Onyango signs first pro deal

Friday, 24 July, 2020 55comments  |  Jump to last
Highly-regarded young midfielder Tyler Onyango has signed his first professional contract with Everton.

The 17-year-old, who has been part of the Finch Farm Academy since the age of eight, agreed a three-year deal.

Now a regular member of David Unsworth's Under-23s team, Onyango is also an England Under-17 international.


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Kevin Prytherch
1 Posted 24/07/2020 at 20:40:47
Championship standard at best. Just another Davies or Osman. If he was that highly rated he would have had scouts at a big club hovering around him.

Just another example of Unsworth's bullshit keeping hold of youngsters who are blatantly not going to make it.

Brent Stephens
2 Posted 24/07/2020 at 20:45:53
Kevin, he's a 17-year-old, in our Under-23s. What I've seen of him impresses me. If my wife would lend me a fiver, I'd bet on him being on our first team bench at some point. Not yet but...
Tony Everan
3 Posted 24/07/2020 at 20:50:53
I've not seen this boy play but Steve Ferns was talking about him a few weeks ago and says he is progressing well. So a bit of a contrast with Kevin's opinion of him above.

At 17, he is still firmly in the development stage. He could flatline or could yet improve a lot. The coaches there must think he has a shot at making it and they assess him, day-in and day-out.

Stephen Vincent
4 Posted 24/07/2020 at 21:19:23
Love your optimism, Kevin. So refreshing!!!!
Gary Willock
5 Posted 24/07/2020 at 21:31:52
With ‘fans' like Kevin, who needs enemies. Either a plant, or a moaner beyond the pale.
Richard Mason
6 Posted 24/07/2020 at 21:39:39
Fuck off, Kevin. He is 17 years of age. Plenty of development to go...
Joe McMahon
7 Posted 24/07/2020 at 21:52:59
Kevin, I know most from the Academy end in the lower leagues, but give the lad a chance. Let's wait until we see a bit of him first before he's written off.
Kieran Kinsella
8 Posted 24/07/2020 at 21:53:58
Kevin, if he's another Osman, then he's worth keeping. It's actually nice to see a 17-year-old get U23 minutes and a contract. Unsworth's “bullshit”, as you say, was giving contracts to 20-somethings who weren't even automatic starters for the U23s.
Robert Tressell
9 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:09:44
Every time Kevin does it, every time people fall for it...
Brent Stephens
11 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:13:55
Ah, Kevin, you got me! If memory serves correct, your posts are usually good 'uns.
Geoff Lambert
12 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:19:35
Hook line and sinker.
Brent Stephens
13 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:22:47
I'm still wriggling, Geoff!
Steve Ferns
14 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:26:59
One of the three jewels of the Under-18s side. Glad we've tied him down.

It was a real eye-opener to see him train with the first team before his 17th birthday. It's clear that he had been introduced to Carlo Ancelotti and the first team on merit and ahead of all the other U18s and U23s for good reason. Indeed, only Beni Baningime and Denis Adeniran were with the first team at this point. This shows just how well thought of this boy is.

What's he like? He's exceptionally tall, probably going to end up 6'-4” at least. He's got long limbs but he's very slight. He's a defensive midfielder with a great engine. So, black, big, tall, runs and tackles: the obvious comparison is made with Patrick Vieira. But watch young Tyler glide about and the way he steals the ball and dictates the play, well he could well be another Vieira.

I've big hopes for this kid. He needs to keep his head screwed on, work hard and get lucky with injuries. And please, no loans before he's 20.

Bill Gienapp
15 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:32:27
I was going to say, isn't this Kevin's shtick? I couldn't remember for sure.
Patrick McFarlane
16 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:34:34
Peter Reynolds isn't convinced that Everton is developing its young talent and indeed is guilty of hanging on to some of them too long. I haven't a clue, because I concentrate on the first team, and whilst it's great if a youngster makes the grade, is it an area that the club should re-examine?

