David Unsworth was full of praise for Everton U21s after last night’s 1-0 EFL Trophy victory over Morecambe, labelling midfielder Charlie Whitaker “outstanding” in conversation with the club’s official website.
One of the most effusive coaches in the game, it was no surprise to see Unsworth beaming from ear to ear after a fresh-faced Everton side claimed a creditable group-stage victory over third-tier Morecambe at the Globe Arena.
A superb second-half effort by Sean McAllister sealed the win, while Everton’s trio of centre-halves – Ryan Astley, Reece Welch and Joe Anderson – stood strong as Morecambe knocked on the door late on.
17-year-old Whitaker, meanwhile, has made a big impact since stepping up to U23 level in recent months, scoring three times in four Premier League 2 matches before further enhancing his reputation with an eye-catching display in midweek.
“The midfield boys worked their socks off and Charlie Whitaker was outstanding, he worked tirelessly,” said Unsworth.
“I thought the back three (Astley, Welch and Anderson) were superb – and they had to be. You can’t fault anybody tonight.
“We know we can pass the ball and play through the thirds, but when you come away from home, you have to compete.
“Even if our first team came here in the FA Cup, they’d have spells where they would have to compete in areas like set-pieces and wide free-kicks. Our boys stood up to that, so I’m delighted for them.”
Whitaker and others stand out in rejigged Everton side
Due to a lack of options in full-back areas, midfielder Stan Mills and centre-half Eli Campbell were forced to fill in at full-back.
“We’ve gone to a back-five because we’ve got no full-backs at the moment, and Stan and Eli are doing a terrific job for us,” Unsworth adds of two players who impressed at wing-back.
“I felt (the new system) helped us tonight, having an extra body in the box.”
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