Everton beat Celtic to his signature last summer.

But it has not taken Sean McAllister long to stamp his authority.

A professional contract followed before under-18 manager Paul Tait decided to hand him the captain's armband for the new campaign.

McAllister, who joined from Dungannon Swifts in his native Northern Ireland, describes himself as the type of midfielder Everton supporters love.

“I feel privileged to captain this team,” the teenager - who scored in the 3-0 win over Leeds United yesterday - said last month.

“To be at the club for just over a year, going into my second season, wearing that armband feels like a very good achievement.

“The manager said that he sees me as a leader on the pitch, and that I can keep the boys going until the end.

“I’ve always had that determination, ever since I was a kid - always wanting to win and do the best for my team. I think that attitude - never, ever giving up and always giving my all - is one of my main strengths.”

But it could have been so different for McAllister.

He inadvertently jeopardised his move to Everton after both scoring and breaking his leg in his final game for Dungannon as they lifted the Mid-Ulster Youth Cup in 2019.

"It was an awfully strange scenario," head of youth development Dixie Robinson told the ECHO during the summer. "We had reached the final but Sean had agreed to join Everton.

"I was cautious about it so left it up to Sean himself and he was in no doubt he wanted to play.

"I was on tenterhooks for the entire 90 minutes and Sean went for a ball with the goalkeeper and, being as brave as he is, got there first but picked up a bad injury.

"Honestly, he went to the hospital and arrived back in a cast for the photographs. It just showed his willingness to play for his team-mates but I was sick for weeks afterwards until Everton got their own medical people to look at things.

"Everything healed 100 per cent so thankfully it had no burn on his opportunity."

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No burn is an understatement.

McAllister has cemented his role in Tait's midfield and is working with former Everton and Blackpool midfielder turned academy coach Keith Southern to fine-tune his game.

Even at u-18 level, Everton leave no stone unturned with the development of their talent.

“Since I’ve been here I’ve improved a lot on the technical side of things,” McAllister said.

“I wasn’t training every day [in Northern Ireland], so that’s helped a lot here. Also, playing alongside the standard of the boys has pushed me on.

“I want to improve both technically and tactically. After every game, all the players sit down individually to watch it back.

“We then send a few clips back to the coaches. Maybe two strengths and two weaknesses in the game, where we’ve done well and where we haven’t done so well and can improve.

“Then the manager will look over the clips with us and give us his views. It’s really, really useful. Working with Paul Tait and Keith Southern has been brilliant. They help me out so much.”

Bernard of Everton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park

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In the summer, Robinson told the ECHO he had 'no doubt' that McAllister can 'go the whole way' at Everton.

"I hope in the next 18 months he is pushed on," he added.

Captaining the u-18s a little over 12 months after arriving is not a bad start and McAllister believes the sacrifices he made to join Everton are being repaid.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and what I dreamed of doing," the 18-year-old said. "It was probably my family, my mum in particular, who it was more difficult for. But they knew I had to do it.”

“Whenever I first came over, my teammates made me feel so welcome.

“I fitted straight in and felt like I’d been here all my life. It’s the best bunch of boys I could’ve asked for.”