Everton Under-18s will aim to build on last weekend's 2-1 win at Blackburn Rovers when Manchester City visit USM Finch Farm on Saturday (11am kick-off). Ahead of the game, we caught up with centre-back Eli Campbell, who revealed the key reasons for his impressive form this season...
Everton Under-18s defender Eli Campbell believes improving his tactical awareness with the aid of the Club’s expert coaches has elevated his game to a new level.
A strong, composed centre-back, the 17-year-old has emerged as an important player for the young Blues this season.
The youngster credits the support and guidance given by the coaching staff at Everton – as well as intense competition for places in the Under-18s’ starting XI – for driving his development.
“I feel like I’ve progressed massively,” Campbell told evertonfc.com.
“There’s a lot of players in the squad in my position and, at the start of the season, I wasn’t getting in the team.
“But I had good feedback from the coaches, who let me know what I needed to do to improve.
“I got in the team and feel I've done well.
“I think the main aspect of my game that has improved is my game management.
“The coaches in the Under-18s – and in the Under-23s when I train with them – have helped so much.”
Campbell says enhancing his communication skills is a further key target as he strives to continue progressing.
“There are a few different characters in the team and some players that are louder than others,” says Campbell, who joined the Everton Academy aged 13.
This video is for Season Ticket Holders, Official Members and 19/20 Hospitality Members
This content is available for free to Digital Members
Free Digital Membership will provide you with the best possible experience when logged into the website, including access to the latest digital content.
Digital members will receive a monthly newsletter and get access to exclusive videos and regular member competitions offering money can’t buy prizes.
Your Digital account will also enable you to buy any tickets on general sale, and if you’re an Official member or Season Ticket Holder, the same login will allow you to access and manage your ticketing account.
To view this content you need to be a Season Ticket Holder, Hospitality Member or Official Member.
HIGHLIGHTS: BLACKBURN U18S 1-2 EVERTON U18S
“Sean McAllister is the captain and he helps the team a lot. He’s very vocal. He lets people know when they’re doing things right and gives good constructive criticism, too.
“For me as a centre-back, communication is so important. I feel like I have improved a lot on it but I still have some way to go.”
Manchester-born Campbell revealed his father inspired his passion for the game – “ever since I was little, I’ve been playing and going to football with my dad and older brother”.
His football idol, meanwhile, happens to be one of a host of defenders who have flourished under the guidance of Everton First-Team boss Carlo Ancelotti.
“Sergio Ramos is still the best centre-back in football, in my view,” he says. “His ability on the ball and defending is incredible.
“He’s capable of scoring goals, too. He’s just a brilliant, brilliant player.”
Campbell’s focus is now fixed on helping Everton - currently fifth in the Under-18 Premier League (North) standings - enjoy a successful second half of the season.
“We’ve got good individual players and collectively we’re improving,” he added.
“I’m confident we can climb the table and that's what we're all working towards."
Everton Under-18s welcome third-placed Manchester City to USM Finch Farm on Saturday (11am). Look out for a match report and reaction on evertonfc.com.