By Alex Stevens
Everton teenager Tom Davies is setting the perfect example to the next generation of stars at the club.
That is the verdict of academy chief and Goodison legend Kevin Sheedy after the Everton Under-18s beat Liverpool 4-1 on Saturday.
Two goals apiece from Antony Evans and Daniel Bramall did the damage for the free-scoring Blues, who have now netted 13 times in their last three games.
Sheedy believes the example of Davies, 18, who has gone from Under-18s prospect to first-teamer in the space of 12 months, is a good one for his young charges to follow.
Already this season, the likes of Ben Baningime and Antony Evans have turned out for David Unsworth’s Under-23s side, and Blues Academy staff are quietly enthused about a number of other prospects emerging at Finch Farm.
“That’s what it’s all about, trying to make players for the first team,” Sheedy said, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo. “It was great last season that we had people like Tom who stepped up and made their mark. And yes, he is someone that young players can look at and take inspiration from.
“We always say at Everton that this is a club where young players will be given a chance if they are good enough. We’ve seen that with Tom, Kieran Dowell and players before that. It’s about working hard and putting yourself in the frame.”
He added: “The way the U23 league has been restructured, and with the club participating in the Checkatrade Trophy this season, there will be chances to get your name out there. It’s up to the players to take those chances.
“We’ve got some good talent coming through, but it’s about the application and keeping on working. That’s what we have to make sure.”
Davies broke into the Merseysiders’ first-team last season, making his debut against Southampton in April before playing the full 90 minutes against Norwich on the final day of the season.
The central midfielder has made two appearances for Ronald Koeman’s side in 2016-17, coming off the bench late on in the wins over Stoke and Sunderland.
Davies captained England Under-17s at the 2015 World Cup in Chile and he was invited to train with the England senior squad last October after catching the eye of Roy Hodgson’s coaching staff.
In other Everton news, the club have targeted a move for a senior Arsenal player.