Everton starlet Tom Davies has said he wants to follow in the footsteps of Ross Barkley and Wayne Rooney and become an inspiration to Everton’s Academy players after signing a new five-year deal.
The 18-year-old from West Derby extended his contract to the end of June 2022, netting a significant payrise after breaking into the Toffees first-team.
Davies has now made 17 appearances in all competitions, including 10 Premier League starts, as Ronald Koeman injected youth into Everton's core.
The Dutch manager has insisted he is “not afraid to give young players opportunities at Everton”, with Davies one of five Academy graduates to have made their Premier League debuts for Everton in the past year alongside Kieran Dowell, Callum Connolly, Matthew Pennington and Jonjoe Kenny.
With Mason Holgate, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ademola Lookman all under 21 years of age and making an impression, the Toffees believe their future is bright and so does Davies.
“It means everything to me to get a chance to be in the Everton first team and to try to stay there,” Davies said. “It’s an unbelievable feeling.
“Everton has a long tradition of bringing young players through and the incentive has always been there for me to try to progress with the Club.
“I used to look at Mikel Arteta and aspire to be out there playing alongside my heroes and, obviously, Wayne Rooney and Ross Barkley who came through the Academy here, too, have been inspirational figures for me.
“Hopefully, young players in the Academy now can see how I have been able to progress and make my way to the Everton first team, just as Matty, Callum, Kieran and Jonjoe have also done, but we all know that the hard work doesn’t stop because we want to be part of taking the Club to the next level as well.
“We’ve had some big results this season and we’re fighting for a European place in the Premier League and we want to help get Everton to where the Club needs to be and where the supporters want us to be.
“People like Unsie have been great in helping me and other players to develop our game and become Everton players and it’s a privilege to be playing under this manager with everything he’s done and achieved in the game. I’m learning more and improving every day and I’m delighted to have been given this opportunity by the Club.”
Koeman believes Davies is the young player who has improved the most at the Club this season.
The Everton manager said: “It’s a case of well done, Tom.
“He is maybe the young player who has improved the most in the last few months. He went straight into the team performing at a high level and has kept his feet on the ground.
“We’re really happy with his performances and, of course, proud. He’s a young player and that’s important for the rest of the Academy - to show you can make that next step like Tom did and, if that ends with a new contract, it’s perfect.
“I’m a manager who is not afraid to give young players opportunities at Everton and this is a club that puts a strong value on bringing players through. We knew that Tom was physically very strong but his spirit also is unbelievable - every day he shows that mentality that you need to get your chance in the first team.”
Davies made his first-team debut from the bench in April last year, against the man who would later become his Everton boss.