” Carsley told evertonfc.com.
“I have been really impressed – not only with their ability, but also their attitude.
“They are proper young men. They are serious about their football. They are passionate about playing for Everton and passionate about winning – and possess a real desire to succeed.”
A minor hamstring problem has forced midfielder Davies to withdraw from the England Under-21 squad preparing for Friday’s match in Ukraine.
The 19-year-old's industry and skill has nevertheless caught the eye of Carsley, who reserved individual praise for a number of Everton players – including Kieran Dowell, the attacker excelling out on loan at Championship outfit Nottingham Forest, where Carsley’s former Goodison team-mate David Weir is assistant boss.
“Kieran Dowell is a real player, he has really impressed me and he is doing well at Forest with Davie Weir and Mark Warburton,” said Carsley.
“I had not seen Jonjoe Kenny for a year (before the Holland game early in September) and he really has come on.
“Dominic is the one making all the noise at the minute, it is very difficult for a young player to be wearing the centre-forward shirt for Everton and he is handling it well.
“Tom Davies has so much energy and potential. I think if he keeps getting pushed in the right direction, we have a top player on our hands there.
“The Academy has done so well for Everton.”
Carsley, who combines his international post with his duties as right-hand man to Birmingham City boss Steve Cotterill, made 199 appearances for Everton in nearly six years with the Club.
He was an integral member of the Toffees side that finished fourth in the Premier League in 2004/05 and eventually left for hometown team Birmingham in 2008.
The 43-year-old, who was signed from Coventry City by former Blues boss Walter Smith in February 2002, still counts himself as a devout Evertonian.
And he is optimistic that an injection of confidence will help propel the Toffees up the Premier League table.
“I think they have some really good individuals… some players who get you off your seat,” said Carsley.
“The new players need time to bed in. But the team now, on paper, is probably the strongest we have had for a while.
“Now they just need a bit of good fortune, a bit of confidence and belief, and I think we will be on our way.”