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Wednesday’s Toffee Bites: Everton already have their replacement for Leighton Baines

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In today’s links: Funes Mori is ready to return, the U18s draw with Wolves and what’s happened to Vlasic?

Preston North End v Bolton Wanderers - Sky Bet Championship Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Everton, it seems, have a nice youth setup. Their U-23 team won the Premier League 2 title last season. In the current campaign, they find themselves in fourth place in the table, well within striking distance of league leaders Leicester City. But where are the fruits of that talented team managed by David Unsworth showing up at the senior level?

Wayne Rooney is an academy graduate from years ago, so he doesn’t really count. Tom Davies is a solid player and would likely earn a spot on most teams in England’s top flight, but he’s not a guaranteed starter. Jonjoe Kenny showed some ability in covering for an injured Seamus Coleman, yet it’s not clear what his future holds. Ross Barkley never realized his potential and will now become a forgotten Chelsea player.

The point is that Everton need to do a better job of turning promising teens into bonafide stars; not just solid players that the fanbase over-hypes. Beni Baningime can’t crack into a brittle midfield. There are no legitimate back ups for a horrendous defensive line. And Dominic Calvert-Lewin is an exciting attacking option, but he’s not truly a homegrown Evertonian, and neither is Ademola Lookman.

The Board seems to be making a concerted effort to improve the players that come from the youth ranks. That’s good, because Everton can spend all the money they want on older players with senior experience, but without the support of an academy churning out kids with ability, it likely won’t matter.

In case you missed it

Ashley Williams’ Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Avert your eyes. Remove the children from the room.

The solution to Everton’s problems goes well beyond Sam Allardyce
Allardyce is an understandable lightning rod for all that is wrong at Everton at present, but the club’s problems go way beyond the manager’s dugout...

Everton on-loan youngster could leave the club
Disappointing how the Toffees are not being as supportive of Connolly as they should

Wednesday’s Toffee Bites

Antonee Robinson could save Everton a lot of money - HITC
Antonee Robinson is starring at Championship strugglers Bolton Wanderers and deserves a chance at Everton next season.

Ladies Return To Goodison For Yeovil Clash - EvertonFC.com
Everton Ladies will run out at Goodison Park later this month – and entry is free for all Blues.

Everton's U18's draw 1-1 with Wolverhampton - EvertonFC.com
Manasse Mampala lashed home a stunning late volley to secure Everton Under-18s a 1-1 draw with Wolves at USM Finch Farm and keep the pressure on Manchester United at the top of the U18 Premier League.

Tosun: Blues' Attacking Talent Can Boost My Game - EvertonFC.com
Cenk Tosun believes the attacking talent in Everton’s ranks can keep improving him as a player – and help the Blues extend their impressive home form on Saturday against Brighton at Goodison.

Ramiro Funes Mori wants Everton first-team return - Sky Sports
Everton defender Ramiro Funes Mori is back from a long-term knee injury and is looking to head straight back into the starting XI.

Why Nikola Vlasic's Everton career has stalled - Liverpool Echo
But why Everton remain confident the young Croatian forward will "flourish"

Jamie Carragher on Everton's Jordan Pickford and Idrissa Gueye disagreement - HITC
Everton were beaten 2-1 by Burnley in their most recent outing.

What and How to Watch

UEFA Champions League: Manchester City vs Basel, 2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN3
Tottenham Hotspur vs Juventus, 2:45 p.m. ET, FS1
SheBelieves Cup: France vs Germany, 4 p.m. ET, ESPN3
United States vs England, 7 p.m. ET, ESPN3
Championship: Leeds United vs Wolverhampton Wanderers, 2:45 p.m. ET, ESPN3
MLB: Red Sox at Phillies, 1:05 p.m. ET, MLBN
Cubs at Indians, 8:05 p.m. ET, MLBN
NHL: Penguins at Flyers, 8 p.m. ET, NBCSN
NBA: Raptors at Pistons, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN
Cavaliers at Nuggets, 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

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