The Everton academy has been no stranger to some true footballing gems in the past.
The likes of Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley have honed their skills in the Goodison Park youth ranks, and it seems that a number of other starlets could be next in line.
David Unsworth’s Under-23 side have just come off the back of a season laden with silverware, in which the Toffees’ young guns scooped the Premier League 2 title and Premier League Cup double.
Amongst the most impressive performers in 2018/19 was wide man Josh Bowler.
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The winger scored three goals in 16 league appearances last term, and his performance against Sheffield United back in February as Everton came from behind to win drew high praise from Unsworth, who told the Toffees’ official website (via HITC): “Josh Bowler was terrific. We need to get the ball to his feet in the final third and that’s where you see his magic.
“He did great for both goals, he’s been out for a couple of weeks but that 90 minutes and the two assists will do him the world of good.”
The 20-year-old also seems to have caught the attention of Hull boss Grant McCann who has spoken glowingly about the winger after signing him on loan for the upcoming 2019/20 season.
It should be a good opportunity for the academy graduate at a side who has proved that they give youngsters chances through their use of Jarrod Bowen, who has developed into an excellent player.
McCann said: “Josh is a player that has excited a lot of teams and managers with the way he performed for Everton’s U23s last season.
“What he will bring to the team is pace, directness and energy – he’ll get people off their seats because he wants to beat defenders. He wants to create and score goals and I’m sure he will prove to be a great acquisition for us.”
Bowler follows Joao Virginia in securing a loan move to a Championship side following their success with the Under-23 side last term, and it will be intriguing to see how he copes in the senior game.
It’s all well and good excelling in the academy, but game time amongst experienced professionals in a dog-eat-dog league like the Championship will be invaluable for the winger’s development.
Everton quite clearly have an outstanding crop of youngsters who swatted aside all who stood before them last term, and it is encouraging to see Bowler take the step away from the academy to test himself.
If you didn’t already know about the young attacker and what he can bring to the Toffees, you do now.