David Unsworth has revealed his excitement about leading a “new generation” of Everton Under-23s players into the new season – and has challenged the Blues’ emerging talents to seize their chance to impress First Team manager Rafa Benitez.
Unsworth steadily integrated members of the Everton’s Under-18s squad into his team in 2020/21. Indeed, Everton Under-23s’ final game of the campaign – a 4-0 Premier League win over Southampton – featured seven players aged 18 or under.
They are set to form the core of Unsworth’s side this season and have already impressed during the young Blues’ summer friendly matches.
Everton Under-23s have won all three of their pre-season games so far – seeing off senior opposition in Warrington Rylands, Guiseley and Bradford Park Avenue – and scored 14 goals in the process.
The young Toffees are back in action on Tuesday night when they travel to League Two Carlisle United for a behind-closed-doors friendly.
“It’s a really young group, which is great,” manager Unsworth told evertonfc.com. “We’re excited.
“Since I’ve been back at the Club, this is probably the third cycle of players we’ve had in nine years.
“These boys are young and it’s certainly a new generation.
“We introduced a different formation at the end of last season and a few different demands on players, and they’ve really taken to it.
“They’re an outstanding group but they need to get better, obviously.
“They need to stand out at Under-23 level to then be able to stand out to the new manager and his staff.
“Then, it’s about impressing when they get the opportunity to train with the First Team, which a couple of them have done already.”
Unsworth took up an expansive new role as Everton’s Director of Academy last September, which he combines with being the Blues’ Under-23s manager.
He says the Club is intent on implementing “a clear philosophy” throughout the Academy –and explained how Everton age-group coaches will be given the opportunity to join him and his staff in overseeing Under-23s sessions.
“We’re going to have all the coaches in the Academy rotate with the Under-23s, which is fantastic for them to put into their team what we’re trying to do,” Unsworth added.
“That’s going to flow from top to bottom.
“There’s a clear philosophy of how we want to play and how we want to produce players running through the Academy.
“We’re really happy with how that’s going.”