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Everton sign young defender targeted by Arsenal

Ryan Astley has been with the Blues since the beginning of the season

Everton FC

Everton are continuing to strengthen the youth system after young defender Ryan Astley signed his first professional contract with the Blues.

The 17-year-old centrehalf won a scholarship and joined the Toffees back in 2017, but has been a target of Arsenal’s attentions as well while he waited for a contract from the Blues.

The right-footed defender can play both in the middle as well as out at right back, and has already featured five times for the Under-23s under David Unsworth, with eleven appearances for Paul Tait’s Under-18s including one goal.

Unsy is a big fan of the youngster’s, making these comments when he debuted against Sunderland in March last year -

“I can’t remember an under-16 coming in and starting a game at this level since I’ve been here but I thought he was the best player on the pitch. It was a stunning performance.”

Astley is also the Wales Under-17 captain and has continued to shine under Unsworth whenever he has featured -

“I’m so proud of him. He made his debut (for the Under-23s) last season when he was still playing at under-16 level, which is unheard of.

”He’s come into the group, he’s playing out of position at right-back - he’s a centre-back really - and he’s been terrific. He was excellent.”

The youth has gone on record to say that his favourite Blue is Phil Jagielka, and Everton will be hoping that the defender will go on to have a prosperous career like the club captain’s.