This article is part of Football FanCast’s In The Pipeline series, which takes a look at some of the most promising young talent either linked with clubs or emerging from their academies…
Everton have struggled in front of goal this season and the club have been crying out for a man to consistently hit the back of the net ever since Romelu Lukaku left. The Toffees have just 13 goals in 11 league games and the likes of Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin have just six league goals between so far.
Marco Silva’s concerns run deeper in the goalscoring department than just these two, however.
Waiting in the wings beyond these strikers, however, is young striker Ellis Simms, a player who could potentially break into the first team in the coming years.
The teenage sensation has been making an awful lot of noise down in the youth ranks with Everton, scoring 41 goals in 44 appearances for the U18s. After such an astonishing time with the youngsters, Simms made the move up to the U23s, where manager David Unsworth has become one of his biggest fans.
The 18-year-old began to prove his worth almost instantly with Unsworth’s men, as he scored the winner against Blackburn Rovers U23s back in September. After the game, the Everton youth boss said: “I can’t praise Ellis enough for the work he has done since we came back for pre-season on 1 July.
“He is a work in progress, but he is a natural goalscorer.
“We’re asking to him to play in a way that brings others into the game, too, showing work-rate and holding up the play.
“His movement when he came on tonight was exactly what we’ve been working on with him, and we’re delighted with that.”
Everton have shown with Tosun and Kean that splashing the cash isn’t always the best idea. Plus, other clubs such as Manchester United have shown recently that when you gradually bleed in youngsters at the right time, it can work a charm.
Mason Greenwood, who is the same age as Simms, is currently being drafted in for Europa League and League Cup ties. Now, the youngster has two goals in Europe this season and has shown he is certainly one for the future.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer seems to have hit the jackpot with Greenwood and is using him at the perfect time to help him progress. Now, perhaps it’s time for Silva to do the same with Simms, who could help save the goalscoring department, just as Greenwood is often doing for United.
The incredible return of 45 goals in 57 games for Simms suggests he can have an impact at a higher level. Plus, if the praise of Unsworth is anything to go by, Everton certainly have a tenacious superstar on their hands.
“Ellis is playing at a different level now to what he had been doing and everybody expects goals from him,” Unsworth told the Liverpool Echo in October.
“His runs behind, he’s holding up the ball, working for the team, all these things that you have to do in the real game, he’s certainly working really hard behind the scenes.”
This 18-year-old has proven to be a sensational find from Everton’s youth system, and he could both help save the club financially in the future and play a a key role in the senior squad.