Everton have long produced some exciting homegrown talent within their youth academy, and 18-year-old Lewis Dobbin could be the next youngster to become a household name.
After joining the Toffees aged 11, the youngster has continued to rise through the ranks at his boyhood club, even earning ten caps for England at various levels.
It’s for his club where Dobbin has been most impressive, though. In 36 appearances for Everton’s U18s, the striker has managed an eye-catching return of 14 goals and 11 assists, earning him almost a dozen outings for the U23s.
Manager David Unsworth has predicted a bright future for the versatile attacker after working with him in the youth side, claiming he’s going to be a “top player.”
“I’ve been champing at the bit to get him involved,” Unsworth told the Liverpool ECHO. “Him, and there’s probably one other under-18s player, who has done really well.
“I think it is important that we allow them to bed in, in their first-year scholarship to get used to the amount of training they do, the intensity of it.
“He’s going to be a top player, there’s absolutely no doubt about that, and the great thing tonight was that we had seven subs so it was great to get him involved.
“I was desperate to throw him on and he showed little glimpses of his pace and movement and there is an awful lot to work with there. I think he’s got a very bright future.”
Current Everton striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin was the last forward to come off of the club’s illustrious conveyor belt after arriving from Sheffield United, and with the 24-year-old currently sidelined through injury, Dobbin has had his first glimpse of Premier League action.
New boss Rafa Benitez has brought the teenager off the bench for the final moments against both Norwich City and Manchester United this season, with the Spanish tactician indicating he’s close to get more minutes in the senior setup.
“He’s training well with us so he’s close,” Benitez revealed. “How close? If we have a very difficult game, in theory he cannot be the first choice if you have Richarlison for example.
“If it’s an easy game, maybe he can. I’m sure that he will have his opportunity if he continues working as he is now.”
With Cenk Tosun edging closer to the Goodison Park exit door and Salomon Rondon failing to impress in the opening weeks of the campaign, Benitez could turn to Dobbin in the weeks ahead, giving a clear as to just how highly the youngster is rated at Everton.