Everton have struggled at the centreforward position at the youth level for many years, with there being a certain paucity in the quality of strikers coming up there.
Just for some perspective, the last striker Everton developed from the youth stages of the game into the senior side was Victor Anichebe, so there has certainly been a gulf in talent at that position over the last few years. Before that we can only point to James Vaughan and Francis Jeffers, and that is about fifteen years ago.
However, now the Toffees have two young forwards that are making headlines and looking to give David Unsworth and Marco Silva a selection headache. Fraser Hornby has been on a tear with Scotland’s Under-21s, scoring five goals last week. The other striker that we don’t hear much about is Bassala Sambou who has been quietly making a name for himself with the Under-23s for a couple of years now.
A key member of the Premier League 2 title-winning side two seasons ago, Sambou is off to a good start this season and has 9 goals and 5 assists in 39 total games for the Under-23s. The German-born youngster is of Senegalese origin, and will turn 21 next month. His current deal with the Blues expires at the end of the season, and will likely get a new deal soon.
In an interview with PepTalkUK, a sports media channel on YouTube, Sambou opened up about how he has been training with the Everton senior side and his experiences with manager Marco Silva.
He went on to add that Oumar Niasse, who is Senegalese as well, has been mentoring him personally since he started training with the seniors. Niasse has been helping the youngster prepare for training sessions and as fans we can hope that Sambou picks up his excellent work ethic. Sambou also states that another Senegalese player Idrissa Gueye has been showing him the level of intensity required, and not giving him an easy ride in training.
Sambou acknowledges he still has a lot to learn before he can make a senior team breakthrough, but endeavours to be more like his playing idol Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite the Blues having money to spend in the transfer market, the youngster knows that under Silva he will have a chance at the senior team.
His comments on Silva are quite telling -
“He is very demanding. He is very, very good with youngsters. I like the way he coaches, takes the time to explain things. Everything he does has to with technique, very technical. Not so much physical, he really prefers you to do everything properly. He is an excellent manager for me.
“From what I’ve seen so far, he’s the right manager for Everton, who can take the team far.”
Good to hear that Silva is taking an active interest in the youth team development, and here’s wishing Bassala Sambou all the best.