Everton Director of Football Marcel Brands has said more than once that his focus currently is on developing the youth system, and the Blues have made two moves to shore up that area in the last couple of days.
Attacking midfielder Anthony Gordon celebrated turning 18 last month by signing his first professional contract today, a deal which keeps him with the Toffees until the end of the 2022-23 season. Lifelong Blue Kyle John, who is also 18, signed his first pro deal yesterday, with the term going through to the end of the 2020-21 season.
Gordon was being watched by German heavyweights Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund and Everton will be relieved to have inked him long term. Bundesliga sides have been keeping tabs on young English talent in recent years, and the Blues have had to fight off RB Leipzig repeatedly for their advances over Ademola Lookman.
The wild success of Jadon Sancho this season along with players like Reiss Nelson on loan from Arsenal is starting to make Premier League 2 an attractive shopping destination for German clubs.
Marco Silva had previously addressed the interest in Gordon in November as well -
“He’s a talent. He’s a player we want to keep, of course. It is our goal to keep our best players, not only the players playing in the first-team.
“If we want to grow and achieve something important we need to keep our best players.
“We are here to look to the young players and to work with them and improve.”
Gordon has progressed well in both Everton’s Under-18 and Under-23 sides, getting a call-up to the England youth team set-up in September and has already picked up eight Under-18 team caps. He made his debut for the Everton senior team last season in the dead-rubber Europa League group stage game away at Apollon Limassol, coming on for the last few minutes. With that he became the first player to be born in this century to play for the senior team and also came on for the last quarter of an hour for the friendly game a couple of months ago at Goodison Park against Kenyan champions Gor Mahia.
John meanwhile made his senior debut in that same friendly, and has also broken into the Under-23 side that is now four points clear at the top of the Premier League 2 standings. The right back has been at the Academy since the age of six and is rated very highly by youth side manager David Unsworth, who spoke highly of him -
“Kyle did great for Paul Tait in the Under-18s at the start of the season.
“John Ebbrell, Franny [Jeffers] and I have watched him, and we thought he had the ability and physicality to step up.
“He started training with us a couple of months ago and he’s cemented that right-back place. He looks a real class act. He is a great boy and if he continues to progress as he has done since he’s been with us, he’s got a very bright future.”