Everton attacker Nikola Vlasic says the Club are blessed with a group of talented young players they can “count on in the future”.
The Croatian international scored the Toffees’ third and final goal in Thursday’s Europa League victory over Apollon Limassol, as five of the Blues’ Academy graduates were handed senior debuts at the Cypriots’ GSP Stadium.
The 20-year-old, signed from Hajduk Split in August, started his first game since the Premier League clash with Arsenal on 22 October and admitted the players selected for the match in Cyprus were determined to enjoy the occasion.
He was similarly satisfied to be part of a success that extended Everton’s winning streak to a third match – despite the fact his side were unable to progress to the competition’s knockout stages, regardless of the outcome.
“It was important - everybody (outside the Club) thought it was not an important game but we thought differently,” Vlasic told evertontv.
“There are players who want to play, who have not had much chance until now… and we wanted to show ourselves.
“It is always nice to win and keep a clean sheet. This is our first win in the group stage, so we are very happy with that.
“In the locker room we had an agreement that we would enjoy the game and show our best.”
Harry Charsley, Fraser Hornby and Morgan Feeney, who appeared briefly against Atalanta a fortnight ago, all made full Everton debuts in Nicosia.
Charlsey turned in a tenacious display at left-back, while muscular 18-year-old Hornby led the Toffees’ line with some aplomb.
Under-23 skipper Feeney, meanwhile, was outstanding in the centre of defence.
There were first Everton appearances, too, for Nathan Broadhead, Anthony Gordon and Alex Denny, with the trio all coming on as second-half substitutes.
Indeed, Wales Under-19 international Broadhead’s clever touch released Vlasic to score and add to two first-half goals from the excellent Ademola Lookman.
“It was a good feeling,” added Vlasic. “It was a flick, and I felt I could flick it around the defender and nutmeg the goalkeeper.
“It is their (the young debutants’) dream and they fulfilled it today. They showed you can count on them in the future.
“When I came to the stadium and saw how many supporters were there I could not believe it. It was not an important game and they travelled for five hours on an aeroplane. It is great to have supporters like that.
“We want to continue like this. It will be a tough game on Sunday [against Liverpool] and we want to get a good result.”