Tactical Analysis: Everton’s Use of Young English Players

Tactical Analysis: Everton have enjoyed a good campaign in Ronald Koeman’s first season in charge and much of this can be put down to their use of young English players.

Manager Ronald Koeman said erlier in the season that he wouldn’t make any signings that would hinder the progress of young players at the club and stop them fulfilling their potential.

Koeman also said he would rather develop more young players than make new signings in an interview with the Liverpool Echo .

Tom Davies, Mason Holgate, Ademola Lookman and Dominic Calvert-Lewin again caught the eye for Everton this season.

Midfielder Davies looks like a real star in the making while Calvert-Lewin (20), Mason Holgate (20) and 19-year-old new signing Ademola Lookman have added to their reputations.

The Toffee’s have enjoyed a lot of success with a 4-3-2-1 formation, using three hard-working midfielders who can press hard, tackle and creative.

Like John Stones, Holgate joined Everton from Barnsley. Comfortable at centre back and right back, Holgate has managed 21 appearances this season but his best performances have come when playing as one of a back three.

Tom Davies: The Key?

Academy product Davies made his first Everton start of the season on 2 January 2017 and brought balance to the midfield and allowing Ross Barkley more space to play.

The 18-year-old midfielder who won Everton’s 2016-17 young player, performance and goal of the season awards energy ment he could support play going forward while being able to get back in to position if possession was lost.

He is able to dictate play with passes forward and out to the wings while allowing Ross Barkley to play further forward, giving him more time on the ball and produced some of his best performances.

When it Goes Right – Everton 4 Man City 0

Everton set up in a 3-5-2 formation, with Barkley pushing up to the front two of Lukaku and Mirallas to form a front three during attacks but dropping back into midfield to form a 3-5-2 formation when the ball was lost.

Playing to their strengths, Everton used the fast, strong and powerful Lukaku to get behind the City defense with long balls and use his ability to win headers then lay balls off to Mirallas, Barkley and sometimes the energetic Davies.

Long ball pace and energy were key for Everton, by full time Everton had scored 4 goals with 4 shots on target.

When it Goes Wrong – Tottenham 3 Everton 2

Everton were beaten 3-2 by Spurs in a disappointing display which saw Everton reluctant to attack and a nine-match unbeaten run come to an end.

Both teams play a simular style by pressing and having adaptable player but Spurs seem to be a few years ahead of Everton.

Spurs dominanted the game and in Harry Kane, they have a striker of true quality that the Everton defance struggled to contain.

The inclusion of a experienced Gareth Barry was a tactical error against a young midfield.


The Everton midfield is dysfunctional when Ross Barkley cannot to get into the game. He too often engaged in infringements and fouls rather than creating creating chances for Romelu Lukaku.

Everton Under-23’s PL2 Champions

Former Everton centre back David Unsworth’s side won the PL2 title, proving there are plenty more talented young English players ready to step up to first team action.

Matthew Pennington – The right back is a little older than those mentioned above but still only 22-years-old. Scored in the Merseyside derby and has been evolved in first team action in 2017 after loan spells at Tranmere, Coventry and Walsall.

Kieran Dowell – The 19-year-old midfielder made his debut in 2014 and has represented England at various youth levels. Scored 11 goals for the under-23’s this season and should expect more first team game time next season, especially if Barkley leaves.

Brendan Galloway – Signed from MK Dons in 2014. Played a number of first team games at left back before spending a disappointing 2016-17 season on loan at West Brom.

Callum Connolly – Made his first team debut in 2015. Became a Twitter sensation when he joined Wigan on loan and scored 2 goals just hours later.

Jonjoe Kenny – Right back Kenny made two Premier League appearances in 2017 and should hope for more game time while Colman is injured. Won the European Under-17 Championship with England in 2014.

Matty Foulds – 18-year-old centre back who signed from Bury in 2016 after just two senior games. A regular for the under-23’s.

Liam Walsh – England youth midfielder who has spent time on loan at Yeovil Town.

Antony Evans – Midfielder who joined Everton after training with rivals Liverpool. Spend time on loan at Morecambe in 2017.

Ben Pierce – Former Man Utd youth keeper.

About the author: Football Wonderkids Verified icon 1

Football has been my ultimate passion since day one. Football really started becoming a huge part of my life when I was 14, but with the Internet not being as prominent at the time, I had a hard time finding pertinent information. And this is exactly how Football-Wonderkids came about. As the website’s Founder, I’m on a mission to curate information on current youth players across the globe and make it readily available all in one place.

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