Everton Under-23s return to Premier League 2 action on Friday night, with David Unsworth's side taking on Tottenham Hotspur at Southport FC's Pure Stadium (7pm kick-off).
Ahead of the game, evertonfc.com caught up with goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly, who spoke to us about how the intense competition between talented young goalkeepers Harry Tyrer and Nico Hansen (both pictured above) is driving up standards.
Crosby-born Tyrer has started the majority of the young Blues’ matches so far this season, with his athleticism, sharp reflexes and command of his penalty area consistently impressing.
The 17-year-old has Hansen breathing down his neck for a starting place, however.
Denmark Under-19 international Hansen has seamlessly stepped into the side when called upon, helping the Toffees battle out a 0-0 draw at Wolverhampton Wanderers and a 2-2 draw with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
“To have two talented young keepers going head-to-head is only a good thing for the lads at Everton,” Kelly explained.
“As a young pro, you have got to be able to deal with competition because you are going to have that throughout your career.
“They are both good characters. I want to help them develop, passing on my experience as a player and a coach, and give them the best chance of being the best goalkeepers they can be.”
This season represents Tyrer’s first with Everton Under-23s, having been promoted from Blues’ Under-18s squad.
Kelly says the glovesman’s strong mentality and hunger to learn have been key to his successful transition.
“He’s been fantastic for us,” Kelly says. “He wants to progress. He is doing that in games and he’s getting that match experience.
“I want to help him continue to improve, so he can make the right decisions at the right times and, crucially, under pressure. That’s something he is doing better and better now.
“He has got a very good temperament. We’re very pleased with him.”
Kelly was also eager to highlight how well Hansen has applied himself as he strives to win his place in the team.
Kelly – who combines his job at Everton with the role of goalkeeping coach of the senior Republic of Ireland team – racked up more than 450 club appearances and won 34 caps for Ireland during a 16-year professional playing career.
“It’s about man-management and being able to recognise certain signs,” Kelly says. “Nico had a tough year with injury last season, he missed virtually the whole campaign.
“He’s been training hard with us and has been away with Denmark Under-19s, which will do him the world of good.
“I’ve got 35 years of experience in goalkeeping at every level and I draw on that.
“As a goalkeeping coach, it’s up to me to explain things, look at certain scenarios and make sure everyone fighting for a spot is sharp and ready to take their chance when it comes along.”
Friday's Under-23s game against Tottenham Hotspur is FREE for all Season Ticket, Lounge and Official Members. Entry is otherwise £5 for adults and £3 for concessions.