There's no doubt about it; Everton are holding players back for far too long in the Under-23s, which is delaying (if not preventing) the development of these players, as well as players in younger age groups.

We should be treating Everton's Under-23s more like an Under-18s team, with players ready to go out on loan by the age of 19, otherwise we're going to keep seeing players go to waste.

U23s Misued?

Gavin Johnson
17 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:37:38
In Kevin's defence, I'm sure he must have misread the story. I'm not familiar with the kid but he must be a very exciting prospect if he's already with the U-23s at 17. That doesn't happen too often so look forward to hearing more about him next season.

On young players playing above their age group, who's the lad who's meant to be an exciting striker who was scoring to a prodigious level for his age group?? It's not Ellis Simms I'm thinking of. He's younger.

Steve Ferns
18 Posted 24/07/2020 at 22:49:23
Gavin, that would be Lewis Dobbin, the second jewel of the U18s.

Expect the U23s to challenge to win the PL2 this coming season. Last season, we had lost the core of a league winning side; now we have a core of a PL2 winning side emerging, but they are all 17, 18 or 19 and so it might be the season after they really show their class at this level and hopefully, by the year, after they'll be in the first team.

The boys to look out for include:

Ryan Astley - 18 CB / RB captain of wales
Jarod Branthwaite - 18 CB probably lost to the first team now
Lewis Gibson - 20 CB - already past U23 level and on loan
Niels Nkounkou - 19 LB - the young Frenchman we just signed

Tyler Onyango - 17 DMC - see above
Bobby Carroll - 18 CM - box-to-box midfielder with an eye for the through ball
Lewis Warrington - 18 AMC - gifted number 10 who can play wide

Tom Carroll - 18 CF - the striker who wears 9 and scores for fun
Lewis Dobbin - 17 LF - plays up top but like Richarlison, is best coming in off the left onto his right foot. Great dribbler and scores loads.

Edit: I forgot the keepers. There's a reason our sub keeper left for Germany. We've got 20-year-old Joao Virginia, 18-year-old Nico Hansen — and let's not forget Toffeeweb's own Harry Tyrer.

Gavin Johnson
19 Posted 24/07/2020 at 23:03:08
Yes, that's the lad, Steve.

Just been reading about Onyango. He does sound like one of those that only come round once in a while. Luckily we've also got three more in Dobbin, Branthwaite and Gordon. With Gibson and Nkounkou this team actually looks better on paper than the one that won the double.

You're right that Branthwaite, Gordon and possibly Gibson (if not on a Championship loan) will be in the 1st team squad next season.

Nicholas Ryan
20 Posted 24/07/2020 at 23:18:26
'17 years old and Championship standard at best'. Just 6 weeks ago, there were people in Carlisle, saying that about Jarrad Branthwaite! [note the spelling, Steve Ferns!]
John Dean
21 Posted 24/07/2020 at 23:32:50
Who was the last 17-year-old to get a 3-year contract? It always seems to be one year and occasionally two.
Steve Ferns
22 Posted 24/07/2020 at 23:50:09
John Dean, that'll be Lewis Dobbin.
Justin Doone
23 Posted 25/07/2020 at 00:31:56
I've not seen the kid but I can only hope he continues to develop both physically and mentally because some fans are rather impatient.

Staying relatively injury-free is important to allow then to learn on the job. Good luck.

I see ageism at both sides of the spectrum is still very much alive. How do 24-year-olds survive, they're too old, too young, to do this, be that... Good grief, man!

James Flynn
24 Posted 25/07/2020 at 01:39:58
Prytherch laughing away...
Victor Yu
25 Posted 25/07/2020 at 02:00:35
Agreed with Kevin #1. Jose Baxter, Scott Spencer, and John-Paul Kissock were the next superstars too!
Jack Convery
26 Posted 25/07/2020 at 02:45:44
Good luck to the young man.
Mike Gaynes
27 Posted 25/07/2020 at 03:06:28
Kevin, you're my idol. How do you keep getting people with that???
Steve Shave
28 Posted 25/07/2020 at 06:48:11
Wonderful work Kev ;) the fishies are biting early today pal!!
Jason Li
29 Posted 25/07/2020 at 08:05:59
Nice list Steve @ 18.

