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Everton chief Elstone: Strong academy crucial

Everton chief Robert Elstone admits a stronger academy is a cornerstone of the club's future plans.

Elstone admits it is an area the club, with their current financial restrictions, have to work hard on.

"We have a fantastic track record (in youth development) and it continues to be a top priority for us and continues to get lots of investment," he told evertontv.

"A lot of people have remarked on what is most important is that young players get opportunities in the first team and Everton can boast a record as good as, if not better, than any other team in the Premier League.

"That is a tremendous carrot from a recruitment point of view.

"The boys have to be good enough but they are and that is testament to the people, the procedures and facilities and techniques we have at Finch Farm.

"Our critical test and objective is absolutely about winning games but to do that the most important thing we can do is out-perform our rivals on identification, recruitment and development and coaching and preparation of talented young footballers.

"That is absolutely key to success and will set us apart and enable us to be competing at the highest level.

"It is a key part of our business and something we are very proud of."

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