Getty Image Everton FC new signing Uruguayan Leandro Rodriguez signed from River Plate Montevideo
New striker Leandro Rodriguez enjoyed a dream start to his Everton career as he scored after just 10 minutes on his debut for the Blues Under-21s team.
The Uruguayan frontman, snapped up for £500,000 from River Plate Montevideo, nodded in the opener in a 3-0 victory over Preston North End in the Lancashire Senior Cup at Southport’s Merseyrail Community Stadium.
David Unsworth’s side safely progressed through to the next round with further goals in the second half from Conor Grant (55) and Liam Walsh (66).
Grant found the net with a left-footed drive after good work from right-back Callum Lees while an attempted cross from Walsh missed everyone and nestled in the back of the net.
On signing 22-year-old Rodriguez – who did not require a work permit because he holds an Italian passport – manager Roberto Martinez said: “He’s a young talent - one of those elite, talented youngsters who we like to bring in.
Mason Holgate is a clear example of a really strong, young English defender and Leandro Rodriguez is a young striker with a real knack of scoring goals.
“But he’s much more than that, too. His contribution is a lot more than that and hopefully we can provide a path where he can develop and enjoy his football. If he can do that, clearly that’s going to bring goals to the first team.
“He probably won’t [need time with the Under-21s] because he has played enough games with his first team in Uruguay in a really competitive league.
The Catalan added: “If you look at the amount of strikers that come through those environments, you don’t get surprised about the quality of these players.
“I am not saying that to put pressure on the boy, but he is a player we can be very much excited about in the future.”