This has been a very interesting offseason for Everton. Aside from splashing big on the transfer market to rebuild the spine of the senior squad, there has been a determined effort to develop the youth sides as well.
In addition to bringing in some of the best talent that the country and continent has to offer, there is also an attempt to send out players who have matured within the youth setup to go get senior squad minutes elsewhere on loan and develop further.
As of the time of writing, Everton have seven prospective players out on loan at various sides in the English Championship and abroad.
Kieran Dowell was tipped by the fans to become this season’s Tom Davies, but it looks like that might have to wait as he was sent out on loan to Nottingham Forest for the season. The attacking midfielder made his debut coming on as a substitute on Friday and was impressive in that short time.
He’s very likely to be thrust into a starting role at Forest very soon, which should give Everton coaches and fans and extended look to see whether he is ready to play consistently at a higher level than the Under-23s where he’s dominated over the last two seasons.
Matthew Pennington took a lot of flak last season during his injury-enforced appearances for the senior side, but if his opening game performance for Leeds United was anything to go by, he has already made himself a penciled-in starter for them.
Unfortunate to roll his ankle with half an hour to play, Pennington was immense, especially in the air, on Sunday and the physical Championship will be the proving ground now for him to show that he can handle the wear and tear of a full League campaign.
Defenders Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning have been sent to Sunderland, a club that seems to favour doing business with Everton in recent years. Aside from a legion of former Toffees who are now there, the two youngsters have slotted into vacant spots in the Black Cats backline and made their debuts on Friday during the Championship season opener.
Galloway had an ill-fated loan spell last season at West Bromwich Albion where he barely played, but has another chance to show what he’s made of. Despite being a centerhalf converted to a fullback, he has looked defensively suspect out on the left and that was confirmed during Sunderland’s game on Friday.
Browning was unspectacular in his appearance in the same game, and did look at sixes and sevens at times in a new team. After missing almost the whole of 2016 following a knee operation, he was loaned out to Preston North End for the second half of last season.
Under Simon Grayson, a defender himself during his playing days, both players have an opportunity to better themselves and show they will be worthy of a spot in the Toffees squad next season.
Another midfielder, Joe Williams, made his debut for Barnsley in a 3-1 defeat, but the Everton youngster can hold his head high after another workmanlike performance. He has already been lauded by the manager Paul Heckingbottom for his strong work ethic and should continue to develop there. He made a couple of appearances in the gameday squad for the Blues last season and even traveled on the preseason tour this year.
In a late development last week, left back Antonee Robinson was sent to Bolton Wanderers on a half-season loan until January 2018. Considering he is going to be one of the next fullbacks in line to replace Leighton Baines, there will certainly be a lot of eyes on him this season. Robinson did not get to play this weekend, but we will continue to watch the situation at the Trotters.
Everton’s sole loanee playing outside England this season is new signing Henry Onyekuru. The Nigerian sensation has had an electric debut with Anderlecht in Belgium, and was even named to the Jupiler League Team of the Week this last weekend.
The story of how the player was signed by the Blues makes for interesting reading, and watching him play this season in the Champions League will be a real treat for Everton fans.