With the news from earlier today that young left back Antonee Robinson has been sent out to Bolton Wanderers on a half-season loan, that brings to six the number of Everton youngsters that will be plying their trade in the Championship that kicks off later today.
Sunderland have been the biggest beneficiaries of Everton’s largesse in recent years, with Darron Gibson, Bryan Oviedo, Jack Rodwell, Victor Anichebe, Steven Pienaar, Joleon Lescott and Aiden McGeady all eventually finding their way there. In addition to those players, defenders Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning have also been sent out on loan to the Black Cats, with both expected to play in today’s season opener against Derby County.
Kieran Dowell was widely expected to make the breakthrough into the Everton senior squad this season after a couple of stellar years with David Unsworth’s youth side. However, he didn’t feature in the squad against MFK Ruzomberok and was sent on loan to Nottingham Forest for the season. The attacking midfielder could make his debut today too, against Milwall.
Fellow midfielder Joe Williams, who made a couple of appearances in the Everton senior squad last season, is also out on loan. He will be at Barnsley, who have a strong reputation for developing youth. Williams could make his debut on Saturday at Bristol City.
Two Everton defenders could come up against each other on Sunday as Bolton host Leeds United this Sunday in their first match of the Championship season. Robinson could line up at left back for the Trotters as fellow Blue Matthew Pennington is likely to play for the visitors after being added on loan by Leeds this summer.
The clock is ticking for Pennington who featured in a couple of games for the Blues last season, but didn’t impress. The hope behind the loan is that with the additional game time he could develop into one for the future.
This summer has been an impressive one for the Everton youth setup. Not only did Unsworth’s boys lift the Premier League 2 title last season, with the support of the Board he has been able to add to the squad depth and subsequently sent out a number of players to the Championship to gain valuable playing experience.
At the very worst, we’ll know at the end of the year which players are not cut out for the rigours of the Premier League, and which ones could make the jump to the Premier League next season.