Central defender Reece Welch today signed a new contract which will keep him in the blue shirt of Everton until the end of June 2026. His current deal was set to expire at the end of the season but it was never in question whether the Blues were going to keep him.
The 19-year-old has been at Everton since the age of seven and has progressed through the ranks at the Academy to making his first team debut this year in March. He would go on to sign his sign his first professional contract with the Blues in September 2020, penning a three-year deal.
Speaking during the signing of his extension, the young defender was thrilled to stay with the club.
“It’s amazing to sign this new contract. I’ve been at this club since I was seven years old and seen so many players come through the Academy into the First Team and I’ve always wanted to be one of those. Now I’ve been in and around there, it inspires me to take the next step.
“I want to kick on in the First Team, look to make a few more appearances and show what I’m about. I want to wear this blue shirt in the Premier League and, long-term, help Everton to success.
“Everton fans want hard work, dedication and passion for the Club and if I can give that, hopefully I’ll be able to do a good job for Everton.”
This is what Director of Football Kevin Thelwell had to say about the young prospect -
“This four-year contract is reward for Reece’s hard work and progress at the Club.
“He is another example of the clear pathway that is there for players from our Academy into the First Team.
“Reece now has the opportunity to continue to learn from the talented defenders we have in the squad, and to keep pushing for more First-Team football, ahead of what we all hope is a long and successful career with Everton.”
Welch is the latest in a batch of highly-thought-of young prospects that have committed their future to the Blues. He follows midfielder Jenson Metcalfe and forward Katia Kouyate by signing new contracts. This follows the first contracts awarded this last summer to defenders Matthew Mallon, Elijah Campbell and, more recently, forward Cody Ebere.
The teenager has impressed at centre back for the Under 21s especially the last 18 months as his game has matured. He is a sizeable unit at 6’ 4”, reads the game especially well and is quick along the turf. He made a Carabao Cup appearance against Fleetwood Town this season to follow on from a brief outing last season against Boreham Wood in the FA Cup. He has featured heavily in Frank Lampard’s first team training sessions and whilst Welch is unlikely to seriously challenge the likes of Conor Coady, James Tarkowski or Michael Keane he is undoubtedly next in line following the unfortunate injuries to first teamers Yerry Mina, Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate.
Along with defender Jarrad Branthwaite who is out on loan at PSV Eindhoven this season, Everton are starting to form the core of the next generation that will take over at the Blues. Certainly Thelwell’s experience with young players and building the pipeline at Wolves is going to be called upon for that task.
There are a number of Under 21 prospects that, as things stand, will be out of contract at Everton at the end of June 2023 so there is bound to be further developments over the coming weeks and months. In particular, like Welch until this welcome news, players such as promising midfielder Isaac Price who trains regularly with the first team squad and right back Kyle John who was on the first team bench at Southampton would, as things stand, be free to find another club in July 2023.
In addition to those slightly familiar names, the likes of midfielders Sean McAllister and Seb Quirk, forward Charlie Whitaker, goalkeeper Zan-Luk Leban and left back Mackenzie Hunt have all been more or less ever-presents for the Under 21s this season and all have impressed.
Expect more to follow from Reece Welch!