Sam Allardyce has heaped praise on youngsters Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny after they helped Everton secure successive clean sheet victories in four days.
The pair, 21 and 20, both impressed the watching Allardyce during Wednesday’s 4-0 win over West Ham United, before again catching the eye as the Blues beat Huddersfield Town 2-0 in the new manager’s first game in charge on Saturday.
Allardyce said on arriving at Goodison Park that he hoped to allow Everton’s wealth of young talent to continue to flourish under his tutelage.
And the 63-year-old has been buoyed by the way the defensive duo have staked their claim.
“Holgate and Kenny look outstanding young talents,” said Allardyce in his post-match press conference.
“I think Jonjoe is an outstanding young man at full-back, I think his choice of ball possession is first-class for a young man, his defending is excellent, and you look at our defending today from our back four and goalkeeper and they’ve given us the platform to win the game.”
Asked about the potential of England Under-21 international Holgate, Allardyce added: “I think the potential is nearly a reality, judging on a performance like that and the performance on Wednesday.
“That potential is certainly becoming a reality and I think he’s set his standards now.”
Another youngster to make his mark as the Blues have hauled themselves back into the top half of the Premier League table is 20-year-old Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
The former Sheffield United striker scored one and set one up against the Terriers, having also turned in an industrious performance and won the penalty from which Wayne Rooney gave Everton a vital lead in midweek.
“It was a lovely little flick to get Gylfi Sigurdsson in on goal [against Huddersfield] and I’m so pleased for Dominic that he got his goal after his work on the front line,” said Allardyce. “For a young centre-forward learning his trade in the Premier League to get that goal for us at that particular time just killed Huddersfield off.”
Allardyce has only had one full training session to run the rule over his squad but admits he is encouraged by the level of talent he has inherited by taking the reins at Goodison.
He also says those players who are fighting to get out of the treatment room or didn’t feature on Saturday will get a chance to show what they can do with Everton facing a total of eight December fixtures.
“I’m happy with what I’ve seen and there’s a lot more to come,” he added. “There’s a lot more players who are injured to get fit and into the side and there’s quite a few players who have been fringe and squad players who have the opportunity to impress as much as they can over the next few weeks.
“Somewhere along the line with Christmas coming up they’ll all be needed, so they all need to stay as fit as they possibly can and seize their chance when called upon.
“I knew how good a football club it was before I took the job so I’ve got to live up to that standard, make the team better if I can and get them back to where they were last season as quickly as possible.
“I don’t know how long that will take but I will try my very best to achieve the sort of season Everton had last season, if not better.”