Leighton Baines says Kieran Dowell has ‘exceptional ability’ and will return to Everton from his Nottingham Forest loan ‘ready’ for first-team action.
The long-time Everton defender has seen the development of the young midfielder as he has progressed through the Blues ranks all the way up to make a couple of first-team appearances.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5Live, Baines said: “He has got exceptional ability, a great footballer.
“They were trying to blood him into the team. Ronald Koeman was trying to bring him in, and he was a great footballer, but perhaps just wasn’t quite ready.”
Dowell joined Forest on a season-long loan in the summer to build up his first-team experience after a fine pre-season for the Blues where he found himself on the scoresheet with stunning strikes against Gor Mahia and FC Twente.
The 20-year-old has found the back of the net 10 times for Forest and some Everton fans had begun questioning whether or not the Ormskirk born midfielder could be recalled in January to boost the Blues’ first-team ranks.
Dowell confirmed he would be spending the season in Nottingham as he looks to continue the form that has earned him a number of rave reviews.
“He has gone and flourished in the Championship, and I am sure he will come back ready,” Baines added.
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For a number of years, Dowell has been tipped as the next top homegrown Everton talent but has continued his development in the youth ranks.
He shone for David Unsworth’s Under-23 side when they tasted Premier League 2 glory last season but the 20-year-old has not made the step up to the first-team level.
Dowell was handed his Premier League debut by Roberto Martinez in April 2016 but was introduced too late against AFC Bournemouth to have an impact.
Again it was Unsworth who handed him his chance when he started the youngster against Norwich City in the final game of the 2016 campaign.
After Tom Davies made the step up last term, Dowell talked openly about going out on loan in a bid to boost his experience and possibly make a breakthrough like Davies but, for whatever reason, a move did not come to fruition.
Instead, he waited until the summer and helped lead England to Under-20 World Cup success.
He has been in excellent form for Forest and will return to Goodison Park a better player.
A player that should have an impact on the Everton squad next season and the future beyond that.