David Unsworth expects to welcome back a “firing and very confident” Fraser Hornby from international duty after the striker netted five goals in two games for Scotland Under-21s.
The 18-year-old frontman has been away with his country for two European Under-21 Championship qualifiers and after scoring a hat-trick in the 3-0 defeat of Andorra, he netted a brace in Scotland’s 2-1 success over Holland on Tuesday.
Hornby has been a regular for Everton’s Under-23s this season but is yet to get off the mark for his club, although Unsworth is confident the player's purple patch for Scotland will give him the confidence boost he needs heading back to Merseyside.
“It’s great that he’s sticking away the chances,” said Under-23 boss Unsworth. “He should come back from international duty firing and very confident, so that will be great for us as well.
“He’s been doing okay for us. He’s been creating opportunities for himself but not got on the scoresheet yet. But those goals will do him the world of good so hopefully he’ll be up and running for us when he gets back.
“His work-rate has been great and he’s formed a decent partnership with Bassala Sambou. The way the two of them work together and press is key to how we play.”
The international break may mean both Premier League and Under-23s fixtures are on hold, but the same cannot be said for Everton’s Academy sides.
Paul Tait's Under-18s beat Blackburn Rovers 6-0 on Saturday to stretch their winning start to the Premier League North campaign to a fourth match.
But as Head of Academy Coaching Sean Lundon explains, the Club embraces the development opportunities international football provides for its players, even if it means being without them for short periods of the season.
“First team games may stop with the international break but our programme continues, despite many of our players being away on international duty,” said Lundon.
“We had a number of Academy players away with their respective countries at various age groups, including a number of schoolboys making their international debuts.
“It was also great to see Fraser scoring all those goals for Scotland Under-21s, Anthony Gordon making his England Under-18s debut and Academy graduate Antonee Robinson start for the USA senior team against Richarlison's Brazil.
“Players being on international duty also opens up additional opportunities for those not currently in the starting 11 for their respective age groups. This adds important competition for places which is a key ingredient to success.”