By Will Butcher

Everton stalwart David Unsworth was full of praise for the Checkatrade Trophy, despite seeing his under-23 side lose to Cheltenham Town on Tuesday night.

Unsworth, 42, saw the Toffees reserve side lose 2-1 despite winning with 10 minutes left on the clock to League Two outfit Cheltenham, as Danny Wright and Billy Waters scored late on.

But the former Everton defender heaped praise on the newly formed cup competition in an interview with Everton’s official website, which sees Premier League and Championship reserve sides take on League One and League Two teams.

“It’s a great development tool for young players,” Unsworth told Everton’s official website. “I think the EFL have to take massive credit for having the guts to make the change.

“The players are gutted in the changing rooms and that says a lot about how much the competition means to us.”

Unsworth’s reserve side currently sit top of Group A in the first round of the pursuit of the trophy despite the loss to Gary Johnson’s Cheltenham, after an impressive 2-0 victory against Bolton Wanderers.

One-time England international Unsworth made an incredible 305 league and cup appearances for the Toffees during two spells at Goodison Park.

The dead-ball specialist began his career after making his debut with the Merseyside giants in 1992, and scored an impressive 33 goals during his time with Everton.

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