Striker Ellis Simms made an impressive transition to Under-23s football in 2019/20 following his prolific campaign for the Blues' Under-18 side the previous season.
The powerful frontman hit eight goals in 15 Premier League 2 appearances for then manager David Unsworth's team, with his development as a potent all-round centre-forward consistently catching the eye.
As well as his undoubted finishing ability, Simms' work-rate and link-up play earned praise from Unsworth and the attacker regularly featured in Everton First-Team training towards the end of the season.
He was named in a senior Everton matchday squad for the first time for the Toffees' Premier League game at Sheffield United in July 2020.
Simms, who had time in the academies at Manchester City and Blackburn Rovers before joining Everton, signed for the Blues aged 16 and and penned his first professional deal in summer 2019 following a staggering personal campaign for Everton Under-18s.
The Oldham-born player struck an incredible 32 goals in 21 league matches and was on target 46 times in all competitions in 2018/19. He top scored for Everton Under-23s in the first half of 2020/21 – netting eight goals in 12 games – before a successful loan with Blackpool for the second half of the campaign.
Simms played 24 matches – starting 19 times – and scored 10 goals for the League One club. He hit a double in a play-off semi-final win at Oxford United but a groin injury prevented Simms from featuring in Blackpool's victory over Lincoln City in the Wembley decider.
The player featured in multiple senior squads from the outset of 2021/22 and his progress was recognised with a new three-year Everton contract, signed in November 2021. A Premier League debut followed the next month when Simms started a 1-1 draw at Chelsea nine days before Christmas.
Simms was loaned to Hearts for the remainder of the season two months later and proved a success with the Edinburgh club.
He contributed seven goals in 21 appearances, including a stunning opener as Hearts saw off city rivals Hibernian 2-1 to reach the Scottish Cup final, in which Simms was on the field for the full 120 minutes of a 2-0 defeat by Rangers.
Contracted until: June 2024