Dennis Adeniran says Everton Under-23s’ taste of trophy-winning success is fuelling the young Blues’ appetite for more silverware ahead of Saturday’s Premier League Cup semi-final at Swansea City.
Everton were crowned Premier League 2 champions following a 1-0 Goodison Park victory over Brighton & Hove Albion a fortnight ago.
Midfielder Adeniran featured in every game of that victorious campaign to bank the first medal of his embryonic career.
The 20-year-old, signed from Fulham in August 2017, was back in action eight days after the title was sealed – David Unsworth’s side returning to Goodison to beat Blackburn Rovers 2-1 and book their last-four cup date in South Wales this weekend.
“After we won the league, the manager [Unsworth] told us to go for it, that we could not be complacent," Adeniran told evertonfc.com.
“The message was, ‘We can win a Double, so why not go for it?
“I have been playing academy football for 10 years and had never won a league.
“It was a fantastic feeling, especially doing it in front of all the fans who came to Goodison.
“Once you’ve had a taste, you want more and more.
“I want to win everything now, every competition I play in, I want to win it.”
Adeniran made five senior appearances for Fulham and scored one goal prior to switching to Everton early last season.
And he insists his game has come on leaps and bounds under the charge of Under-23 boss Unsworth – an arch-believer in the idea of success accelerating a footballer's development.
“I have seen the difference at Everton… here, the message is, ‘Win, win, win’,” said Adeniran, whose side are tackling Swansea for the right to face Newcastle United in the final.
“Every game matters.
"We are here to develop and you do that by winning games – and winning trophies.
“Unsy has instilled that in my game: ‘Win, win, win, no matter the game or what you have to give, just win’.
“He always told us, ‘Win the league and it will help further your career'.
“If you win a championship, you must be doing something right and developing as a footballer.”
Everton Under-23s finished their league campaign like a steam train, winning five and drawing one of a seven-game run crowned by the victory over Brighton.
Unsworth’s side crammed a Premier League Cup last-16 victory over Sunderland into that period, too – then emerged to topple Blackburn in the last eight.
And Adeniran has no fears over Everton running out of legs at Swansea’s Liberty Stadium, the Londoner pointing to his team’s habit of shining in elite surroundings and an intense pre-season as reasons why the Blues remain high on energy heading over the River Severn.
“Playing at top stadiums, with bigger crowds, brings a different pressure and you have to embrace it,” added Adeniran.
“It is a first-team environment and pushes us even more.
“Right back in pre-season, we were all thinking about all the running we were doing. But we have been the fittest team in the league, I think.
“You have to get your head down for six weeks, work hard, and the rest of the season takes care of itself.
“Unsy got us extra fit and pushed us to our limits, so when we’re on the pitch we’ll never be let down by our fitness.
“I think Swansea will be wary of us. We are champions and we’re not easy to play against.
“We are competitive and get in our opponents’ faces and we can play as well.
“We are a tight bunch and have a strong bond.
“The morale in the camp is really high. We gel and, most importantly, want to work for each other on the pitch.
“We’ve remained grounded and could not afford to let the league title go to our heads.
“We want to finish the season on a high and that means winning two more games.”