Nathan Broadhead believes the “great experience” of playing and scoring for Everton's first team against Gor Mahia at Goodison Park on Tuesday will aid his impressive development.
Brought on with 15 minutes remaining of the SportPesa Trophy clash, the Welsh forward wasted no time in making an impact, bundling home from James McCarthy’s cross just two minutes after his introduction.
His strike was the Toffees’ third of the night - and Broadhead would also play an important role as Everton wrapped up the scoring soon after.
The 20-year-old won the ball in midfield before rapping a pass into the feet of Oumar Niasse, the Senegalese then scampering forward and finishing expertly from 20 yards.
Bangor-born Broadhead, who joined Everton’s Academy aged 10, credited Everton’s first-team players and coaching staff for helping him instantly feel comfortable ahead of the game.
The Wales Under-21-international explained Blues boss Marco Silva urged him to express himself on the pitch.
“It was a great experience for me,” he said. “I found out I was going with the first team when I got a phone call from [Under-23s manager] David Unsworth at about 11am. I was wondering why he was phoning me at that time because we had a game at Barnsley that night!
“But it was great. The players made me feel very comfortable.
“Before I came on, the manager just told me to play my own game - pass and move and make runs in behind.
“For my goal, I remember James McCarthy won it and crossed it in. It took a little deflection and I had to change my feet, I hit it with my left foot and then it rebounded off the keeper and came off me and went in.
“I looked at the linesman to see if he would flag it for offside and when he didn’t, I was really happy. It was a great feeling.
“I was happy to play a small part in the fourth goal, too. I was high on confidence at that time and as soon as I won it, I just fed it through to Oumar. He still had a bit to do, but I’ll take it as an assist!"
Broadhead has been a key figure for Everton Under-23s this season, as the young Blues have soared to the top of the Premier League 2 table, playing an exciting, high-octane brand of football.
The Academy graduate - who made his first-team debut in Everton's 3-0 Europa League victory at Apollon Limassol last December - has consistently showcased his speed, skill and wide range of passing for Unsworth's side.
The forward says he is excited about his progression under former Toffees defender Unsworth and is confident he can continue to go from strength to strength this season.
“I’m really enjoying the way Unsy plays,” added Broadhead. “It’s all about the team, really, we’ve all been playing very well. We have a good bond in the camp, too.
“I’m a positive player and I like to think I’m decent technically and clever on the pitch. I like to make runs in behind, too, and show my pace. I practice a lot on my crossing and feel like I can produce good deliveries.
“But it’s all about the team.
"I just want to keep working hard and keep winning games. That’s all I’m thinking about."