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Who Will Be Representing Everton Under-23s in 2021/22?

Who will be playing for David Unsworth’s side next season, who might leave and who will head out on loan?

Everton Training Session
Thierry Small in Everton training
Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

It was a year of transition for Everton’s under-23s last season. And it was one that was very much needed.

On the opening day of the 2020/21 Premier League 2 season (a 1-0 defeat to Liverpool), Everton under-23s put out a team with an average age of 20, with five players that were 21 or older and not a single player under 18.

On the final day of the season (a 4-0 win over Southampton), Everton under-23’s lined-up with an average age of just 18, didn’t have a single player aged 21 or over and had five players under the age of 18 starting.

I discussed last summer that Everton were perhaps misusing the under-23 team by bloating the side with older players that had no future at the club and potentially even damaging these players career prospects.

Fortunately the club seems to have recognised this and large swathes of changes took place in the second half of last season, which means there’s a lot of new faces in the setup.

So let’s take a look at who’s left the club this summer and who might still.

Released Players:

· Josh Bowler (joined Blackpool)
· Con Ouzounidis (joined Esbjerg fB)
· Callum Connolly (joined Blackpool)
· Dennis Adeniran
· Bobby Carroll
· Nicholas Defreitas-Hansen
· Matthew Pennington (joined Shrewsbury Town)

Current Everton under-23s:

Everton v Preston North End - Pre-Season Friendly
Harry Tyrer in action for Everton during preseason
Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images

Harry Tyrer – GK – 19 *PLAYER TO WATCH*

Impressed last pre-season for the first team and established himself as first choice for the under-23s last season. He should also get another chance in pre-season, with Jordan Pickford set to return late after the Euros finish, which would leave Tyrer and Virginia as Everton’s most “senior” goalkeepers.
When the season arrives, it would be great to see him go out and get some time on loan having been a regular for the under-23s for the past two seasons.
A short-term League Two loan would be ideal to ensure he gets some valuable senior minutes before reviewing the situation in January.
Verdict: Go on loan

Zan-Luk Leban – GK - 18

If Harry Tyrer stays, it’s hard to see Leban getting too many minutes. However, should Tyrer head out on loan then the 18-year-old should look to become the u-23s regular goalkeeper this campaign.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Ryan Astley – CB - 19

Has been a regular for the u-23s for the past two seasons and was awarded a new contract this summer.
Time to go out on loan (ideally in League One) in order to get some senior experience.
Verdict: Go on loan

Lewis Gibson – CB - 20

After catching the eye on loan at Fleetwood in 2019/20, Gibson struggled somewhat at high-flying Reading last season.
He’s now 20 years old with one year left on his contract, which means the next season is going to be absolutely key if he is to have a future at the Blues.
He shouldn’t be sticking around with the under-23s this campaign, but needs to make himself a good impression on loan in the Championship next season.
Verdict: Go on loan

Joseph Anderson – CB - 20

Was also offered a new contract in the summer having spent two seasons in the under-23s setup. Another one who should go out on his first loan spell if he wants to kick on.
Verdict: Go on loan

Jarrad Branthwaite – CB – 19 *PLAYER TO WATCH*

Evertonians will need little introduction to Branthwaite, having made a handful of impressive Premier League appearances at the end of 2019/20.
Went on loan to Blackburn for the second half of last season and had a mixed spell – initially impressing before dropping out of the team and then picking up an unfortunate injury on his return.
He could definitely be a future star for Everton and a big loan spell in the Championship this term could help him get there.
Verdict: Go on loan

Reece Welch – CB - 17

Broke into the under-23s set up at the end of last season after impressing for the under-18s.
He should look to become an under-23s regular this season.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Kyle John – RB - 20

Found himself in several first-team squads at the end of last season and was rewarded with a new contract in the summer.
He may get a chance in pre-season, but unless he makes an almighty impression his best bet will be to go out on loan to a League One side next season and gain his first senior experience.
Verdict: Go on loan

