Unsworth's young Toffees well prepared for Spanish test at SuperCupNI
Some of Spain's stars of the future could well be on parade at Coleraine and the Ballymena Showgrounds tonight. Espanyol and Real Sociedad are in action against Everton and Celtic respectively in the SuperCup NI's inaugural Under-21 section.
Coleraine hosts the Toffees against Espanyol and Celtic tackle Real Sociedad in Ballymena in the other semi-final (7.45pm).
The two losers will feature in a third/fourth place play-off at Ballymena Showgrounds on Saturday at 2.30pm, followed by the final two hours later.
Former Everton captain David Unsworth came through the ranks at Goodison Park and is in charge of the club's U21 squad development. The ex-defender and 1995 FA Cup winner believes his players have benefited from a week-long training camp in Spain.
"It's nice to get away and get as much quality work into the lads as possible in this early period of pre-season," he said.
Unsworth revealed how new boss Ronald Koeman worked with a number of his starlets before they went to Spain.
"The lads have seen what has happened and it's a case of if you're good enough, you'll get an opportunity," he said.
"The players who stepped up last year are now part of the first team squad. It's great to see so many of them involved now."
The Sociedad Academy is one of the best in Europe and their squad is packed with talent sure to give Celtic a tough test.
France's Euro 2016 sharpshooter Antoine Griezmann honed his talents at the club before making his breakthrough.
More than half the Celtic squad featured for Scotland in the Under-17 European Championship finals and some are knocking on the door of Brendan Rodgers' senior set-up.