By George Overhill

28th Apr, 2022 | 6:38pm

Everton set to complete signing of teenager Jack Patterson - report

Everton will complete the signing of Northern Ireland youth international Jack Patterson in the summer, the Liverpool Echo reports.

The Belfast Telegraph had reported in January that the schoolboy was due to move to Goodison Park despite interest from Leeds, Rangers and West Ham.

However, the move was agreed prior to the arrival of both manager Frank Lampard and director of football Kevin Thelwell, while Rafael Benitez was in charge and after Marcel Brands had left.

But the Echo report says: “The ECHO has been told by a source at Crusaders the teenager is still set to make the move to Goodison Park despite Frank Lampard and Kevin Thelwell arriving and a strategic review taking place at the club.

“Furthermore, Everton are expected to intensify their academy scouting efforts in the United Kingdom following the implementation of Brexit.

“A source close to development recruitment at Finch Farm told the ECHO that Everton are one of a number of Premier League clubs targeting the best talent within the UK after Brexit prohibited clubs from signing EU nationals under the age of 18.”

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The Toffees are getting in there early, agreeing the deal when the midfielder was only just 16.

Premier League sides were alerted to the youngster’s ability when he became the youngest ever debutant for Crusaders in Belfast less than three months after his 15th birthday (Belfast Telegraph).

The competition for British players will intensify as post-Brexit laws prevent clubs from bringing in unproven talents from around Europe.

There will undoubtedly be pros and cons to that change for young British-based players, as while more will get opportunities at top clubs, a larger number will get lost in the academy and loan system.

The Toffees will hope that Patterson can develop into a first-team contributor in seasons down the line, although if the club is relegated from the Premier League, a tiny silver lining may be that youngsters like him get a chance to contribute earlier.

In other Everton news, Alan Shearer was blown away by “fearless” starlet Anthony Gordon.