Morgan Feeney emphasised his pride in captaining a double-winning Everton Under-23s team as he described scoring the winner in the Premier League Cup final as “an amazing feeling”.
The defender’s bullet header just before the hour mark proved decisive as the young Blues beat Newcastle United 1-0 at Goodison Park.
The victory caps a wonderful season for David Unsworth’s talented team, who lifted the Premier League 2 title in April.
Around 1,500 fans were at Goodison to roar on the Toffees against Newcastle, and Academy graduate Feeney revealed how celebrating a cup-winning goal in front of his fellow Evertonians represented one of the most special moments of his fledgling career.
“I just went wild!” he told evertontv. “The feeling was amazing. To have those fans there tonight, it makes it that bit more special.
“I could hear them all shouting and cheering, though I was probably making half the noise myself!
“I pride myself in clean sheets, but it was great to pop up with the winner tonight – and next season I want to get a few more goals.
“It’s been a great season to win two cups, and that’s what we set out to do. We’ve got a great group here and to captain them to the trophy, I’m really proud.”
The young Blues’ success this season has been built on the foundation of a rock-solid defence, which centre-back Feeney has marshalled superbly.
The 20-year-old, who was sidelined for six months between March and September last year after undergoing knee surgery, has seen his outstanding form over the campaign recognised with a nomination for the Premier League 2 Player of the Season award. Everton striker Bassala Sambou is also on the shortlist for the prize.
Bootle-born Feeney was eager to highlight the role of his teammates in helping him reach peak form.
“I couldn’t have done it without the lads – it’s all of us together, as a team,” he said.
“After the injury, it doesn’t get any better to now be lifting trophies. Obviously, I’m proud with how I’ve came back, but I’m really proud of the team as well.
“We’re winners. We’re all winners. It shows in our performances. We have not lost many this year in all competitions.
“These are the two biggest domestic trophies [Premier League 2 and the Premier League Cup] you can win, and we’ve done it.
“Every game, we believe we can win. We knew Newcastle was going to be a tough game, but we believe in ourselves and we got the job done.”