Antony Evans wants to continue the progress that has made him a strong presence for Everton’s Under-23s after signing a new deal to the end of June 2020.
Midfielder Evans joined the Blues Academy at the age of nine, breaking into the Under-23s team in 2015/16, when he scored three times in 17 Premier League 2 appearances.
The 19-year-old has been in blistering form since the turn of the year and scored both goals in the Under-23s’ 2-1 victory at Spurs in early January. His progress was further recognised last week when boss David Unsworth made him captain for the Premier League Cup tie at Barnsley – and Evans shouldered the responsibility in fine style, striking the game's only goal with 17 minutes to play.
“Everton is a great club and I am delighted to sign for another couple of years,” Evans told evertontv.
“I wanted to get a foothold in the team [this season], kick on and get a contract. We have a new [first-team] manager and new ways, so it is an exciting time at the Club.
“Ultimately, I want to try to get in the first team, whether that is through going on loan again or staying with the Under-23s and continuing to perform consistently.”
Evans spent the second half of last season with League Two Morecambe, where he scored two goals in 14 appearances.
The Kirkby-born player has hit the net five times for the Under-23s this term, having also scored a double in the 4-2 success over Arsenal back in September.
And, as he eyes the next stage of his career, he is sourcing inspiration from the succession of Academy graduates who have made it onto the first-team scene during his decade at the Club.
Evans, though, admits he still has to pinch himself when he considers the strides he has made since signing for Everton as a starry-eyed schoolboy.
“This was a long way off when I was a kid,” Evans added. “I was just enjoying football at that point. Now we are at the business end and I need to try to establish myself.
“I need to add more goals to my game. I did that against Tottenham and was unlucky not to score another one against Portsmouth [in last month's 3-0 Premier League Cup victory].
“My loan spell was an eye-opener for me – League Two was different from what I am used to. I like to get the ball on the floor and play but it was not on the floor very much!
“But I think I came back a better player and kicked on from there. It was a good learning curve, playing against real men. You learn all the tricks, the ins and outs. And that experience has helped me.”