Sam Allardyce has never had a reputation for giving youth a chance to play at the various stops of his bottom-feeding managerial career. At Everton, Ademola Lookman, Sandro Ramirez and Nikola Vlasic learned that soon enough.
The only youngsters under the age of 23 who got to play regularly were Tom Davies and Dominic Calvert-Lewin (already established in the senior side), Mason Holgate (while Michael Keane was out injured) and Jonjoe Kenny (while Seamus Coleman was out injured). Beni Baningime came up to the senior squad during David Unsworth’s temporary tenure, but hasn’t been called up since.
Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Allardyce claimed that his staff of coaches have been keeping tabs on the youngsters out on loan, and that the majority of the youth out on loan were not playing.
“The disappointing thing for that young talent is some of it is playing and some of it isn’t,
“At the moment in time, more of it is not playing so that is a great concern for us because development for them is about them playing at those teams on loan that are not as good as Everton, so that gives us an indication about where their development is so we’ve got a lot of players at the club that a lot of decisions have to be made on.
“For me we keep an eye on those all the time, the system is in place to monitor all those players but my main focus is week in and week out to try and get another result, to the end of the season and then look at the overall structure of the football club and try to get it better going forward.
“A lot of change is why the club is in the position it’s in at the moment. Certainly, I’ve got to bring stability to the club in the hope of pushing forward.”
As you know, we here at Royal Blue Mersey keep a close eye on the Under-23s as well as the players out on loan, so let’s take a deeper look at both of those statements.
“... more of it (the youth) is not playing so that is a great concern for us...”
Everton have a whopping 16 players out on loan, and the only youth under the age of 23 who are not playing the full ninety minutes every weekend are:
- Ademola Lookman, Sandro Ramirez - both who left because they weren’t getting minutes under Allardyce at Everton, but have been getting substitutes minutes.
- Henry Onyekuru - out with a long-term injury.
- Kieran Dowell - who has only been rested the last couple of games having played every minute previous to that for Nottingham Forest.
- Brendan Galloway - has been unable to break into the squad at Sunderland, currently bottom of the Championship.
What is Allardyce talking about?
“... we keep an eye on those all the time... “
Just yesterday Callum Connolly innocuously happened to mention that ever since he was loaned out to Ipswich Town he has been virtually forgotten, with barely enough contact from Everton, and that he would consider a permanent move to the Tractor Boys.
If you remember, when Ronald Koeman was sacked, it came out later that he had had no contact with the Academy, and therefore had no clue what was going on with the youth. Why would we expect any better from Big Sam.
Additionally, we’ve seen more than once Allardyce either doesn’t know or doesn’t remember the names of his senior team players, and you’re expecting him to keep tabs on the youngsters? Once again, he is lying, plain and simple.
He went on to talk about Vlasic, who has been blessed enough to feature a couple of times since Allardyce took over, but then was promptly confined to whatever dungeon Davy Klaassen lives in whenever we don’t see him training at Finch Farm.
“It’s been a difficult season for him. We’ve had so many young players – and this is also a forgotten chapter of this season – and yet we hear people say we don’t play young players.
“But this season, for one reason or another but particularly injuries and a loss of form, more young players have played in Everton’s team than anybody else in the entire Premier League.
“Those players have come out with an awful lot of credit this season for what they have actually achieved and what they have actually done.
“Unfortunately, some of the more senior players haven’t hit the heights that, certainly, I would have expected on a consistent basis.
“So, when you talk about Vlasic, it’s another young player and their confidence may suffer so it’s his first season here and next season we would like to see more of those young talents flourish.”
Big Sam has not given a single youngster a chance to flourish in this squad - he has either continued to play youth that have already been drafted into the team by previous managers, sent them away on loan or else relegated them out of the senior squad.
There is nothing forgotten about this season, Mr. Allardyce - even though it will soon be confined to the dustbin of football history, as will you, because this club is greater than you and me.