Lewis Warrington has set out Everton Under-18s’ hunger to “pick up where the First Team left off” in Saturday’s mini-derby at the Liverpool FC Academy (11am GMT).
A lifelong Evertonian, Warrington revealed how he rushed home to watch Carlo Ancelotti’s Blues triumph at Anfield after playing in the Under-18s’ 1-1 draw at Leeds United last Saturday.
The talented midfielder, 18, has impressively progressed through the ranks at the Club, having joined the Blues aged six.
He has been a near ever-present for Everton Under-18s this season and has been trusted with the captaincy on several occasions by boss Paul Tait.
Birkenhead-born Warrington explained how derby match holds special significance for him.
“I’m buzzing to play in Saturday’s game,” said Warrington, who won Everton's November Goal of the Month award for his stunning free-kick in a 3-0 win over Derby County.
“It’s the fixture you look for when they first come out
“Some of the lads I’ve grown up with play for them [Liverpool], so I obviously want to get one over on them. I’ve played in the derby since Under-9 level, so every game means so much to me.
“Hopefully we can just pick up from where the First Team left off. You look at how they played and how they stuck together and that’s what we need to do, too.
🥁 | Your @Davanti_Tyres Goal of the Month for November is... another @EvertonAcademy stunner! 🎯— Everton (@Everton) December 22, 2020
🥇 Lewis Warrington, #EFCU18
Strike, Lewis! 👏 #EFC pic.twitter.com/d9SpunDOkB
“Last weekend, after our game in Leeds, we got off the coach and I had to rush home to watch the derby. I made it back 15 minutes into the game.
“I missed the first goal but I had it on the radio, so I was going mad in the car. I was made up when we won. My whole family were.
“I watched it with my dad, my brother and my mum. They are all big Blues. We were all bouncing after it.”
Tom Davies was one of Everton’s standout performers in last weekend’s Anfield victory – and Warrington outlined how he has paid close attention to the midfielder’s progress.
Davies is closing in on 150 senior appearances for the Toffees and Warrington says the 22-year-old’s mix of quality, resilience and desire makes him a perfect role model.
“I love watching Tom,” Warrington said.
“He has been playing exceptionally well in the past few weeks. It’s good to see and I analyse his game and see what I can take from it to improve.
“He just shows that you can have ups and downs, but you can come through it if you have the right attitude.
“Tyler Onyango, who has been up with the First Team, tells me Tom is a great trainer – that he works so hard and is probably one of the best players when he trains.
“That’s what you want to be like. You want to be the best player every time you step out in a game or on the training pitch.”
Warrington says manager Tait and assistant boss Keith Southern has significantly improved his game on a tactical and technical level during his time with Everton Under-18s.
He has also benefitted from expert guidance from Professional Development Coach Baines this season.
Goodison Park Season Ticket Member Warrington watched Baines excel for Everton for more than a decade from his seat in the Howard Kendall Gwladys Street End – and the teenager revealed how the legendary left-back’s quality is still apparent when he joins in during training sessions with the Under-18s.
“He’s probably one of the best players!” says Warrington.
“The way he gets the ball out of his feet to pass… You can see the quality he’s got. And he doesn’t look unfit or anything, he gets around the pitch.
“He makes us better players when you’re playing up against him.
“It’s a bit surreal [being coached by Baines].
“I’ve sat down and been through video clips with him and had a good meeting with him about where I can improve. He’s got a great understanding of the game.
“The advice he has gave me has been very helpful and he’s gave me some confidence boosters, telling me when I’ve done well.
“All the lads are grateful to have a coach like him.”
Warrington added Baines has been unequivocal in conveying what is required to play for Everton.
“Leighton tells us what you need to be an Everton player – and that rubs off on all of us,” he said.
“He’s told us you need desire, you’ve got to want to put your body on the line and want to work hard.
“And that if you do that, your quality will shine through.”