Everton’s most recent under-23 fixture saw them take on Leicester City in PL2. It proved to be a good day at the office for David Unsworth’s boys, claiming a 4-2 win over the Young Foxes.
It was also a good day for one Everton youngster in particular. Con Ouzounidis scored his first goals in the competition since 2018 and the former under-18 captain will have undoubtedly enjoyed finding the back of the net.
But what happens with Ouzounidis and Everton over the next 48 hours could prove pivotal.
The Australian is out of contract at the end of the season. For all his talent, it seems increasingly unlikely that the 21-year-old is seen as a potential first-team option at Goodison Park.
Speaking to The World Game last month, Ouzounidis confirmed a desire to go play regular football in order to force his way into the Australia under-23 side.
“I’m playing week-in week-out right now but I’ll sit down with my family and agent soon to see what’s the best thing to do when the window opens,” Ouzounidis stated.
“Whether or not that’s to go and get experience of first-team football (on loan), whether it’s to move on (permanently) or whether it’s to stay at Everton, I don’t know.
“These are things I’ll talk to the club about and take it from there really. I’d love to break into that Olympic Games squad and if I’m playing first-team football it gives me a better chance of achieving that.”
But, despite mixed reports of potential Football League interest, it seems there is not much clamour to bring Ouzounidis in.
It means he is set to enter the final six months of his contract at Finch Farm with no concrete direction as to what will follow once his deal at Everton expires in June.
Ouzonidis is a committed and determined defender who has progressed up through the Everton ranks with aplomb. Unfortunately, that final step, just seems to be beyond him.
Whilst he has a desire to play first-team football now the best option for Ouzounidis might currently be to stick it out at Everton, keep impressing for Unsworth’s side and become a free agent in the summer.
At that point, clubs across the United Kingdom and beyond will no doubt be willing to take a look at this potential Socceroo.