Everton FC: 5 More Young Toffees Poised to Break Through

Matt Cheetham@@Matt_CheethamCorrespondent IJuly 17, 2013

VIENNA, AUSTRIA - JULY 14:  Francisco Junior of Everton in action during the preseason friendly match between Austria Wien and FC Everton at the Generali Arena on July 14, 2013 in Vienna, Austria.  (Photo by Christian Hofer/Getty Images)
Christian Hofer/Getty Images

The average age of a typical Everton XI last season was between 28 and 29 years old, one of the higher averages among Premier League lineups.

Despite David Moyes generally being regarded as a manager who favours youth, there was a clear lack of younger prospects in and around the first-team setup, which is something for Roberto Martinez to address.

The main issue is a lack of first-team starters under the age of 25.

Everton's Chief Executive; Robert Elstone, recently spoke about the matter to The Liverpool Echo and highlighted his new manager's ambitions:

Clearly our Academy graduates are very, very important.

Roberto has come in and probably one of the first things he has looked at is the transition between 16/17 years of age when players are almost leaving the Academy up to 21 and 22.

He feels that we have improvements to make in that age group.

A few weeks ago we brought you a piece on five Everton youngsters in with a chance of making the first team under Roberto Martinez. That list featured an entirely British and Irish contingent of Ross Barkley, John Stones, John Lundstram, Matthew Kennedy and Shane Duffy.

Continuing on with this theme, here's a look at five more prospects with a chance of breaking through at Everton this season, or in the near future.

Gerard Deulofeu

Despite making just a handful of appearances for Barcelona's first team, Gerard Deulofeu is already a fairly well-known name among football fans, although he's yet to regularly showcase his skills at the highest level.

That will almost certainly change this year with the Spanish youngster in line to make a considerable impact at Everton, where he's to spend this coming season on loan.

After a potentially slow integration process, expect him to become heavily involved in the first-team picture, announcing himself to the Premier League with copious amounts of flair.

At the end of the year he's guaranteed to return to Barcelona, but Evertonians will enjoy watching him fully establish himself in their colours.

Chris Long

Long is a clinical finisher with an impressive goalscoring record at Under-18 level. This season he must make the transition to Everton's second-string side, but his rate of development over the past 12 months has been particularly rapid and exciting to track.

Still just 18 years old, he featured for England Under-20s this summer at the World Cup, and just signed his first professional deal with the club.

If he continues on with this speedy progression it won't be long until he's considered for future first-team squads.

Joel Robles

Tim Howard has never felt any pressure from an understudy during his time at Everton, but the five-year deal signed by Spanish Under-21 goalkeeper, Joel, should quickly change that.

While the Spaniard will initially deputise for Howard, he certainly didn't arrive at the Toffees to warm the bench for all that time. Martinez has already stated how pleased he's been with Joel's preseason debut, and it seems likely the Spaniard will take the gloves for Everton's early cup games this season.

If he performs well and Howard starts off in sloppy fashionas he did last yearthen it won't take long for fans to start calling for change.

George Green

George Green has slowly slipped off the radars of most Everton fans, barely featuring in academy teams towards the end of last season.

Whether that's due to slow development, poor attitude or some personal issues with the Toffees' management is unclear, but with Roberto Martinez now in charge, there is sure to be a fresh start for all.

Brought in from Bradford, Green signed a professional deal for the Toffees the moment he was eligible and has the raw talent and potential to go right to the top of the game. Still only 17 years old, he certainly has time on his side, and if Martinez can help him back on track he could make rapid progress this year.

Francisco Junior

Signed on a free from Manchester City, Junior's development was slightly halted by a forgettable debut against Leeds last season, in which he was hauled off at half-time with the Toffees trailing.

Keen to put that tepid display behind him, Junior's been involved in Everton's preseason program so far and, following Phil Neville's retirement, may be closer to the first-team picture than many people imagine.


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