By Harry Sykes
Tom Davies has revealed that he made Ronald Koeman fast-track him into the Everton first team by his rapid development either side of Christmas.
The Goodison Park sensation spent the opening months of the season playing for the development team in the Under-23s league as he continued to learn his trade.
The midfielder was earning rave reviews at youth-team level but manager Koeman insisted before Christmas the teenager “wasn’t ready” for the Premier League.
However, in a short space of time Davies has made Koeman change his mind and has made a huge impression since being catapulted into the senior side.
The 18-year-old has played the full 90 minutes of four of Everton’s last five league matches and has been a key player in the team’s seven-match unbeaten run that has transformed their season.
“I wasn’t ready,” Davies told the Mail, as he reflected on the earlier months of the campaign. ‘”I was playing for the Under 23s. I heard what people were saying but I could see, even in training, how much I needed to improve. [Koeman] took the time to leave me out and let me develop and that has given me confidence and experience.
“For him to be coaching me — and his brother (Erwin) as well — they are really helpful and I’m just trying to take everything on board.
“I feel like I have fitted in well since he gave me a chance. I feel like I am part of it. The time being out of the team was worth the wait. I feel ready now.”
Davies made a few substitute appearances earlier in the season but was not handed his first league start until Boxing Day, when Everton won 2-0 at Leicester.
The youngster has now played 13 first-team matches in all competitions, most notably a man-of-the-match display in Everton’s 4-0 demolition of Manchester City in which he scored his debut goal.
Davies has also weighed in with assists in wins against Crystal Palace and Southampton to help Everton consolidate their place at seventh in the table and narrow the gap on the top four.
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