I still think Dowell has something. He definitely has goals in him at Championship level.

Only one step up to get on our bench and replace Sigurdsson?

Tony Everan
30 Posted 25/07/2020 at 08:36:07
Hook, line and sinker, Kevin. You just can't resist it, can you!
Kevin Prytherch
31 Posted 25/07/2020 at 09:01:48
If the likes of Dobbin and Oyango (and the others mentioned by Steve) have the potential of Gordon, them I'm glad we have Ancelotti in charge.

We had a chance a few years ago to do what Chelsea have done this year and save ourselves a lot of money. We had Holgate, Kenny, Robinson, Connolly, Baningime, Davies, Williams, Dowell, Lookman and Calvert-Lewin on the books – and only Calvert-Lewin got anything remotely like the game time they needed at a crucial development stage.

Unfortunately, Silva was a manager trying to prove himself at a big club and constantly plumped for experience over a potential youthful mistake.

Ancelotti has nothing to prove and is unlikely to get sacked, so will hopefully see the bigger picture and take risks with these players.

It's rare to have such a large quantity of talented young players trying to break through at the same time; hopefully we've got something similar again. Someone wrote an article about our missing identity. I think that some of these playing regularly could restore that identity in a few years time and give young fans a number of idols to look up to.

Alternatively, they could break into the first team, misplace a pass in their 3rd game and be labelled “Championship standard at best” for the rest of their careers!!!

Phill Thompson
32 Posted 25/07/2020 at 09:19:43
Stating the obvious, Onyango is only going to get better and not just because of his age. He struggles a bit on the tight pitches of U18 and some of the cup games against non-league opponents. I say 'struggles' in the sense that his true talent needs a bit of space to shine; he's still in there tackling away, using his long limbs to win the ball. In the bigger grounds used at U23s level, he'll blossom further.

My only worry is whether he and Dobbin get enough chances at U23s, you'd think they'd be in the starting line-up in every game just about... you'd think. Last season, Gordon and Simms were in the same category: still under 18 but good enough to play U23s. They had 5 and 2 starts each, kept out of the team by 6 other attackers, 4 no longer with us, 1 we'll now let go, and another... well, who knows. In our last senior game, both Gordon and Simms featured on our 1st-team bench, quite a leap from not getting game time last season at U23s, but ah well... we won the PL2 trophy.

My hope is that a revolution is underway, and that this coming season, the U23s will be mainly teenagers. Viva le revolution! Which I think means “Up the revolution”.

Kevin Prytherch
33 Posted 25/07/2020 at 09:38:37
Phill – are you quoting season 2018-19 stats (of which they were both 17 and over a year away from the first team)?

In 2019-20 Simms made 20 starts in all competitions, scoring 11 times, while Gordon made 14 starts, scoring 7 times.

I'd say an introduction to the U23s at 17 and a regular at 18 is decent progression towards the first team.

Steve Ferns
34 Posted 25/07/2020 at 11:11:41
Kevin, you're right except Ellis Simms was 18 and 19.

However, Phill's general point is valid. We aren't clearing the pathway for our talented kids like we used to.

Do you remember when John Lundstram (the surprise package now at Sheffield Utd) was moved on so as not to block Ryan Ledson, who was considered a better prospect? Then suddenly a year or maybe two later, the same Ledson was moved on as he was blocking the superior Tom Davies.

Regardless of what you think of Tom Davies, here is an example of our youth setup being decisive and ruthless and ensuring young Tom was able to go through the U18s and the U23s and into the first team. He was playing for the U18s at 16, both the U18s and U23s at 17 and even made his debut for the first team in the last game (Unsworth's first caretaker spell) at age 17. The next season, at 18, he was in the U23s and Koeman picked him regularly for the first team by Christmas.

