Everton Under-18s host Burnley at USM Finch Farm on Saturday (11am) aiming to head into the Christmas break on a winning note. Ahead of the contest, we caught up with manager Paul Tait, who discussed a fascinating recent presentation delivered by First Team management, Carlo Ancelotti's approachable nature and humility, and the quality he hopes his young players will learn from Professional Development Coach Leighton Baines...
Paul Tait says an insightful meeting with Everton First Team manager Carlo Ancelotti and assistant Davide Ancelotti provided a “brilliant” learning experience as the Club seeks to embed an elite set of principles in each of its senior and age-group teams.
Everton Under-18s boss Tait explained how former AC Milan and Real Madrid manager Ancelotti’s openness in sharing his ideas will aid his development as a coach and, ultimately, benefit the Blues’ emerging talents.
In an interview with evertontv earlier this month, Director of Academy David Unsworth outlined how the Club “wants the same messages given by Carlo in the First Team to be said all the way down to our pre-Academy boys”.
Unsworth was present at the meeting with Carlo and Davide Ancelotti, alongside Tait, Everton Under-18s assistant manager Keith Southern, Head of Academy Coaching John Ebbrell and Under-23s coach Franny Jeffers.
Tait explained how the key factors which shape the First Team’s philosophy and the Club’s vision were crystallised.
“Davide delivered a presentation focused on the First Team’s way of playing and their beliefs,” Tait told evertonfc.com.
“His presentation was absolutely fantastic. And we had Carlo involved in the meeting, which was brilliant for us.
“It helps us to see what it’s like at the top end of the Club.
“And if we can align that with what we’re doing in the Academy – and for me, what we’re doing with the Under-18s – that can only be a good thing.
“The players will be the ones who benefit the most. It will be absolutely brilliant for them.”
Tait says he has savoured the opportunity to learn from three-time Champions League-winning boss Ancelotti, describing the Italian as “a master of his craft”.
“It’s an honour to be in the room with someone like Carlo,” he adds.
“As soon as you meet him, the first thing that hits you is his humility and his openness.
“Because he’s got such a big reputation and he’s done so much in the game, he’s got that assurance about himself.
“There are no secrets about him. To get up close to him is absolutely brilliant for me as a coach.
“As coaches, it’s about continually trying to better ourselves. We have one of the best managers around in Carlo – as well as his fantastic staff – and they are willing to share their ideas and philosophies.
“I think [Director of Football] Marcel Brands realises with Carlo as manager, we’d be fools not to tap into that knowledge and expertise and wisdom.
“That can only be good for the long-term future of the Club.”
Tait believes the Club’s youth programme is well-placed to move forward under the leadership of Brands, Unsworth, Ebbrell and Everton Academy CEO Joel Waldron.
He also saluted the influence of Professional Development Coach Leighton Baines. The Everton great took up the position in September, which sees him work with Tait’s Under-18s side, the Under-23s squad and young First Team players.
Tait added: “What we’re looking to do is embed a set of behaviours and principles that look like an Everton team [in every age group].
“I’m working a lot more closely with David Unsworth now he’s in his dual role [as Director of Academy and Under-23s manager].
“He trusts me and he knows we’re working off the same page.
“Leighton has come in and been a terrific addition.
“When he’s been working with us, he’s been great. His attention to detail is absolutely top drawer and he’s going to be really important in aligning things from the First Team to the Under-18s.
“My first impressions of him are he’s a bit of a perfectionist, which will hopefully rub off on the players.”