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New defender deal highlights buoyancy of Everton's youth development system

Galloway's progress an example to young footballers everywhere

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The rapid rise of Brendan Galloway from academy prospect to Premier League starter has been one of the highlights of the past few months.

The 19-year-old did look slightly uneasy in his early displays at the tail end of last season but has grown with each passing game, culminating in Saturday's accomplished display against Chelsea.

The left-back didn't look out of place alongside the reigning Premier League champions and has given Roberto Martinez a welcome selection headache.

Martinez admits he was planning on sending Galloway out on loan to gain some valuable senior experience, but such is his progress he is now establishing himself in the first-team squad at Goodison.

Everton have responded to Galloway's rapid progress by confirming they intend to offer him a new extended contract, rewarding him for his efforts and warding off any interest from Premier League rivals.

Speaking about Galloway, Martinez said:

"We always felt that Brendan had that potential - that's why we made sure we put a lot of effort to bring him into the football club from MK Dons, where he had a very good education.

"What is true as well is that he's had a quicker development than we expected - and that is down to his own personality and character.

"Nothing fazes him, he's always ready to improve, always ready to perform and, at the football club, we will always do the same thing; when we see a player get ahead of his programme, that needs to be rewarded.

"That's not going to be the last contract, it's just going to be the next step, and we expect Brendan to carry on with his development over the course of the season and in years to come."

The final sentence is key there - stressing to Galloway that he has not yet 'made it' and needs to continue working hard on his game.

All too often we see young players given lucrative contracts without real truly earning it. How many talented youngsters have fallen by the wayside because they have earned too much too young, losing the motivation to continue working at their game because they feel they don't need to?

Everton try not to hand out big-money contracts to young players (partly because they cannot afford to), but they make it clear to them that the path to the first-team - and therefore all the riches the Premier League has to offer - is there should they choose to work hard for it.

It is this combination of challenge and reward that has proven so successful in recent years, most recently with John Stones.

Like Galloway, Stones joined from a Championship club and spent the first few months of his Everton career in the reserves and youth teams.

He was then slowly introduced to the first-team, rapidly developing into the £40m-rated England international we have today.

Stones' rise to the senior squad was rewarded with a new five-year contract, signed last year, that proved so pivotal in holding off the advances of Chelsea over the summer.

Now, the ultimate aim of the Everton academy is nurture players from childhood through to the first-team, but that isn't always possible.

Therefore an extensive scouting system also needs to be in place to unearth gems such as Galloway and Stones from the lower divisions.

Stones cost Everton £3m (with sell-on fee attached) and Galloway is believed to have cost in the region £4.5m. Hefty sums for what were unproven youngsters at the time, but look increasingly like bargains with each passing game.

What the chances of young Mason Holgate following Galloway and Stones into the first team in 2016? It is an exciting prospect.

Everton's long-standing financial struggles have been a source of incredible frustration for everyone concerned, especially when we see miss out on transfer targets to the likes of West Ham and Stoke.

There is something much more satisfying though about seeing a young player break into the first-team and morph into a Premier League star in front of our eyes.

Recent supporter protests have highlighted a number off-field off field failures at Everton football club. Their academy and youth development structure however, is certainly not one of them.