Everton: Lampard’s youth development shows shades of Chelsea strategy

Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images) /

Everton have revamped their club management in the past eight months or so. Firstly, Frank Lampard was appointed as the club manager in January and then Kevin Thelwell took over the vacant role of Director of Football at Everton in February 2022. In June 2022, Everton made three appointments in the form of Gareth Posser as new academy director, Paul Tait as U21s head coach and legend Leighton Baines as the U18s coach.

Apart from the obvious agenda of strengthening the first team squad, Thelwell and Lampard wanted to instill a system in the youth ranks that can produce dynamic players and make their way into the first team.

The development program for academy players has always been very important and the Toffees seem to be taking steps in the right direction. A number of academy graduates have showcased fine talent and have the potential to develop into a first team player quickly. After consistent performances for the U21 and U23 sides, the players are not able to get many first team chances because of number of players already in the first team or because of team’s situation where academy players cannot experiment.

Everton seem to have taken out a page from Chelsea’s book when it comes to youth development. The Toffees have started loaning out their best academy players to clubs where they can get regular minutes and flourish. The Merseysiders did send players out on loan before but for the first time this many youngsters have been on the loan departure list.

Everton have loaned out a total of 10 youngsters

The Blues have a total of 10 youngsters out on loan already out of which seven are from the U21 side. Goalkeeper Harry Tryer joined Chester on loan for the entire season after showing potential in the academy. Defender Ryan Astley joined League One side, Accrington Stanley, on loan. Last season, Astley played in 23 Premier League two games, captaining in seven of them and keeping five clean sheets.

Midfielder Tyler Onyango joined Burton Albion on loan after a impressive season last term, where he made his Premier League debut, showcasing his midfield abilities. The lanky midfielder reminds of a Marouane Fellaini as Onyango possesses similar skills and style. A loan move was crucial for him to get more game time and be a leader in the midfield in whichever team he plays.

Lewis Gibson has been a nomad, going from one club to another, completing his fourth loan move of his Everton career. The defender has not quite cut into the first team yet but he continues to grow at the club that he plays. Perhaps, the Toffees might sell him in the future after grooming him.

The forward trio of Lewis Dobbin, Ellis Simms and Nathan Broadhead has also proceeded onto loan assignments. This is perhaps the most well developed trio who have showcased excellent skills at academy level and even when sent out on a loan. Broadhead at 24 was loaned to Wigan Athletic. The Toffees were thinking to sell him but the interested teams did not table suitable offers which meant that Broadhead would be loaned.

On the other hand, Dobbin was one of the best players for the U23s last season and was loaned to Derby this season. He was perhaps too good for Premier League 2 football and still needed time to mature to be ready for first team action. Simms is arguably tearing the Championship apart with three goals in five games for Sunderland. Come next season, he could well be past Salomon Rondon in the pecking order and play backup to Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

In the senior side, Joao Virginia (22) joined SC Cambuur in Eredivisie, following the extension of Asmir Begovic and Andy Lonergan. The Portuguese will have far more play time at Cambuur than warming the bench at Everton. Niels Nkounkou (21) joined Championship side Cardiff City on loan as he continues to sharpen his skills and shape himself as a capable left back for the future. Lastly, the ball playing centre back Jarrad Branthwaite (20) has joined PSV Eindhoven on loan as game time would have been minimal due to the arrivals of two new senior centre backs.

Now, not all of these may manage to make a name for themselves in the senior team in the future, but sending them on valuable loan spells will surely see their stock rise as they grow in their game and in age.

A shade of Chelsea strategy being implemented has been seen. Nonetheless, Everton are preparing a solid base for the future with a robust and well-thought approach.

Next. Europa League club monitored Everton man with six goal contributions in 2021-22. dark

Will Everton’s loan strategy succeed?