Joe Royle reveals his delight at returning to Everton as part of the backroom team
Sky Sports News' Alan Irwin reports from Everton where a star of the past has been brought back to help shape the future at Goodison Park.
By Alan Irwin
Last Updated: 18/07/14 8:33am
"It's like coming home". The words of Joe Royle, who has returned to Everton Football Club for the third time following his appointment to Roberto Martinez' back room team.
Having hit 119 goals in 275 appearances during his playing career and later managed Everton to FA Cup success in 1995, Royle will now use his vast football experience and knowledge to help facilitate the progress of young players breaking through from the academy and U21 team.
I spoke with Roberto as far back as February. He was concerned that some players who aren't in or around the first team at the age of 21 seem to hit a bit of a wall and need sending out on loan, so part of my job will be to identify those and assist their development.
"I spoke with Roberto as far back as February,” Royle told Sky Sports News. “He was concerned that some players who aren't in or around the first team at the age of 21 seem to hit a bit of a wall and need sending out on loan, so part of my job will be to identify those and assist their development."
Royle was himself a product of the Goodison youth system, making his debut as a 16-year-old, and will now also assist in scouting and the recruitment of players. He believes the importance of developing young players is vital for the future of English football too.
"It's a cosmopolitan world," said Royle. "If it's right for the player and the club I'd have no problem sending them on loan to another club in Europe. My first responsibility is to Everton Football Club but if they go on to progress then great, yes, it can have a positive knock on effect nationally."
Everton have seen their own faith in youth development reap rewards over recent seasons with the likes of Jack Rodwell (now at Manchester City) and Ross Barkley winning England caps. In addition John Stones, who was brought to the club from Barnsley when just 18, immediately impressed in Everton's U21 set up and is another who has won England honours recently.
"You only have to look at the progress Ross Barkley made when he went out on loan to Leeds and then Sheffield Wednesday," he added. "You need to play first team football by the age of 21. There can be late developers but that's my role. That's what I need to find out."