Carlo Ancelotti is ready to invest “a lot of trust and confidence” in Everton’s teenage forward Anthony Gordon.
Goodison Park Academy graduate Gordon followed his first senior start against Liverpool last month with a terrific display in Everton’s defeat of Leicester City on Wednesday.
He supplied the assist for his side’s opening goal, advancing into the box and serving up a precise centre for Richarlison to thud home.
Ancelotti was disclosing his admiration for the precocious Gordon within days of being appointed at Goodison back in December.
And the 19-year-old player has validated his Italian manager’s first impression, his explosive training ground form following football’s shutdown rewarded with selection for the meetings with Liverpool and Leicester.
“He is doing really well and is ready to play for Everton, no doubt,” Ancelotti told evertonfc.com.
“He improved in the past six months and how he is playing [in training and games] gives me a lot of confidence and trust in him.
“He is a player with personality.
“You can find a lot of players with quality, but you have to show strong personality.
“In football, you need players with personality and character.
“Players who are not afraid to make decisions.
“Anthony is one of these.
“He is ready to be with us and part of what we are doing.”
Gordon made his Everton debut as a 16-year-old, becoming the Club’s sixth youngest player when he came off the bench in a Europa League game against Apollon Limassol 79 days before his 17th birthday in December 2017.
He had to wait two years for his next first-team action when caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson introduced the teenager during a Carabao Cup tie with Leicester towards the end of 2019.
And Gordon’s progress has accelerated under the charge of former AC Milan and Real Madrid manager Ancelotti.
The player was given two substitute’s appearances before the coronavirus pandemic forced football into shutdown in March.
Gordon used his time away from USM Finch Farm to renew his training efforts and reported back to make an irresistible claim for Premier League selection.
Both his starts came on the left of midfield and Gordon demonstrated exactly why Ancelotti raves about the player's maturity.
He was defensively alert and aggressive, making four tackles against Leicester – the second most of any player on the pitch behind Seamus Coleman (5) – in addition to completing two interceptions and playing two key passes, including the one for his first top-flight assist.
The latest in a very long line of homegrown Everton players, Gordon has been joined in first-team training by a number of his fellow youngsters, among them 18-year-old Jarrad Branthwaite, signed from Carlisle United in January.
“It is a good experience for the young players, they are really serious and I am happy with their attitude and how they approach training,” said Ancelotti.
“Branthwaite is training with us, he is really young but a really skilful defender with a lot of ability.
“Gordon, honestly, he is ready to play every game.
“He has the confidence to show his quality and is working really well.
“I pick him because he deserves to play and can help us.
“He is physically good and has a lot of ability and technical skills.
"And he is still young, so he has a lot of room to improve.”