Steven Schumacher urges Stoke City hot prospect to learn from Everton regret

Sol Sidibe is the first player born in 2007 to play in English football's top two divisions.
-Credit: (Image: Neal Simpson/Sportsphoto/Allstar via Getty Images)

Steven Schumacher has given Sol Sidibe advice from his own personal experience as the England youth midfield prepares for a big pre-season with the Stoke City senior squad.

Sidibe is only 17 but has already had a taste of life in the first team at the bet365 Stadium, including ending the season on the pitch after coming off the bench in a 4-0 final day win over Bristol City.

There are high hopes for his development at the club where he has grown up – and Schumacher has taken the time to have a close-season chat at Clayton Wood, recalling and admitting what he wished he had done differently at the same stage of his career having captained Everton’s youth teams.

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“He’s a really good player,” said Schumacher. “He's impressed us loads in all the under-21 games that I've watched him play, whenever he's trained with the first team, he's done really well. He's got a really good personality and a good attitude, which obviously comes from a good stock, good family, and I was delighted to give him minutes on the pitch.

“I would have liked to have got him more minutes on the pitch in the run-in but in the situation that we were in and the circumstances it probably wasn't easy to go and throw in a 17-year-old, although I'm not doubting his ability. It's just the pressure of the games and what was at stake, it probably wasn't the right time to put him in, especially when we had other midfield players fit and available and coming into form, certainly in the run-in.

“But I was really pleased to get him back involved against Bristol City and I thought he looked really comfortable. He played well, he didn’t put a foot wrong I don’t think.

“He's definitely one for the future. I spoke to him last week when I was in the building and he was in too. I had a good chat with him and said it was important that he comes back in really good condition because doing an under-21s pre-season or an under 18s pre-season is the complete opposite to what's going to be required in the first team.

“I missed my opportunity at Everton when I had my first first-team pre-season. I physically wasn’t capable to keep up and under David Moyes and Alan Irvine I didn’t make that first impression that I was good enough. I probably regret that.

“I’ve told him not to make that same mistake, to make sure he’s fit and ready to go because if he does do that and he catches the eye and he proves to everybody that he’s as good as any of our other midfield players, then he plays. I don't care if he's 17, if he's better than the ones who are there.”

Schumacher, now aged 40, had played for Everton and England in midfield at junior level but wasn’t able to make his senior breakthrough at Goodison Park. He went on to play more than 400 games for clubs including Bradford, Crewe and Bury before stepping into coaching.

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