Everton Under-21s midfielder Owen Barker has agreed his first professional contract, signing a two-year deal until the end of June 2025.
Born in Bolton, the 18-year-old joined the Blues’ Academy at the age of 10 and has steadily progressed into an exciting prospect.
A versatile talent, Barker has illustrated an ability to play anywhere across the front line while also being a well-rounded midfielder. Last season he made 10 appearances for Leighton Baines’ Under-18s, returning four goals and four assists.
He also made a further nine appearances for Paul Tait’s Under-21s – including minutes in each of their final three games of the campaign.
After signing his professional contract, Barker told evertontv: “I am very pleased with this and I can’t wait to get going. From joining the Club, it’s all I ever wanted so I am delighted.
“In my journey so far, I have enjoyed Everton so much. I think the coaches have been brilliant ever since I arrived. I enjoy coming into training every day – I love it.
“I’d love to one day make my senior debut, run out to the fans at Goodison Park, or obviously, the new stadium. I can’t wait.”
In what has been a real year of development for Barker, the teenager was keen to commend both Baines and Tait for the roles they played in aiding his progression at the Club and for helping him to make the successful step up from Under-18s to Under-21s football.
“I’ve enjoyed playing at a higher level,” said Barker. “It’s a faster game and more physical, so I had to get used to it quickly. But I have enjoyed it so far.”
On both managers, Barker added: “Leighton Baines is a good coach, I have enjoyed working with him. He’s very encouraging and is always trying to make me a better player. He’s always trying to help me get in the right positions to cause as much chaos as I can to the other team.
“Paul Tait is the same. He is encouraging, disciplined and just wants the best for you. I have enjoyed working with him.”
Barker has no plans to rest on his laurels and is already looking ahead to the improvements he can make in this upcoming season, with some hope it could lead to opportunities to impress Men’s Senior Team boss Sean Dyche in the future.
“I want to keep enjoying my football and keep impressing,” Barker explained. “But I also want to add more goals and assists to my game, while potentially getting to train with the Senior Team a few times.
"I want to impress the right people so I can eventually break into the Senior Team.”