David Unsworth has outlined Everton Academy’s ambition to recruit high-quality young footballers from overseas as well as top local talents – and explained the wealth of benefits the Club will gain from its new international affiliate programme.
Everton Giant Unsworth took up the position of Director of Academy last September.
The role allows him to bring all of the teams below the senior men’s squad into one management structure, providing a smoother pathway through the Academy and into the First Team.
Unsworth, who continues to manage the Blues’ Under-23s side, admits there is “nothing finer” than seeing a born-and-bred Evertonian come through the ranks to perform for the Toffees’ First Team.
He explains, however, how ability and mentality are the key elements the Club looks for when identifying young players for the Academy – and the importance of Everton scouting worldwide for individuals with elite attributes.
“We’re always looking to sign quality players,” Unsworth tells evertonfc.com.
“For me, it’s important to really scour the local market.
“There’s nothing finer than a Liverpool boy coming through the system, an Evertonian who has been brought up in the city… It’s wonderful to recruit the local talent.
“You also have to look further afield, though.
"We have to abide by the rule and regulations set out by the Premier League, of course.
“But if there are quality players there – who buy into the Everton way, who we can get in and coach and are good enough – then we won’t have any hesitation in taking those quality players.”
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UNSWORTH ON EXPANSIVE NEW DIRECTOR OF ACADEMY ROLE
The Club launched its International Academy Affiliate Programme last year, which allows select football academies and institutions around the world to access support from Everton.
Teams which sign up to the programme receive specialist guidance from Everton in player and coaching development, as well as advice on growing their club operations.
When travel restrictions are lifted, clubs will be invited to visit USM Finch Farm to gain an insight into the Blues’ world-class Academy set-up. Everton staff will also make trips to affiliated clubs to share knowledge and expertise.
Several clubs and academies from the United States and Australia have already joined the Everton International Academy Affiliate Programme – and Unsworth outlined the wealth of mutual benefits the link-ups provide.
“The programme is something I couldn’t wait to get on board with,” he said.
“It promotes the great Everton name.
“We’ve got outstanding staff at Everton and I think it’s good practice to share what we do. We haven’t got any secrets. We are open, we have good people.
“And when good people deliver outstanding practice, then other people want to see that. A lot of clubs are keen to see what we do and how we do it, and we’re happy to share that.
“There are also a lot of opportunities for our coaches to see what other coaches are delivering, in terms of best practice. We can improve as well, of course.
“Also, the programme could help us identify some players. Who knows where it could lead?”
Unsworth added: “The Club will benefit from promoting ourselves in the right way.
“And I think we can send out an important message – that’s we’re doing a really good job and that we want to help and share that with other interested parties.
“It is a privilege to be involved with other clubs. I’ve spoken to a few of them and I’m really looking forward to working with them for the foreseeable future.”