Danny Mills has told Anthony Gordon that a place in the Everton first team will not come easy and that he will need to ‘rip the shirt’ off his teammates back.
The former England international, speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs, suggested that the 19-year-old is not yet good enough for a regular place in the Premier League matchday squad.
In an interview with The Times, Toffees boss Carlo Ancelotti admitted the teenager “wanted an explanation” as to why he has been left out of the squad for league games.
Gordon has only featured in the League Cup so far this season after being handed his full Premier League start for the club in the Merseyside derby earlier this year.
Mills revealed he had a similar conversation with Martin O’Neill while a youngster at Norwich City in 1995.
“It is really encouraging to see a young player asking those questions,” he told Football Insider.
“I went to ask Martin O’Neill that once upon a time and he just said it was because I wasn’t good enough. Deal with that! It is probably the same sort of reason for Gordon.
“Where is he going to play within that system? Who is he going to replace? When you look at their bench Ancelotti has the likes of Bernard, Tom Davies, Alex Iwobi, Gylfi Sigurdsson – these are top players.
“Sometimes you have to just wait. When you are a young player, sometimes you need to be significantly better than the senior players to replace them. Why would replace like-for-like just for the sake of it? Managers are loyal to players.
“To replace somebody at a club like Everton, it is not a case of them giving the shirt up, you have got to rip it off their back. You have to show people that you are way better.”
In other Everton news, Darren Bent slams senior player after Ancelotti comments.