Plenty of players found their way out of the door at Everton over the summer, including plenty of young players who either decided a fresh location was best for their development or were deemed unlikely to make it at Goodison Park.
One such player was young attacker Kieran Phillips.
The 20-year-old was first allowed to join Huddersfield Town on a loan deal with their academy last January. With his contract at Everton expiring at the season’s conclusion this was essentially goodbye for his Everton journey.
Phillips, who was initially a Huddersfield youth team player before heading to Merseyside at under-13 level, rejoined the Terriers permanently in the summer. t came after an injury-ravaged period at Everton. The forward spent nearly two-and-a-half years on the treatment table after suffering a double knee fracture which, as reported by the Liverpool Echo, even had doctors worried he may never walk again in 2016, let alone play professional football.
Phillips himself had nothing but good things to say about Everton and the treatment he received at the club which helped him seal an incredible comeback to the game. That comeback culminated in a brace on his under-18 comeback fixture followed by a hat-trick against Manchester City.
So it would be hard for us Everton fans to begrudge this tenacious young man any future success, even if it is away from the club.
Which is why developments over the past week are so heart-warming.
Phillips made his professional debut for Carlos Coberan’s side at the start of the year, coming on as a late sub against Reading in the Championship. This weekend, he made his full debut in the senior game, playing the full 90 minutes of Huddersfield’s FA Cup clash with Plymouth Argyle.
Whilst the former Finch Farm talent will be disappointed to have been on the wrong end of a surprise cup exit, just the fact he is out on the pitch at this level after the severity of the injury he suffered during his Everton development is near miraculous.
Hopefully, Phillips can continue to defy belief in his footballing career.