There were some new faces this week in training at Finch Farm this week as youngsters Sean McAllister, Stanley Mills, Isaac Price and Kyle John trained with the first teamers. Previously we had seen Lewis Dobbin, Reece Welch and Isaac Price called up by Frank Lampard, but this was a first for McAllister at least.
When McAllister signed for Everton nearly three years ago at the age of 16 from Northern Irish outfit Dungannon Swifts he probably dreamed of the day he would be in sight of the first team manager in training. Well after Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez had all departed, his chance finally came along this week under the charge of Lampard.
It has to be acknowledged that during the past fortnight the Blues have had several players away on international duty along with a few injuries and illnesses but to finally be in among the first team squad must have been a big boost for the 19 year old player from the small town of Randalstown in Northern Ireland.
I have seen him on many occasions over the past 18 months. Although injuries have hampered his progress this term and indeed, as things stand, his contract expires in the summer he has always impressed me with his energy, stamina and versatility. Right midfield is possibly his strongest position, but he has lined up at left and centre midfield, and even at right back when needed by David Unsworth. He has an eye for goal as evidenced by the FA Youth Cup run of 2020/21 and is quite powerfully built so should not find the physicality of the Premier League an issue.
Although his name was perhaps the surprise one to be called out as part of the training squad, it was also very pleasing to see John and Mills (son of former England international Danny) join the “regulars” stepping up from the Under 23s, namely Dobbin, Welch and Price most recently.
Good luck to any of the boys who can step up over the remainder of the season, it’s good to see them getting to spend some time with the seniors at Finch Farm, and here’s hoping some of their spirit passes off onto the jaded veterans.