Everton Under-18s full-back Roman Dixon has signed his first professional contract until the end of June 2024.
The 17-year-old defender has been with the Club’s Academy since Under-12 level and spoke of his pride at being able to continue his progress with the Blues.
“It feels good to sign my first professional contract,” Dixon told evertonfc.com.
“It’s a very good accomplishment and it shows my hard work to date has paid off.
“This is a proud moment in my career so far and hopefully I can kick on from this.
“It’s a very special moment for me and my family. They’ve made a sacrifice by taking me up to training every week, coming along to watch me in games. I’m incredibly grateful for everything they do for me.”
A quick and powerful full-back, Dixon credited the coaches he has worked with since joining Everton for developing his game.
Confident on the ball as well as in attack, the teenager feels his game has improved massively during his time with the Club.
“I have developed a lot since I joined Everton Academy,” Dixon added.
“The player I was then compared to now is completely different.
“I feel like I have been encouraged in certain areas to exploit different techniques that I have and some that I didn’t know I have.
“Now I use it to my advantage in games. My pace, speed, running with the ball - Everton’s coaches have unlocked that for me and I have been able to use it as one of my strengths in training as well as games.
“I think the attacking side is one of my strengths to my game.
“With my speed, it can help me out a lot to get up the pitch but also to track back.
💙 | “I gave it everything I had and I’m not ashamed to admit that I shed a few tears when I walked out of Bellefield for the last time."— Everton Academy (@EvertonAcademy) January 3, 2022
At the age of 40, former Blue Peter Clarke is still going strong as captain of League Two's @TranmereRovers.
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“It’s an area I’m comfortable in, but also I can still do more to improve.”
Dixon’s game-time has been limited this season after surgery on an ankle ligament injury.
Now back to full fitness, he hopes his patience will have paid off and credited Under-18s manager Paul Tait for supporting him through his rehabilitation.
“I’ve had to be really patient,” added Dixon.
“I think now it’s getting the memory of my injury out of my head and looking forward to my football.
“Paul was very good with me when I was out injured.
“He always asked how long until I was back, encouraged me and came to check on me in the gym during my sessions.
“Even though I wasn’t playing, I never felt out of the squad.
“He always tried to fit me in where he could and I’m really grateful for that.
“As a coach, he’s very disciplined and just wants the best out of you.
“He makes you want to work hard and if you don’t, he makes you know about it.
“That said, he’s very encouraging and has been great to work with.”
Everton Under-18s are back in league action on Saturday when Stoke City travel to USM Finch Farm (11am).