Nathangelo Markelo revealed his pride at committing his future to “a big club with big ambitions” after signing a new two-year contract with Everton until June 2022.
Netherlands Under-21 international Markelo joined Everton from Dutch side FC Volendam in 2017.
A technically proficient midfielder who possesses a varied passing range and the capacity to break up opposition attacks with well-timed interceptions and tackles, Markelo has emerged as a key player for David Unsworth’s Everton Under-23s.
He was a near ever-present as the young Blues won an unprecedented Premier League 2 and Premier League Cup double in 2018/19.
“It feels good for me to sign this contract because it means Everton sees real potential in me,” Markelo told evertonfc.com.
“It gives me a lot of confidence.
“Everton is such a big club and I am so happy I have two more years to show what I can do.
“Everton is one of the biggest clubs in Europe and has big ambitions for the future. For them to show this belief in me means a lot.
“Since the first minute I joined Everton it felt like a family. Everyone is happy, they take care of you and want the best for you.
“I want to keep improving as a player and as a man and hopefully get my chance in the first team.”
Markelo has regularly featured in Everton first-team training since the Blues’ returned to USM Finch Farm following the coronavirus lockdown.
The 21-year-old says he is savouring the opportunity to test himself against established international players.
“I look at them, try to learn as much as I can and take some aspects into my game,” he added.
“It’s fantastic to learn from such great players. To train with players like Andre Gomes – who plays in the same position as me – is so important.
“Also, to be on the same training pitch as Carlo Ancelotti is amazing.
“Ever since I was young, I have known all about him because of the amount of titles he has won. It is crazy to now be training under him!”
Markelo believes his game has progressed significantly in his three years with Everton.
He credits Under-23s boss Unsworth for boosting his confidence levels and helping him develop into an accomplished all-round midfielder.
“David Unsworth has been the most important person in my football career,” he added.
“He has always believed in me and, if I needed help, he has always been there for me. I am so thankful to have him as a coach.
“I am stronger and quicker than before [joining Everton], the football here is a lot faster than in Holland so that is very important.
“I feel I have improved a lot.”