Unsworth: Releasing Players Is So Tough

David Unsworth has admitted informing young players they are being released is the toughest part of his job.

Earlier this summer, several members of his title-winning Under-23s squad were told they wouldn’t be offered new deals by the Club, and Unsworth described it as ‘heart-breaking’.

“It’s really, really tough,” he said. “It’s one thing that just never gets any easier, even after all these years of being a coach. It’s so tough to tell somebody that they are no longer required for Everton Football Club.

“It’s part of the game and they know it and so do I, but that certainly doesn’t make it any easier. It’s heart-breaking and it really upsets me.”

Morgan Feeney, Alex Denny, Matty Foulds, Manasse Mampala, Korede Adedoyin and Kieran Phillips were all released last month after the Premier League 2 season suffered an early finish due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“You know they’ve given you everything they’ve got and you want them to have a career as a professional footballer but what you have to be as a coach is completely honest with the players,” stressed Unsworth.

“You have to tell them exactly where they are at in their career and try to get them at the best level possible as quickly as possible.  In an ideal world I would want all my players to play for the first team but, unfortunately, we know that’s not going to happen.”

Young players released can always take inspiration from the amount of former Blues who are still operating in the Football League. Everton always does its utmost to make sure that they find another club.

“I know how it feels for them and we always make sure these boys have the very best exit plan,” Unsworth added. “We speak to agents and we make phone calls to managers. I got a call not long ago from another manager about a couple of our players who had been released and I said straight away ‘take them on because they’ll be fantastic for you and won’t let you down.’

“We try to get them fixed up as best we can.”