Everton Under-19s Make 'Humbling' Visit To Mumbai Slum

Everton’s travelling Under-19s party have made a "humbling" visit to Dharavi, a suburb of Mumbai that is regarded as one of the largest slums in Asia.  

The young Blues playing squad and staff are in Mumbai for the Premier League’s Next Generation Cup, a tournament consisting of teams from England, India and South Africa.  

With a population of about one million and an area of just under 2.4 square kilometres, Dharavi is also considered one of the most densely populated places on the planet.  

Ahead of the visit, players from the international teams taking part in the Next Gen Cup - Everton, Stellenbosch, West Ham United and Wolverhampton Wanderers - came together for a special screening of Gully Boy.  

The film, released in 2019, is a coming-of-age story of a group of street rappers in Mumbai and their lives growing up in the city.

On the experience of visiting Dharavi, Everton Under-18s assistant head coach Kieran Driscoll said: “It was a really humbling experience for everyone involved - both staff and players.  

“To see a different culture, a different way of living and a different life experience, it is something I am sure the lads will reflect on and there will be a lot of messages they will take into everyday life back home.” 

Head of Everton Academy Education and Player Care, Chris Adamson, added: “These are the kind of experiences the Academy journey should be all about - things that add value to the lives of the boys.  

“We talk a lot about their journey being about the football, but it is also about developing them off the field and giving them life experiences. It was a really valuable experience and something these lads will never forget.” 

Academy midfielder Luke Butterfield was one of the players included in the travelling party and admits the visit was a grounding experience he'll never forget. 

“Before visiting the Dharavi slum we watched a Bollywood film 'Gully Boy' which gave us a good insight into the place we would be visiting," he explained. 

"This gave us good context, but until we actually got there we didn’t fully understand the conditions these people are living in. As we walked through the area, I was talking to some of the boys and you could tell how much of a profound impact it was having on each of us.

"It certainly makes you realise and appreciate how fortunate we are in our daily lives, particularly at Everton with the incredible facilities and support we have available to us at Finch Farm. 

"It was an experience I am incredibly grateful to have been given and it is something that will stay with me forever.”

The team are back in match action tomorrow morning, taking on Sudeva Delhi at 11.30am (BST), before concluding their Group B campaign against RF Young Champs on Tuesday 23 May (3.30pm BST).  

Both games will be streamed live on the Premier League’s YouTube channel.