Everton U18s electrifying start to the 2018/2019 season continued this past Saturday with a 6-0 away win over a lackluster Blackburn Rovers U18s side at the Blackburn Rovers Training Center.
With this win the team maintains their 100% start to the season and ensured their top position in the Premier League North and with it, a comfortable three point buffer between them and second placed Liverpool U18s.
Paul Tait’s 4-4-2 proved to be too much for Blackburn’s 3-4-3 with Ellis Simms proving to be particularly dangerous up front scoring four goals against an outmatched Rover’s defense and thereby adding to the four he has already scored in the previous three games of the season.
Naturally Tait was impressed with his young side going so far as to call them a “proper Everton team”.
“It was really exciting. I thought we played like a proper Everton team, the way we were on the front foot all game.”
While the U18s played a brand of football labelled by Tait as “a joy to watch” the Rovers though underwhelming in the end still continued to play hard and press when they were able to do so. After Simms scored his first goal the Toffees were held at bay until the 23rd minute when Mackenzie Hunt sent one into the back of net from the very edge of the box.
Tait gave his thoughts on the first half and in particular a missed Rovers opportunity.
“At 1-0 the game was in the balance. Blackburn missed a penalty and that swung momentum a little bit. Blackburn kept pressing us but we went into another gear.”
The young Toffees would put on a better second half display with Simms adding three and Korede Adedoyin adding one late thereby putting the outcome beyond any doubt.
While the team put on a strong display the manager unsurprisingly singled out Simms as the star performer on the day. He would go on to comment on his development post match.
“He is scoring goals and his work-rate has gone up since last season”
“You find the first-season scholars who progress to be second years physically change a lot"
“He is turning into a man, you see him running away from people – they can’t live with him physically. That has coincided with him scoring goals - he scored goals last season, too, of course – but he’s a real handful now."
“He can finish with both feet and we are really pleased with that. He has to improve with his head, though. That’s a work in progress because he is 6’ 3” and we’ll be looking for him to head goals in."
It is encouraging to see our young players continue to develop and perform. As they grow into maturity this fan expects them to show more and more quality and clearly, Ellis Simms is one to watch as he progresses through the academy ranks and the season itself.
The U18s travel to Stoke City for their next fixture and will no doubt be looking for another victory against a side who has only won once this season and currently sits 10th on the table.