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Captain Duffy Proud Of U21s

Skipper has enjoyed responsibility of armband this season.

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Shane Duffy says he has relished the responsibility of being Everton Under-21s captain this term.

The Blues' second-string have been in fine form throughout the second half of the campaign, clinching top spot in Group One with Monday's 0-0 draw against Sunderland.

And while defender Duffy has his sights set on more first-team opportunities, he insists the duty of wearing the skipper's armband for the Under-21s has been a proud challenge to undertake.

"I've enjoyed it," he told evertontv. "It's a young group - I think I'm the oldest now.

"It's a good thing to be captain and hopefully I can show my qualities on the pitch.

"We're delighted [to progress to the final stage]. It's been a good season for us after Christmas and it's where we aimed to be. The manager asked us to go unbeaten and we did so with two games left, we're very happy."

Picking up an eighth clean sheet of the season against the Black Cats, a miserly defence has been just as pivotal to the Under-21s' 13-game unbeaten run as a free-flowing attack.

And with former centre-halves David Moyes and Alan Stubbs at the Club, Duffy explains that getting things right at the back is something that is instilled from the top.

"I think the defence has been strong all season to be honest," he said.

"We started off a bit slow in the early stage but I think we've gelled. From the first-team down, everyone's drilled for the same things through the gaffer, so we're all used to it and ready to step into the first-team."

Sealing progression to the play-off round may have removed any pressure from the final two Group One games, the first of which is at home to Chelsea on Thursday 25 April.

But despite a result not being vital against the Londoners, Duffy insists pride will keep the young Blues plugging away.

He said: "We definitely can't take our foot off the gas because after these two games, it's probably our biggest game for us to get into the semi-final of the play-offs. We'll keep going and try to stay unbeaten all the way and hopefully we can do it."

Everton Under-21s face Chelsea at the Merseyrail Community Stadium on Thursday (7pm kick-off).

Everton Season Ticket holders and FOREVERTON members are able to gain free admission to all home Under-21 fixtures at Southport.

Members of the public can gain access by payment at the turnstiles (adults £5, concessions £3). Southport Season Ticket holders will also be able to gain entry for free.

For those unable to attend, evertonfc.com and the Club's official Twitter feed will provide updates, with highlights and interviews on evertontv from Friday.

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