Foulds: Under-23s Eager To Maintain Momentum With Cup Win

Matty Foulds says the Everton Under-23s squad is brimming with confidence as the young Blues prepare for their Premier League Cup game against Blackburn Rovers on Friday.

The Toffees head into the contest on the back of a hard-fought 1-0 win at Swansea City on Monday night – a result which saw them extend their lead at the top of Premier League 2 to four points.

Their attention now turns to the Cup clash at Southport FC’s Merseyrail Community Stadium (kick-off 7pm). 

Everton are four points clear at the top of their group and a draw will ensure they progress into the last 16 of the competition.

Defender Foulds says the team are determined to maintain momentum.

“Every game is a big one now and we’ve got to go out there and show our quality every time,” he said.

“We’ve got talent throughout the team and we’re a tight-knit group, too.

“It is a good feeling to up there challenging in the league and in a good position in the cup. We are confident and we want to win trophies.”

Having spent three frustrating months on the sidelines recovering from an ankle ligament injury, Foulds was eager to make his presence felt upon his return to competitive action last month.

Doncaster Rovers’ Keepmoat Stadium would be the stage for his comeback – the defender coming on as second-half substitute as Everton Under-23s took on the south Yorkshire side in their previous Premier League Cup clash.

The young Blues had fallen 3-1 down to Rovers but, just 15 minutes after his introduction, Foulds made a telling impact on the game.

After Nathan Broadhead’s inviting free-kick delivery, the 20-year-old scrambled the ball into the net to reduce the arrears.

His goal sprang David Unsworth’s team into life and Fraser Hornby’s subsequent equaliser ensured a share of the points.

“It felt so good to get on the pitch and score,” Foulds explains. “Well…I’ll say it was my goal! Some people said it might have come off one of their defenders, but I’m claiming it! 

“I was just over the moon, though.”

Before his injury, Foulds had been excelling as part of watertight Toffees backline.

Whether deployed at left-back or in the centre of defence, the Bury-born youngster’s defensive nous, strength in the tackle and assurance in possession consistently impressed.

Foulds admits his enforced spell out of action represented a significant blow.

“It’s been a tough three months,” he says. “It [the injury] didn’t happen in a game, I just rolled my ankle in training. I didn’t think too much of it, but when I went to the physio he said, ‘It’s not looking good’.

“It disheartened me a little bit because I’d had a good run of games, I was doing well and this came along out of nowhere. It was a shock.

“I snapped two of the ligaments in my ankle. It could have been worse, I suppose… But I’ve got through it, which is the main thing.

“I’m back now and I feel strong and ready to go. There have been no issues since I’ve come back, which shows my rehab went well. The physios spent a lot of time with me and it’s credit to them how well I feel now. 

“I came back a week ahead of schedule, too. It’s great to be back among the lads again.”

Foulds says he is determined to further develop his game and explained how boss Unsworth is an ideal mentor to learn from.

The Under-23s manager made a total of 350 appearances for Everton during two spells at the Club as a player.

Unsworth - who similarly to Foulds could operate as a central defender or left-back - also enjoyed stints at the likes of West Ham United, Sheffield United and Portsmouth in a 17-year professional career.

Foulds says Unsworth is an inspiring leader.

“He’s great with us,” he says “He has got so much experience in my position, and he gives me lots of great advice.

“As a group, he helps us when we need help and he criticises us if we need it, which is good. You’ve got to take that on board and learn from it. 

“And when you’re doing well, he’s the first one to praise you. 

“The lads love training – and he is involved in everything.”

Related Articles