Promising Everton star admits burning desire for first-team chance

Young Toffees prodigy Kieran Dowell says he is thrilled to be training alongside the club's senior stars.

Everton academy star Kieran Dowell has told the Liverpool Echo that he is "itching" to be given a chance in the first team after training with the club's senior stars.

The 18-year-old has been shining for the club's academy this season with some dazzling performances and superb goals, such as this free-kick he netted in a development squad match a few weeks ago.

The midfielder has made one senior appearance for the Toffees, coming on as a substitute in an academic Europa League tie with Kuban Krasnodar in December 2014, but has not been given any further opportunities since then.

However, Roberto Martinez last month backed the teenager to break into the first-team set-up sooner rather than later, and Dowell admits he is desperate for his chance after spending some time training with the senior players in recent weeks.

He told the Echo: "The good thing about [Martinez], and all the other first-team staff, is that they watch all the Under-21 games and the Under-18 games. You're always under the spotlight because of that. They don't miss a trick

"[This] is the sort of club you want to be at, a club where you get chances. Especially watching the likes of Ross [Barkley] and Tyias [Browning] recently, coming through the academy to play in the first team. They're travelling down the path we want to travel down.

"It's great just to be alongside these great players, rubbing shoulders with them. In training, you learn off these players. And then you start to build relationships with them and yeah, you do start to think 'I fancy myself that I could play with them.' I'm itching to get a chance."

As alluded to by Dowell, Everton have a good recent track record of promoting youngsters through their ranks, with the likes of Barkley, Browning and Matthew Pennington all having made appearances for the first team in recent times.

With the midfielder the jewel in the crown of the club's current development side, it seems likely that he will begin to be handed further chances in the near future, and it would not be too surprising to see him feature in the closing weeks of the current season with the Toffees having little left to play for in the league.

Though they have reached an FA Cup semi-final against either West Ham United or Manchester United, Martinez's side have endured a difficult Premier League campaign and sit in 12th position.

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