Everton Under-18s boss Paul Tait hailed his team’s “character and personality” after the young Blues fought back to earn a 1-1 draw against reigning league champions Manchester City on Saturday.
Fifteen-year-old Martin Sherif struck Everton's equaliser on 77 minutes – the young forward sliding the ball home after good work from substitute Sam Coughlan and Isaac Heath.
The goal was just reward for Everton, who applied mounting pressure after Rico Lewis had given City a first-half lead from the penalty spot.
Tait said Everton’s performance represented marked improvement from their display in last weekend’s narrow 2-1 defeat at Leeds United.
“We were unlucky not to come away with a win in the end,” he told evertonfc.com.
“We created some really good chances in the second half.
“But a draw was probably a fair result, because they put us under a lot of pressure as well. I was delighted with the character and personality the boys showed.
“They showed a good mentality to come back from a goal down and I think we deserved to get our goal in the second half.
“We can do better with the ball, so that’s something we’re looking to improve, but our defensive shape and transition moments were very good."
On goalscorer Sherif, Tait added: “As a few of the older boys [who are eligible for the Under-18s] are with David Unsworth in the Under-23s, so he’s getting an opportunity sooner than he normally would.
“He’s a schoolboy but he’s done well.
“He’s still got things to improve on, which is normal as he’s only 15 years of age, but what he does do is score goals – and he’s popped up with an important one today.”