Everton’s trio of young first-team stars have revealed that they feel part of the club’s first-team squad despite their tender years.
Tom Davies, Mason Holgate and Dominic Calvert-Lewin took time out of their busy schedule to sit down and chat to Everton’s ?official website after the trio all broke into the first-team setup at varying points this season.
Davies and Holgate were lauded for their superb performances in Sunday’s 4-0 thrashing of Manchester City, while Calvert-Lewin has also received praise despite currently being sidelined for eight weeks with an ankle injury.
Quizzed over their thoughts at breaking into Ronald Koeman’s senior side, the three youngsters each stated that it was surprising to get the nod, but felt that they were deserving of the opportunity after impressing for the club’s Under-23s side.
Davies said: “I definitely feel part of it (the first-team). I’m with them all the time – always being around them and travelling to the games – so we definitely feel part of it.”
Holgate continued: “It just goes to show that the new coach is willing to put in anyone who’s willing to do well. If young players are doing well, he’ll give you a chance.”
Calvert-Lewin added: “It was a bit quicker that I got into the first team (than expected) but I’ve embraced it, gone with it and really enjoyed it so far. It was quite surreal really (making my debut). It’s a young footballer’s dream, so to play in the Premier League it’s another thing off the bucket list.”
The trio went on to praise Under-23s head coach and Everton hero David Unsworth for the role that he had played in each of their developments, with Calvert-Lewin in particular hailing the 43-year-old for bringing him to Everton.
He said: ?”A lot of that’s down to Unsy. Obviously he was the main one driving it to get me to Everton in the first place, so I’ve got to thank him a lot for the opportunity I’ve been given here.”
Holgate added: “He’s helped me a lot in my first year here. Just getting those basics in defending, like positioning. He’s helped me out a lot.”
Davies was handed his senior bow towards the end of the 2015/16 campaign under predecessor Roberto Martinez, while Holgate and Calvert-Lewin had to wait until this term to be given opportunities to impress by Koeman.
The young stars each agreed that the noise created by the Goodison Park faithful had been something to savour, and credited Evertonians with helping them settle into first-team matters with ease on the pitch.
A lot of people like to compare Mason Holgate with John Stones. There is no comparison. Holgate is a defender that loves to defend. #EFC
— David Downie (@daviddownie17) January 16, 2017
Calvert-Lewin said: “The atmosphere – you can’t really replicate that and it’s something I’ve never played in before. The fans want to see young players on the pitch so when you see and feel that, you grow a little bit taller. You want to play for the fans.”
Holgate agreed, stating: “Everyone who’s ever played there knows what the atmosphere is like. It’s one of the best in the league – the fans are so close so it definitely raises your game when you’re playing.”
With his first senior goal now in the bag, and a number of impressive displays in his locker, Davies is seen as the next big thing to come out of Everton’s famed youth academy and, when asked if it was surreal to be noticed on the street by fans, he beamed with pride at the thought of being recognised.
Everton with Tom Davies on the field in PL career: 363 mins played; 12 goals scored; 0 conceded.
— Matt Cheetham (@Matt_Cheetham) January 15, 2017
The 18-year-old said: “It’s strange! You don’t expect people to know you but it’s nice when people do actually speak to you, and come over and say hello. It’s good for all the lads that come through, but especially the local lads. When you see fans around Liverpool, they’re always great with you and it’s just a privilege to play.”
The triumvirate have become good friends on and off the pitch after breaking into the first-team at the same time, and the camaraderie between all three is clear to see – with a hint of the banter between them on show during one particular question about media duties.
Calvert-Lewin quipped: “I used to have to do a bit when I was out on loan from Sheffield Wednesday, and I know Davo (Davies) is used to being on telly having been on ‘Game of Thrones’! But we’re used to it.”
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