Onyango is the same age as Davies was, he has as big a reputation (Davies was training with the England first team at 17 and getting rave reviews), and we need to make sure there is no-one blocking his way. Indeed, the U23 central midfield is weak. No one from the team will even play Championship level, so clear the way and let Tyler star.

As for Dobbin, Kevin, I'd say he has a greater potential than Anthony Gordon and a bigger reputation. Gordon went up a gear suddenly when he scored a shed load of goals in one match.

Dobbin, on the other hand, has long been a dominant force playing above his age. He's also lightning-fast and that always is a big plus in the Premier League. The sky is the limit for this kid.

With Evans being moved on, Gordon part of the first team, the wide left position is his in the U23s next season for sure. However, if theU23s copy the first team and go 4-4-2, then he would probably have to copy Richarlison and play up top.

Steve Ferns
35 Posted 25/07/2020 at 11:30:54
Apologies – I've made them sound like Messi. Such high expectations are not good for such young players.

I thought Antony Evans could have been world class, and still don't know why he's now 21 and gearing up to a season in the German second tier.

I also thought little Liam Walsh was going to be a superstar, though there was doubts over his height and physique in the middle of the park in the English game.

Kevin Prytherch
36 Posted 25/07/2020 at 11:36:49
Steve – totally agree, although I would say a balance is required.

At senior level, players have to outperform players in their position (in theory – but not always in practice) so simply moving players on to allow a pathway would be counterproductive. They should have to outperform the players above them. However, this balance hasn't always happened when opportunities are blocked by older players who will blatantly never make it, just because they have more experience (similar to the first team in recent years).

I reckon that Gibson probably improved faster because he had to get to a level that meant he replaced Browning and Galloway – who should never have still been U23 players.

Don't simply remove players to allow an unchallenged pathway; however, take risks with genuine prospects at the potential detriment of some results.

Phill Thompson
37 Posted 25/07/2020 at 11:36:54
Kevin, yes my reference to “last season” is the 2018-19 one. We likely have differing opinions on this; my view is that early exposure to “playing up an age” is what differentiates the potential stars. We have Schoolboys playing U18s at 16, and 17-year-olds playing U23s regularly if they are good enough.

Gordon and Simms were the stars of their year, and started 7 times between them as 17- or 18- year-olds in PL2 behind the likes of Charsley, Sambou, Evans, Broadhead, and Hornby.

If, this time next year, we are looking back on only 7 starts at U23 between Onyango and Dobbin, I will despair.

Robert Tressell
38 Posted 25/07/2020 at 11:49:30
The U-23s is a stupid broken concept. Top talent should be introduced into the first team age 17 to 20. Ideally with use of loans in this country or abroad to gain valuable experience. The U-23s is not a good place to develop – it's a place to stagnate.
Darren Hind
39 Posted 25/07/2020 at 11:52:15
What's the worst that can happen?

I always find it amusing when people criticise the amount of players we develop through buying them cheaply as kids or taking them from School.

If you chose from the players Rhino has + the players he has provided – Kenny, Davies, Calvert-Lewin, Branthwaite, Gordon and Holgate – and matched them up against the generally spineless players who have cost us 𧴜's of millions, I would put my house on the academy boys to have too much heart, desire and skill for them.

We need to stop squandering the kitty on players who are simply not good enough.

BTW; Unsworth gives contracts????

Dave Abrahams
40 Posted 25/07/2020 at 12:45:09
Patrick (17), good post and the link is well worth reading. I think it reveals that Everton Youths are coached more about technical training and much less about physical work.

I'm hoping there will be big changes this coming season when the new man, from Derby County, don't remember his name, will play a big part in the running of the Youth section at Everton. It's needed a shake-up for quite a while, too much emphasis on winning titles rather than bringing players through the system.

