The last time Everton played a Premier League game without an Academy graduate in the 18 was October 14th, 1995, away to Bolton. For the interested, it was a 1-1 draw and Paul Rideout scored for the Toffees. By the hour mark, both teams were down to ten men and over 20,000 people saw the whole thing.
Since then, every single week has involved an Academy player at least suiting up. This streak, which will reach 1,000 games this weekend, is the second longest in the entire English game. (Manchester United's streak goes back to 1937)
Tom Davies and Wayne Rooney will carry the Academy banner this Sunday, and this streak hitting one thousand marks just one of many, many storylines involved in this week's game. Rooney returns to Old Trafford, Romelu Lukaku faces his former club, Jose Mourinho suffers through the moral indignity of having to play a game without his most expensive player, Ronald Koeman tries to figure out if a narrow 4-2-3-1 really is a bad idea when either Cuco Martina or Mason Holgate are providing half your team's width...
There are many great reasons why Everton is "The People's Club". One of them is the fact that young men from Merseyside who dream of playing in the Premier League are given every opportunity to succeed here, and they are a crucial part of our weekly chances of winning.
Building through the youth team doesn’t guarantee success. It does however, provide a sense of stability. It’s no accident that Brighton and Hove Albion’s last game without an Academy player was 2016, Huddersfield was 2017, and Bournemouth wasn’t just 2017 but this season. When you are a club that historically hasn’t been overflowing with funds, being able to provide strength from within can be a club’s biggest asset, not to mention it gives the fans at the games a personal connection when one of their own take the pitch.