Martin Sherif is delighted to have doubled his goalscoring tally from last season - but the Everton Under-18s striker is keen to keep improving under Head Coach Leighton Baines.
The 16-year-old forward has enjoyed a prolific campaign for Everton Under-18s and has already earned minutes for Paul Tait’s Under-21s.
Sherif has scored 12 goals in 15 Under-18 Premier League North appearances so far this season but hopes to keep progressing as he pushes for more regular game time with the Under-21s.
Speaking to evertonfc.com, Sherif discussed his strong season, while revealing the improvements he has needed to make along the way.
“Last season, playing up with the Under-18s, I got six goals but this season I have doubled that,” said Sherif. "It’s been good.
“At the start of the season, I was struggling a bit with my first touch and general hold-up play. But I worked on it with Leighton (Baines) and Kieran (Driscoll) after sessions. I’ve tried to put that work into games and things have certainly improved.
“They give lots of feedback. But also, after sessions, we work together on different aspects. They’re good coaches who help me a lot."
Tait recently detailed the importance of Sherif stepping up to play against the likes of Elijah Campbell and Reece Welch with the Under-21s - and the young striker agrees that challenge can be hugely beneficial.
“It’s been good playing with those older boys,” acknowledged Sherif. “They have really brought me into the group. But also in sessions, they show me why they are playing at that level. There’s a step-up, for sure.
“The game is quicker; the decision-making and passing is a step up, too.
“When I go in with them, and then come back into my own age group, I feel like I do things like hold the ball up better.
“My aim next season is to be with the Under-21s. Then hopefully, in the longer-term, start trying to get around the senior side and join in on a few sessions. Obviously, I want to keep scoring goals, too.”
Rewarded for an impressive campaign, Sherif recently played international football through a call-up to the Netherlands squad for the European Under-17 Championships qualifying matches.
"There’s different players and systems but it is good," he reflected on the experience. "We (Netherlands) topped the group and finished above some of my Everton teammates so I’ve been given them some stick!
"The squad for the tournament is announced at the start of next month and I’m hoping to be included."