By Dominic Toner
Michael Ball has praised Everton young guns Ross Barkley, Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin after their contribution in the weekend’s victory over Hull.
The Toffees cruised to a 4-0 win in the Premier League and it means they are just six points adrift of the Champions League spots going into the international break.
The Merseyside club have shown a real desire to integrate young players this season and Ronald Koeman has not been afraid to chuck them in at the deep.
Barkley is a product of the club’s academy and has been a consistent performer during recent years, while team-mate Tom Davies has made a breakthrough into the first-team this season.
Former Everton defender Ball has highlighted the pair after helping set up youngster Dominic Calvert-Lewin score his first goal for the club against Hull, following his arrival from Sheffield United.
“Although he (Calvert-Lewin) was brought in from Sheffield United it was a great goal for our Academy (against Hull) with Ross starting the move and Tom Davies setting him up and it shows the young talent that we’ve got coming through,” Ball wrote in the Liverpool Echo.
“Now we have got the money and want to be sticking by our star players and Ross is one of them.
“I hate that saying – but he’s the kind of player that you should build the team around him. He’s a local lad who knows the club inside out and is an Everton fan.
“I’d like Everton to look at what other teams have done in the past like with John Terry getting the captaincy at a very early age at Chelsea.
“He had world-class players around him but they didn’t know whether they’d be staying for one year or five years. They knew Terry would stay for as long as they wanted him to.”
Everton are now in a great position to secure a European spot this season, but are attempting a late charge to make the top four positions.
Koeman has enjoyed a strong first season in charge at Goodison Park and young players have been at the core of his success.
Barkley is now beginning to fulfill his potential and has thrived in an attacking position, scoring five goals and supplyng seven assists this season.
Meanwhile, central midfielder Davies is now a regular feature in the starting XI and is a great example of the club’s impressive academy set-up.
In other Everton news, Andy Townsend believes the club must do this if they want to become an elite force.