Youngsters Need Mental Strength
Academy coach Sheedy looks to Youth Cup opener at Palace.
Academy coach Kevin Sheedy has challenged his young stars to show their mental strength as they begin the FA Youth Cup campaign against Crystal Palace on Tuesday.
The game will be played at Selhurst Park and Everton will be looking to improve on last season's run to the fourth round where they were knocked out by Middlesbrough.
The Blues are the current Premier League Academy champions, but the Youth Cup is unquestionably the most prestigious competition for the country's young players.
Everton have lifted the trophy on three occasions, most recently in 1998, and Sheedy believes his players must take the right psychological approach to the game if they are to progress.
"Young players and professional footballers need a mental strength and they've got to be able to handle big games and perform," Sheedy told evertonfc.com.
"They can't let the occasion get the better of them, and it's all in their education and progression - it will be a mental test for them and it will nice to see the ones who are up for the challenge.
"In the league the best team wins it over the season, and we did that this year. But the FA Youth Cup is like the FA Cup; you get one chance and on any given day anybody is capable of beating anybody.
“But we intend to have a good run and we're looking forward to going down there and putting in a good performance.
"If we play as well as we can do and get a little bit of luck on the night that you need then we should have enough to edge the game."
Sheedy revealed Everton have watched Crystal Palace in recent weeks, a club who boast Academy graduates including Sean Scannell, Nathaniel Clyne, Kieran Cadogan and the highly rated Wilfried Zaha in their first team squad.
And Sheedy says there are certainly more exciting prospects in Palace's current Academy side.
He said: "We've watched Crystal Palace on a number of occasions and they are a really good outfit and it will be a really tough test. But if we perform like we have done and take the preparation we've done into the match then we should be able to give them a good game.
"They play as a team, they are really hard working, they've got a system that they stick to but sometimes leave themselves open to the counter attack.
"But they've got good players in good areas, the two strikers are quick and lively and get in good positions, the midfield try and pass the ball and they are decent at set plays as well. Overall they are good at what they do and it's up to us to impose ourselves on the game."