Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti has told the younger members of his squad hoping for first-team action they are going to have to be patient and work hard to get their chance.
Academy graduate Anthony Gordon impressed in the 3-0 Carabao Cup win over League Two Salford while fellow 19-year-old Niels Nkounkou, an unheralded £250,000 left-back signed from Marseille’s B team this summer, stood out on his debut.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti made 10 changes for the match and it is likely he will make a similar number in restoring his first-choice line-up for the visit of West Brom.
For the likes of Gordon, who had made just 14 appearances since his debut in December 2017, it means playing another waiting game.
“He did well. He was dangerous up front, one-against-one he was quick and fast, a good performer,” Ancelotti said of Gordon, who provided the assist for the crucial second goal for Gylfi Sigurdsson 16 minutes from time and also hit the woodwork twice.
“Every player wants to play, I know this, but he is young and he has to improve step-by-step.
“He has to be focused in training and work hard and he will be a good player because he has skills and ability.
“I have confidence in all the players. You have to be patient with the younger ones because the have to improve and reach the top level but it is important for them to stay focused, to be passionate and work hard.
“Nkounkou and Gordon are young, they can improve but they have a good base.”
Part of the challenge for the pair is getting past the established members of the first team.
Following the signings of James Rodriguez, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Allan some of last season’s regulars may find their pitch time restricted.
“It doesn’t matter what game you play, it is always a good chance to show you can play for this club,” said club-record signing Sigurdsson, who was one of the 10 changes.
“At a big club like Everton you know they are going to bring in players and it is good thing we are bringing in players and making the squad stronger to have more competition.
“We will have a lot of games this season so it is good we have a big squad.”
Victory over Salford made it two wins from two at the start of a new season but Ancelotti is not getting carried away.
“When you start a competition you try to do your best – all the competitions are important,” he added.
“We have stated well this season but we have to look to the next game, nothing more.”