Joe Anderson says Everton’s expertise in developing homegrown talent was a major incentive when extending his stay at Goodison Park.
Centre-back Anderson has signed a new 12-month contract, tying the 20-year-old to the Club until the end of June 2022.
He played 20 times for Everton Under-23s last term, growing into a valuable figure in the middle of defence following a switch from left wing in his second Under-18s campaign in 2018/19.
Anderson, who credits Under-23s manager David Unsworth for the seamless nature of his positional change, has seen contemporary Anthony Gordon advance from Academy to First Team.
Similar progression is on Anderson’s radar, albeit the player – who agreed his first professional deal in the summer of 2019 – is reserving his focus for a fast-approaching pre-season.
“It is an unbelievable feeling the first time [you sign an Everton contract] and exactly the same the second time,” Anderson told evertontv.
“It is an absolute pleasure to sign for the Club.
“Over the past two years I have developed a lot, so I am really looking to kick on this year.
“Anthony is a close friend of mine and you can see… if you commit yourself to this club and put everything into it, they are only going to help you and try to get you to the top.
“I am going to start my pre pre-season now and come back fitter and stronger.
“I am one of the senior [Under-23] lads and want more responsibility… to take a few younger lads under my wing and help them through their first years.
“For me [the aim is] to make sure I smash it in the pre-season games and cement my starting spot for the beginning of the season.”
Anderson, who joined Everton aged 15, was frequently involved in First-Team training last term.
And he supplemented coaching and advice from former defender Unsworth – an Everton youth product who played 350 games for the Club – by talking to a crop of current senior stars.
“I spoke to Mason [Holgate] and Michael [Keane], they were just perfect, letting me know little details and asking about my game,” said Anderson.
“They’ve been there and done it and speaking to them is only going to help my game.
“Ben Godfrey has come in, too.
“You look up to those players and aspire to be like them.
“Training with the First Team, you can compare yourself to lads playing week in, week out in the Premier League.
“We share the same complex and it helps being around them all the time.
“You feel like one of them and get used to the speed of everything.”