Assistant manager John Ebbrell believes Everton Under-23s’ youthful side are steadily getting to grips with the physical challenges of Premier League 2 football – and is confident they can build on their positive momentum in Monday’s YouTube live clash with Brighton & Hove Albion (7pm GMT).
Following a difficult start to the 2021/22 season, Everton go into the game at Goodison Park on the back of an impressive 3-2 home victory over Manchester City and a 1-1 draw at Chelsea.
Many members of the Blues’ team are enjoying their first seasons as fully-fledged Under-23s players, having made the step up from Paul Tait’s Under-18s squad.
The average age of Everton’s starting line-up for the success against City last time out was just 18.6 – and Ebbrell explained how the Toffees’ young talents have progressed since the beginning of the campaign.
Speaking to evertontv, Ebbrell said: “Our young players are coming to terms with the physicality of the league and adjusting. They’ve done that really well recently.
“We know they’re good players. It’s just a case of them having the platform to perform at this level.
“The match against City was a great case in point of them being able to cope physically and mentally.
“They’re gaining that understanding of how much time they’ve got [on the ball] in games. As you go through each level of football, certain parts of games get faster and faster.
“I think, at the very start of the season, they weren’t quite at those levels. Now we are and the team are moving the ball quickly and intelligently.
“We also have a good shape defensively and we look like we’re becoming harder to score against.”
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CANNON FIRES AGAIN AS U23S BEAT MAN CITY
Everton’s victory over Manchester City lifted the Toffees up to 11th in the Premier League 2 table.
Ebbrell is now expecting a stern examination against a Brighton side who sit fourth in the standings – and with whom the Blues have contested some highly-competitive battles in recent years.
No more than one goal has separated the sides in their past five league meetings, with both of last season’s matches ending in score draws.
“They are always tight and tough games against Brighton,” Ebbrell explained.
“It’s a club that has come a long way and at Under-23s level they’ve always had good players who are set up right and look to play intelligent football.
“It’ll be no different on Monday and we’ll have to be at our very best to get a result.
“In terms of performances, though, our last few games have been going in the right direction.
“The group is looking more confident all round that they can perform and get results at this level.”