by Tom Maston
Everton might have struggling for positive results of late, but they are one of those leading the way within the Premier League in terms of developing young talents.
Ronald Koeman has handed starts to six players under the age of 21 already this season, but with just two league victories and a Europa League campaign that is almost over before it got properly started, the manager and his players remain under increasing scrutiny.
One of those talented youngsters to have developed under Koeman is Mason Holgate, who will hope to celebrate turning 21 on Sunday with three points against Arsenal at Goodison Park.
The former Barnsley prodigy – who has been tasked with covering for the injured Seamus Coleman on the right-hand side of defence – is making no excuses when it comes to inexperience as Everton seek a first win in five matches.
“We don’t want to be judged as young," Holgate said. "We know that if we’re in the team then we have to show why. It’s nothing to do with age. It doesn’t matter to us how old we are. We’re in there because we believe we can do the job. We don’t want to be seen as being carried.
“A lot of managers would drop young players and go for experience, but he (Koeman) has stuck with us and we want to show him that age doesn’t affect our minds or the way we play. If we’re in the team we think that we’re good enough to play and confident enough that we’re just like any player, no matter our age.