The U23s is not a place where lads will learn about the dog-eat-dog attitude of football. That is why I will never criticise young players, unless it is constructive criticism. But always leaves me doubting if certain players will come through and make it in the Premier League.

It's why I always doubted Dowell and why I have reservations about Gordon. It's mostly the physical side of their game, but we will wait and see where Anthony Gordon is concerned.

Brent Stephens
41 Posted 25/07/2020 at 13:05:24
Dave #40 "I have reservations about Gordon, it's mostly the physical side of their game, but we will wait and see where Anthony Gordon is concerned."

Dave, from what I've seen of Anthony in the U23s, he can take a heavy tackle and is happy to return the compliment. Hope he can repeat that for the first team.

Tony Abrahams
42 Posted 25/07/2020 at 13:13:30
I'd say that's why Liverpool have just won the league, Dave, not because they are the best but because of that physicality you mention.

The game has become more about power and speed, but one thing this football without a crowd has shown me is that players can't really tackle anymore.

They can dive, that seems to be acceptable, but the great leveller has disappeared, because a hard but fair tackle is now deemed to be too aggressive, with football becoming more like a cheat's paradise every season.

Andrew Keatley
43 Posted 25/07/2020 at 13:37:38
Robert (38) - I don't know if it is a broken concept, but I completely agree with the rest of your post. I think the Under 23s allows the club to keep progressing the academy graduates in the hope of catching any late bloomers.

Very very few 17-year-olds are ready to join the Everton first team squad but, if they are still deemed not ready at 19, then I'd much rather see the most promising players in the age group going out on loan to get a season of games in men's football rather than the handful of games that the Under 23s have to offer. I think (on the basis we sign a striker or two for the first team squad) that Ellis Simms is one that would benefit from a loan next season.

It's always difficult to know how a young player will respond to the challenges of first-team football; the increased physical demands, responsibility, psychological pressures and the readiness to respond positively to the opportunity. I'd like to see Kieran Dowell and Jonjoe Kenny given a proper chance with the first team next season.

Lewis Gibson would probably benefit from going out on loan to a Championship side – maybe Adeniran and Markelo too. Connolly, Pennington and Broadhead probably all face being moved on – possibly Baningime too. On come the next batch; let's see who catches the eye.

Phill Thompson
44 Posted 25/07/2020 at 13:38:21
Dave #40,

I believe the guy we've got from Derby County is responsible for youth recruitment, signings etc, he replaces Martin Waldron, who left for his part played in that transfer ban we received.

Physicality is so important at Premier League level, I'm sure it's partly what put Branthwaite ahead of the also very composed but less well built Ryan Astley. I've followed a lot of international rugby over the years and taken in U18 and U20 games when I could. The size of some of the kids at 17/19 is huge, not just the forwards but the backs as well. They're literally not going to make it in rugby if they're only 12 stone, the gym work they do at a young age to bulk up is enormous, but for the backs anyway it's done so that they retain their speed as well.

Different sports of course but, with modern Sports Science, we should be developing youngsters to cope physically too.

Dave Abrahams
45 Posted 25/07/2020 at 14:22:38
Brent (#41),

Yes, Brent, there has been an improvement in the last 12 months, in Anthony Gordon's tackling and getting involved. I hope it continues.

In the past, since Anthony came through the youth teams, all his, admittedly, very good football ability has been alongside going missing in games for long periods and lack of working hard to win the ball back after losing it. Maybe working with the first team and in front of Ancelotti daily has concentrated his mind on what is needed to get first-team football and the life-changing riches that go with it.

Steve Carse
46 Posted 25/07/2020 at 14:57:05
Fully agree with the last paragraph, Tony (42).

The lower the tolerance level for tackling, the greater the incentive, and the ease, to cheat. The balance is totally wrong now.

