David Unsworth has urged Everton’s young players to listen to Rafa Benitez as the manager makes regular visits to the club’s academy.
The Spaniard was confirmed as the new boss in June and got straight to work in preparing his side for the upcoming 2021/22 Premier League campaign.
Some youngsters have already got the chance to impress throughout pre-season, with a number playing in behind-closed-doors matches at Finch Farm while some were called up to the trip to the United States last month.
And Unsworth has now revealed that Benitez makes regular trips to the club’s academy to get insight on how the young players are doing, and has offered advice on what they should do when given their opportunity.
He told evertonfc.com : “I’m so delighted Rafa has taken the opportunity to regularly come to the Academy.
“He is interested in who could be good enough to make that step and who we are looking at for the future. He’s only been here a short time, but I’ve already had great conversations with him about the young players.
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“It’s fantastic for the players, they’ve got a new manager whose experience is unbelievable. He’s a top manager and he’s won the top trophies.
“When the young lads are training with the first team, they need to thrive off that environment. They need to listen and learn from Rafa and his staff when they get that opportunity.”
Everton have an exciting group of young players, with many fans looking towards some players as being the next to find their way into the first team.
And Unsworth has spoken of his pride at seeing the youngsters coming through the academy and his desire to see them make it at a senior level.
“We [the Academy and Under-23s coaching staff] can get the lads so far, but when they cross that threshold of being with the first team, it’s how quickly they adapt and learn – and how much they impress – that enables them to stay there,” he added.
“It takes different players different lengths of time to be ready for the first team – and some won’t be ready [to make that step].
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“Then, it’s about those players finding themselves a career in the Football League. A lot of our players are doing that, which we’re very proud of.
“The remit is to produce players for the first team, but not every player will. It’s about us making them as good as they can so they can have a career in the game. That’s the second remit of our job, that sometimes people don’t see.
“Of course, though, we’re really eager to produce the next batch of players and hopefully they take those opportunities with the first team.
“As when they get those chances, we’ll watch them with just as much pride as we’ve watched all the other ones over the years.”
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