Gareth Barry believes Everton’s young stars can help the club end their twenty-year trophy drought this season.
The FA Cup triumph of 1995 was the last piece of silverware the Toffees won, but the club are through to the League Cup semi-finals – where they will face Manchester City – after winning 2-0 at Middlesbrough.
At the heart of that victory was 21-year-old winger Gerard Deulofeu who scored a dazzling solo goal before creating another for Romelu Lukaku, who himself is only 22.
Ross Barkley and John Stones, both 21, have become key players in Everton’s first-team, and Barry says the quartet can guide the club to glory.
“I can’t think of four better young players at the same club, when you are talking about four regular starters who are consistently producing,” he said.
“They are scoring goals, making assists and you can tell with the aura they’ve got on the pitch how much they are enjoying it.
“Of course, they need to keep learning along the way but it is important they don’t lose that swagger.
“I’m not going to build them up too much but if they keep performing the way they are, they will be special players.”
Spaniard Deulofeu impressed, albeit sporadically, while on loan at the club in 2013/14, before returning to the club on a permanent basis in the summer.
Despite initially struggling to break into the starting XI, the former Barcelona starlet has shone since being given a run in the first-team.
“He has matured,” said Barry. “None of them have let anything go to their heads. They don’t let success affect them.
“That first loan of Gerard’s was tough but he’s come back to a club that he knows, with players he knows and he is confident straight away. He knows this is his time to do it.”
Former England international Barry is one of only a few Toffees players to have won trophies, having helped Manchester City lift the FA Cup in 2011 and the Premier League title the following season.
However he insists lifting silverware with Everton could trump those achievements.
“For me, that would be a special thing – to be at a club that has waited so long,” he added.
“We all want to be part of the first group that wins something and then kick on and win a few more. We won’t get ahead of ourselves but it is getting closer and closer.”