Thierry Small – LB – 16 *PLAYER TO WATCH*

Doesn’t turn 17 until 1st August, but made his first-team debut in the FA Cup last season (becoming Everton’s youngest ever player in the process).
He lit up the under-18s last season and then did the same for the under-23s scoring several goals from left-back.
He should look to start again for the under-23s next season and see if he can force himself into any more first-team action – which could be a real possibility if Niels Nkounkou were to go out on loan.
Verdict: Star for u-23s

Tyler Onyango – CM – 18 *PLAYER TO WATCH*

Picked up a cruel ankle injury in the FA Youth Cup shortly after breaking into the first-team setup.
May need to spend the first half of the season with the under-23s in order to get back up to speed, but it would be good to see him get a loan move in the second half of the season at a League One or League Two side.
Verdict: Rebuild fitness then go on loan

MacKenzie Hunt – CM - 19

Broke into the under-23s setup at the end of last season and should look to cement his place.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Einar Iversen – CM - 20

Joined the club from his native Norway in 2017 and has impressed over the past two seaons for the under-23s.
It’s time for him to go on loan now, though, probably to a League One or Two side in order to get some needed first-team experience.
Verdict: Go on loan

Luke Butterfield – CM - 17

Another who broke into the under-23s setup at the end of last season and should look to cement his place.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Isaac Price – CM - 17

Impressed after stepping up from the u-18s to the u-23s last season and should look to become a key player for David Unsworth’s side this term.
Verdict: Star for u-23s

Beni Baningime – DM - 22

Bizarrely, Baningime is still under contract at Everton.
He couldn’t hold down a place in the Derby team after joining them in January and simply has to have a good loan spell (probably in League One) next season in order to rebuild his career before his contract runs out next summer.
Shouldn’t play for the under-23s at this point.
Verdict: Loan or sell

Lewis Warrington – CM - 18

Broke into the u-23s at the end of last season after catching the eye in the Youth Cup. Time to make the next step.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Sebastian Quirk – RW - 19

Has been a bit-part player for the u-23s for the last couple of seasons.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Stanley Mills – RW - 17

Son of former England international Danny Mills, Stanley marked his u-23s debut with a stunning goal in a 5-0 win over Southampton at the end of last season.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Rhys Hughes – AM - 19

Became a regular for the under-23s last season and chipped in with two goals and seven assists from 23 appearances.
Turns 20 in December, so will be good to see him get a first loan spell at some point this season.
Verdict: Play for under-23s or go on loan.

Charlie Whittaker – AM – 17 *PLAYER TO WATCH*

Exploded onto the under-23s scene last season with five goals in five games from midfield (including a final day hat-trick against Southampton).
Let’s see if he can become a key player for David Unsworth next season.
Verdict: Star for under-23s

Liverpool v Everton: U18 Premier League
Charlie Whittaker in action for the Under-18s
Photo by Nick Taylor/Liverpool FC/Liverpool FC via Getty Images

Nathan Broadhead – LW/ST - 23

Was given a new contract to the surprise of many this summer, but Nathan Broadhead still has bags of potentially.
Admittedly, he shouldn’t play a minute for the under-23s any more, but he should get a first-team opportunity in pre-season and a Championship loan will likely await him this campaign unless the Everton manager wants him as part of the squad.
Verdict: Go on loan

Anthony Gordon – LW/RW – 20 *PLAYER TO WATCH*

Everton’s academy diamond didn’t manage to set the world alight as expected after joining in January, but that was in part due to the difficult circumstances bestowed upon him at Deepdale.
Like Broadhead, should get a big chance to impress the new Everton manager in pre-season and another Championship loan spell will await him if he’s judged not to ready for the first-team yet.
Verdict: First team or go on loan

Ellis Simms – ST - 20

Really kicked on after a mixed start at Blackpool last season as the Tangerines earned a Championship promotion.
He’s learned everything he can at under-23s level now and a Championship loan (perhaps even a return to Blackpool) will be good for him.
Verdict: Go on loan

Thomas Cannon – ST - 18

Was a bit-part player for the under-24s last season, but should look to lead the line next season with Broadhead and Simms both hopefully out on loan.
Verdict: Play for u-23s

Lewis Dobbin – ST - 18

Broke into the under-23s set up at the end of last season and should look for more game time this season.
Verdict: Play for u-23s