By Tom Blackburn
Everton coach David Unsworth says Luka Garbutt has responded “brilliantly”, after a recent snub by manager Ronald Koeman.
Koeman elected to not give Garbutt, 23, a squad number for the upcoming Premier League campaign.
Unsworth, who manages the Everton under-23 side, praised Garbutt and backed him to make the step up when necessary.
“He’s been brilliant,” Unsworth told the Liverpool Echo. “He’s been a credit to himself, he’s been a credit to our club.
“So has Conor McAleny, so has Leandro Rodriguez. These players have trained with me throughout pre-season and they have been a credit to themselves and their profession.
“It happens in football. They have got their heads down, they’re fit and who knows where it might take them.
“But what I do know is if and when they are called upon, they are fit enough and good enough to go and play.”
Garbutt has only featured in five Premier League matches for the Toffees since joining from Leeds at the age of 16, but he has also starred in 10 Europa League fixtures during his time at Goodison Park and he still has four-years left on his contract.
He spent last season on loan at Fulham in the Championship, where he played 26 times as the club narrowly avoided relegation.
First-team left-back Leighton Baines heaped praise on Garbutt last month, and said he expects to be pushed for the starting spot by the youngster.
Baines said the same about Brendan Galloway, though he has been heavily linked with a move to Newcastle.
The Newcastle Chronicle claimed on Wednesday that the deal sending Galloway to Newcastle would be completed that day, but there is yet to be confirmation.
It is said that Newcastle will stump up a £1million loan fee for Galloway and will also pay all his wages for the upcoming season.
In other Everton news, Patrick Vieira has welcomed the arrival of an ex-Everton midfielder.