Young defender Tyias Browning had featured for the Everton senior side six times last season, including a Merseyside Derby start at right back, before a bad knee injury in early December knocked him out for the rest of the footballing year.
Since that time, the player has seen another youngster Mason Holgate jump ahead of him in the pecking order with a series of assured performances at both right back and as a centerback, but don’t forget Browning because he will be back with a vengeance.
This is the same player that current Under-23s coach David Unsworth had this to say about, in October 2015 -
"He's a old-fashioned defender who absolutely loves defending.
"In an age where the modern defender wants to come out with the ball, join in with the midfield and get forward, Tyias is an out-and-out defender.
"His pace and power are his obvious massive plus-points and strengths. If you can't beat him with pace, you can't outmuscle him either. When you are as big and strong as Tyias, it takes a lot to get past him; an unbelievable amount of skill - or luck!"
Browning has been steadily improving in his knee rehabilitation, and has resumed running since June but is still undergoing many hours of physical therapy before he can complete his comeback. He spoke to evertontv about the process -
“I am at the stage now where I have just got to be careful. That way I can make sure I come back in good enough shape.
“The knee feels good at the minute but I am just going day-by-day. I have to make sure it is 100 per cent for when I get back playing.
“Each day, I come in and ‘activate’ it with certain specific exercises. But the physios monitor me constantly and they have helped me a lot.”
His easygoing nature has helped him during his recovery -
“I had the operation a couple of days after I found out about the injury. That was the beginning of a long road. It has been nearly 10 months since the operation. I had never been injured before, even growing up as a kid, so to get hit with a nine-to-12 month injury was the worst feeling I have ever had.
“At first it was mentally challenging and don’t get me wrong, it still is now. I was on crutches for two months and that was tough.
“Watching the games was hard as well. You want to be playing. You see instances where you could have had an opportunity and it is frustrating. I never stopped watching though – I have just become even more of an Everton fan! I don’t like watching other teams because that makes we want to play. But I will always watch Everton.”
He also spoke of the influence of his teammates, especially forward Arouna Kone who recovered from a knee injury too -
“Arouna Kone had a similar operation so he has been helping me on the road to recovery – I use Arouna as my guide!
“He’s always giving me little ideas on exercises to try and things like that. But the whole team have helped keep my spirits up.
“I have had a lot of messages on social media from fans as well. When I go to games they always ask me when I am back. They have always been positive and I want to thank them for that.
“It will be a special moment when I am back out there, and I can’t wait. I’m going to be so rusty though!”
While the average age of the Everton backline got a little older this preseason with the addition of Wales captain Ashley Williams, the future continues to remain bright for the youngsters that will eventually form the defence in the future.