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Everton must not lose sight of their youth tradition

Everton must ensure they do not leave their young talents alienated.

Mathew Nash



Joe Royle is something of a legend around Goodison Park. The 69-year-old Liverpudlian started his playing career at the club, playing over 250 games for the club and scoring 119 goals.

He then went on to manage the Toffees from 1994 to 1997. The last time Everton lifted any silverware, the 1995 FA Cup, it was Royle who coached them to that success.

His affiliation with Everton did later continue. Royle took up a role with the youth team at Everton in 2014 and was acting as the coordinator for the talented Everton under-23s this season. That meant ensuring the needs of the young players were met and he was also the liaison between the club and any young players currently out on loan. For Everton, at the moment, that is a lot.

(Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images)

But in December, he stood down from his official capacity at the club and fair play to him. The man has devoted much of his life to Everton Football Club and not a single Evertonian in the land would begrudge him a happy retirement.

The problem, however, appears to be Everton not replacing him.

Back in March, one of Everton’s top talents spoke to Green’Un 24 about his loan spell at Ipswich Town. Callum Connolly, who won the World Cup with England’s under-20s in the summer, admitted he was not in contact with his parent club as much as he would have liked.

That sentiment has been relayed by another Everton loanee. Antonee Robinson, the American left-back who has been in great form at Bolton Wanderers, told Royal Blue Mersey he had not been in contact with his parent club regarding his future:

“No, not yet, I’ll probably have to figure that out in preseason when I’m with them.”

The concern for Everton fans is that their young players are being forgotten about. The Finch Farm factory has a rich history of developing top talent and at the moment it is flooded with brilliant players.

(Photo by Jan Kruger/Getty Images)

The likes of Connolly, Robinson, Jonjoe Kenny, Kieran Dowell, Anthony Evans, Beni Baningime, Fraser Hornby and Joe Williams all have the ability to make it at Goodison Park if they are nurtured correctly.

In the big spending era of Farhad Moshiri the club cannot forget their roots and tradition of developing young talent. Just look at how Tottenham have managed to blend the two dynamics for an example of how it can be done successfully.

Everton must ensure their talented youngsters feel like there is a pathway to join the likes of Tony Hibbert, Ross Barkley and Wayne Rooney in making it from the Everton youth-team to the first team.

West Ham United

Isaac Hayden wants move down south and West Ham should oblige him

The Essex-born midfielder wants to move back south and West Ham would be the perfect fit.

Mathew Nash



West Ham United have made some excellent signings this summer, with many eye-catching arrivals. Big names like Jack Wilshere, Felipe Anderson and Andriy Yarmolenko have all arrived at the London Stadium.

But West Ham do not appear to be done, with numerous other rumours doing the rounds. Whilst bringing in eye-catching big names is fantastic for West Ham, they should also be considering the less extravagant but just as important recruits.

One player West Ham should certainly be keen on is Newcastle United midfielder, Isaac Hayden.

He recently handed in a transfer request at St James’ Park as he wants to return to the south. A former Arsenal youth product, he is actually good pals with new West Ham recruit Wilshere. The Essex-born 23-year-old would, therefore, relish the chance to head to West Ham and get his wish.

For West Ham, Hayden would be a fantastic recruit.

The defensive midfielder has played an unheralded but important role for Newcastle in the two seasons he has been up north. If looking for an indicator of his importance to the club, just look at the reaction from fans to the news he might be leaving.

(Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images)

Hayden is a reliable, versatile and no-nonsense option that West Ham could definitely do with in the heart of the midfield.

With Cheikhou Kouyate’s talents diminishing, Pedro Obiang recovering from knee surgery and Wilshere obviously prone to injury, having another midfield option could be key for West Ham.

They absolutely must pounce on this opportunity to bring Hayden back down south.

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Everton have Lucas Digne bid accepted, a player Jurgen Klopp wanted in 2016

The French left-back has been the subject of a £22m bid from Everton.

Mathew Nash



It appears that Everton have identified the left-back they want to sign this summer. Lucas Digne has been linked with the club in recent days. Now, according to the Mirror, Everton have agreed a £22 million fee with his club Barcelona.

Everton want a long-term replacement for Leighton Baines but decided against first-choice Kieran Tierney due to Celtic’s asking price for the Scotland international. Now Digne appears to be the first-choice.

This is not the first time that Digne has had the chance to head to Merseyside. In the summer of 2016, it was reported that Liverpool were after the Frenchman.

(Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)

The Mirror reported that Liverpool made an enquiry for the player in July 2016. But he headed to Barcelona instead. The Catalan club paid £13.8 million to sign the player from PSG, with Liverpool missing out.

“PSG already had an offer from a good English team but when we got in touch with the manager [he] told us that the player only wanted to come to Barcelona.”

-Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez after signing Digne

The Reds ended up playing James Milner at left-back that season, before signing Andrew Robertson a year ago.

Things have worked out for Liverpool, with Robertson a star player last term.

But Everton will love to bring in a player that Liverpool wanted just two years ago.

Digne, who thrived at Lille before struggling to break into the first-team at both PSG and Barcelona, also enjoyed an excellent loan spell at Roma in 2015-16.

With 21-caps for France and at only 25-years-old Everton will be getting a great player if Digne arrives. In an added bonus, a little burn on their local rivals will only make the deal sweeter.

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Tottenham Hotspur

Fresh Erik Lamela could be key for Tottenham Hotspur next season

Tottenham Hotspur will hope the Argentine can remain fit this season.

Mathew Nash



Tottenham Hotspur secured the long-term future of two first-team regulars this weekend, with Heung-min Son and Erik Lamela both signing new deals.

It has certainly not been plain sailing for either player during their time in North London. After a disappointing first season, the South Korean was nearly sold back to Germany. Lamela, on the other hand, has had to battle several injury and personal problems.

Signed in the wake of Gareth Bale’s exit to Real Madrid the Argentine became Tottenham’s record signing. Spurs paid Roma £30 million for the player in the summer of 2013.

But despite showing his best at times for Spurs and become a cult hero with one section of Tottenham fans, injuries have blighted him.

(Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

There was back trouble first and then a hip problem. The latter kept him out of action for over a year.

After returning to action in November he started just seven Premier League games but this season could be huge for the 26-year-old.

He has already impressed in pre-season, netting a hat-trick against Southend United. After a bit-part 2017-18 season which saw Lamela nursing his way back into first-team football, he will be fully fit this term.

Fresh, fit and with the bit between his teeth Tottenham could have a different beast on their hands with Lamela this term.

Hopefully, he can discover the form he showcased in the 2015-16 campaign.

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