Harry Williams
47 Posted 25/07/2020 at 21:41:31
Let's all hope this kid gets developed by getting game time. Unsworth will probably play Markelo, Baningime and Adeniran in midfield to win games.
Sam Hoare
48 Posted 25/07/2020 at 22:39:45
Harry, he won't play Markelo whose gone out on loan. And I'd be surprised if Banigime and possibly Adeniran don't follow him.

I think Unsworth has been given the clear (and needed) remit to get younger talent into the U23s sooner and then hopefully into productive loan moves.

Steve Ferns
49 Posted 25/07/2020 at 23:08:19
I think part of the problem was that Einar Iversen got a bad injury and only got fit mid season. He was the captain of the u18s the previous season and was to the the mainstay of the 23s, which he was when fit. He's still only 18, he signed a 3 year deal and Brands spoke highly about him.

There was also Rafael Garcia (striker we signed from Fulham) who is still only 17 and missed all of last season after a nasty injury. He's fit and raring to go.

Brent Stephens
50 Posted 25/07/2020 at 23:12:20
Steve, I've never once seen Iverson be the mainstay of the U23s. Not once.
Steve Ferns
51 Posted 25/07/2020 at 23:15:14
Brent he started the last 7 games before the season was scrapped. Mostly at centre midfield. He's a tidy player.
Brent Stephens
52 Posted 25/07/2020 at 23:27:07
Steve, he's a tidy player. But I've yet to see a guy who really catches the eye.
Steve Ferns
53 Posted 26/07/2020 at 00:13:23
He'll be 19 when the new season kicks off. This is a big year for him. He's recovered now and needs to kick on. He also needed to spend lockdown in the gym. Let's hope we can see signs of that.
Phill Thompson
54 Posted 26/07/2020 at 13:17:53
Interesting opinions re Iversen, I must admit at U18s I thought he was the weaker of the midfield trio of him, Bobby Carroll, Mackenzie Hunt. Throw in Seb Quirk and Rhys Hughes and there'll certainly be good competition in midfield to play alongside Onyango.
Bill Gall
55 Posted 26/07/2020 at 14:59:19
I think the misconception of young players being brought in to the Under-23s is they are automatically destined for the first team squad. Players are signed at a young age as they show exceptional qualities in that age group, and coaches believe they have the potential to improve playing in older age groups.

Playing in their age groups 12-, 14-, 16-year-olds gives a good indication of their progression, after that the question is, how will they do in the older young adult to adult teams with more experienced players. This is were Onyango is now placed.

There are not many teams lucky enough to bring exceptional players through their ranks, Everton were lucky in Rooney, they also produced some good professionals who never reached the Rooney success, and had a good living in football. These included, Osman, Jeffers, Rodwell, Whittle, and supporters will remember others.

There are no guarantees in football, and it is always interesting to see young footballers given a professional contract, especially at a young age, how they will develop. If they are good enough they will play in the first team and that should indicate if they fulfilled their potential.

Robert Tressell
56 Posted 26/07/2020 at 15:43:47
The way Chelsea brought through Mason Mount (21), Tammy Abraham (22), Fikayo Tomori (22), Reece James (20) was very astute. Out of U-23s football and into a good standard of football including overseas. Could you imagine these boys getting anything out of U-23s football beyond their 19th birthday?

Baningime (21), Adeniran (21), Markelo (21), Dowell (22) etc are all decent but have not kicked on in the last 18 months at least. They are miles behind those Chelsea boys in their development.

If they're not in / around the first team at 19 (like Gordon is) then they need a chance to excel in the Championship, Holland or Scotland. If they can't excel there then we let them go and bring through the next 16-, 17-, 18-year-olds. Ellis Simms (18) and Lewis Dobbin (17) look talented. As soon as they've got comfortable in the U-23s then they need a new challenge.

Ellis is a big lad so maybe Holland to refine his skills then Championship to test his strength. Dobbin may need a different route – and may even be talented enough to follow Gordon straight into the first team set up

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