Tyler Onyango is determined to “maximise my potential” after a promising start to the season with Everton Under-23s.
The 17-year-old midfielder is progressively establishing himself in David Unsworth’s team after making the leap from Under-18 football last term.
Onyago has begun three league games this season – mostly recently starting and finishing Monday’s scoreless draw with Tottenham Hotspur – and will hope to retain his spot for Friday’s trip to Manchester United.
The player, who signed a three-year professional contract in July, insists his development is being enhanced by Unsworth’s ambition to win every match – an outlook Everton will adopt at United this week.
Everton are sixth in the embryonic Premier League 2 table, while United are waiting for their first win following a 3-3 draw at Arsenal on Saturday.
“We go out to win every single game and, for us young lads, that is massive in creating a positive mindset," Onyango told evertonfc.com.
“It makes us more competitive and gives us a drive to want to win, which helps us improve.
“If you go into a game with a mindset of wanting to win, you will maximise your performance.
“It is always a big game when Everton play Manchester United, no matter the level.
“It is important you perform well and win the game.
“It has been a good start to the season personally,
“My goal coming into it was to gain my place in the team and keep hold if it.
“I have been with the Under-23s one year but I am only 17 and have loads to do in my development.
“I listen and learn every day and take in as much as possible.
“I want to maximise my potential and see where that goes.”
Onyango joined Everton aged eight and made speedy progress with Paul Tait’s Under-18s following a debut in March last year.
He played 12 Under-18 Premier League matches in 2019/20, steadily transitioning to the older age group.
In addition to working under Unsworth with Everton Under-23s, Onyango is profiting from the experience of assistant manager John Ebbrell, a former midfielder with 265 Everton appearances after graduating from the Club’s youth system.
“I do a lot of work with John Ebbrell, he was a midfielder at the top level and I take as much as I can from him,” said Onyango.
“He gives me bits of advice in every session and after every game and I take on board everything he tells me.
“Unsy demands we’re the hardest workers on the pitch.
“He wants us to dominate our opponent, dictate the game and win the ball back quickly.
“Unsy and John and Franny Jeffers drum into me every day to play quicker and know what’s around me on pitch; to have a picture.
“They are the main things I have improved over the past year.
“The demands out of possession are higher, as well.
“You have to maintain a good shape and my discipline within the shape has improved a lot.”
Onyango was joined in midfield against Spurs by 22-year-old Beni Baningime, who has 12 senior Everton appearances.
Matthew Pennington, another with First-Team experience, was excellent at right-back.
“They have played in the Premier League and are great to have around and talk to,” added Onyango.
“They help us through games and are always there to help you try to improve.
“Monday was a really tough game.
“We didn’t start as well as we wanted but were resilient and determined and stuck in the game and took a point against a good side
“We’ve had a couple of great results, against Leicester and Derby [3-0 and 4-1 wins], and want to kick on from those.”
Onyango added: “I am loving this season.
"Everyone was itching to get back after a long break and you appreciate being on the pitch even more.
“Every session has been competitive and the games have been good.
“It has been a really positive start to the season and I am really enjoying my football.”