Moyes gives youth a chance
Everton manager David Moyes admits the Barclays Premier League is a difficult place for up-and-coming footballers but he believes the club do more than most to promote young talent.
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The Toffees' academy has produced a number of players for the first team over the years and Moyes, sometimes out of necessity, has given youngsters opportunities to prove themselves.
Everton's latest highly-regarded prospect Ross Barkley has been loaned out to npower Championship club Sheffield Wednesday for a month in order to give him the chance of more regular football.
It was a difficult decision for Moyes, considering his squad is not the biggest, but he admitted the 18-year-old was not quite ready to play a big part for the first team although probably deserved more than being left in the under-21s.
"It is tough to put young players in the first team because Premier League games are so valuable and even league positions where you finish are worth a lot of money," said the Scot.
"And if I lost, the media wouldn't be 'It was great I played Ross Barkley', you'd be asking me about a defeat.
"I think that is part of the Premier League now, it makes it difficult. But I do think we have been one of the better clubs at introducing young players and trying to give them opportunities and we will continue to do so.
"Ross is ready to go play at a senior level, but not quite here yet. I remember the likes of Leon Osman going out on loan to Carlisle and Derby before he played and, from my playing career, David Beckham came and played for us at Preston.
"You have to remember he is only 18 years old and he missed a lot of football (having sustained a triple-break of his leg in 2011).
"He came on the scene last year and we tried to get him lots of games with the youth team and reserve team.
"But the chance to get him some regular football is more important for his long-term development because he is not ready to play regularly for us now.
"It will be good for him to have the chance to go and make some mistakes and learn at Sheffield Wednesday, a big club with a big support."
Moyes has not ruled out the prospect of sending other young players out on loan but for the moment he will keep hold of Shane Duffy, who was loaned out to Scunthorpe last season before returning to make a handful of first-team appearances.
The 20-year-old signed a new three-year contract this week and Moyes believes he has shown the benefit of regular football elsewhere, although the Northern Irishman may have to wait a bit longer to get it again.
"We might look at sending Shane Duffy out on loan but we have to field a team in the new under-21 league," said Moyes.
"It looks like everyone is taking that a little bit more seriously and we'd like to be as strong as we can be.
"We'd like to see the players come on but Ross, and maybe Shane, are in a different situation.
"My idea is to keep Shane here. He went out to Scunthorpe on loan last season and came back and played a couple of games - I thought it made a big difference.
"He had confidence and he understood playing on a Saturday was serious, meaning an awful lot to supporters and managers."