David Unsworth delighted with Everton academy success after Kieran Dowell debut

Everton Goodison 2

The Toffees youth manager has overseen a remarkable number of youngsters make the step up to the first team in just two years.

Everton academy manager David Unsworth has told the Liverpool Echo that he has achieved the aims he set out when he took over the role two years ago, but admitted that he is "greedy" in wanting to produce even more successful talent.

Since the former Toffees defender rejoined the club in 2014, numerous players have made the step up from under-21s football to the first team, with attacking prodigy Kieran Dowell the latest future star to make his Premier League debut.

Other members of Roberto Martinez's current first-team squad to have made the grade under Unsworth include Matthew Pennington, Tyias Browning, Brendan Galloway, Callum Connolly, Tom Davies, and Gethin Jones.

Five academy stars were handed a first senior opportunity in the Europa League group-stage clash with Kuban Krasnodar in December 2014 after Everton had already qualified for the knockout rounds.

Unsworth admits that was a special moment for himself and the players, and says that he is delighted with the progress he has been able to make so far.

The 42-year-old, who played 348 times across two spells with the Merseyside club, told the Liverpool Echo: "The players have been outstanding and are getting so many plaudits, and quite rightly so, but they are getting them as a group. I always say that if the group is strong then the individuals in that group will shine.

"When I got the job two years ago I said that if we don’t seven or eight through then we are failing. That is what we looked at two years ago and this group have been successful together and we can get more through. We still want more, that is the greedy side of doing my job.

"The Krasnodar game was pretty special when the manager decided to go that way, and there’s also been Brendan Galloway and Matty Pennington and then we had Kieran Dowell, Tom Davies and Callum Connolly - those are big numbers. Getting one or two through is great but when you get big numbers like that it is really, really powerful."

Everton's strong youth contingent has been one of the bright spots of an otherwise disappointing season as they look likely to finish in the bottom half of the table for a second season running.

Toffees fans will be hoping to see more of Dowell and his fellow academy stars in the remaining three matches of the season with the club having little meaningful to play for.

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