Grimsby Telegraph

Good ‘Evans! Lowdown on Mariners’ rising star



EVAN Khouri was a surprise inclusion for Grimsby Town against Bolton on Saturday, but the youth team star certainly didn’t disappoint. The 18-year-old was handed his full first team debut, as well as his first league appearance, by Paul Hurst at the weekend as the Mariners faced a huge test against the side described by their manager as the best in the division.

And Khouri produced a fine display on the left of Town’s midfield four, and looked every bit a senior player against his title-chasing opponents.

Given his impressive debut, we could see more of Khouri before the end of the season, especially with the injuries beginning to stack up, and winger Filipe Morais banished from the team for the rest of the campaign.

And Hurst will hope to have the teenager as part of his squad next season, with Khouri one of three youth teamers to be offered profession­al contracts - so what do we know about him?

Where was he previously?

Khouri made the move to Blundell Park in the summer of 2019, having previously been a product of the academy at West Ham United. He made his way through the ranks with the Hammers up to Under-16s level, but after not being offered a scholarshi­p by the club, he made the move to Cleethorpe­s to begin a two-year stint with Neil Woods’ side.

What experience does he have at Town?

Khouri is in the second year of his scholarshi­p with the Mariners, and had already made a couple of appearance­s for the first team before making his league debut on Saturday.

He was handed his first team bow in the opening game of the 2020/21 campaign by Ian Holloway as he came on as a substitute just after the hour mark in the Carabao Cup against Morecambe.

He would make his second appearance just a couple of days later against Harrogate in the EFL Trophy, although things didn’t quite go to plan for him as he we sent off in the dying embers of the game for a poorly timed challenge.

What is his preferred position and style of play?

Khouri is primarily a central midfielder, although is fairly versatile and is able to play out wide - as displayed on Saturday - or in a slightly more advanced role.

He has been described as having an outstandin­g attitude on and off the pitch, and being tactically astute off the ball as well as on it, as well as adept with both feet.

His early showings in the first team have also shown he doesn’t shy away from a challenge - something that had Paul Hurst a little concerned after he picked up a yellow card in the first half on Saturday.

“You’re telling him to keep calm but not go too far the other way and not put a foot in,” Hurst said. “I thought he showed good discipline after that to make sure he stayed on the pitch until I made the change late on, and he can be very pleased with his day’s work.”

What does Paul Hurst make of his debut?

The Town boss said after Saturday’s game: “He’s left-footed, he gives us a bit of balance. I’ve been quietly impressed with him, and I know Neil (Woods) and Callum (Lester) in the youth team speak very highly of him.

“He digs in - we played four midfield players across there, and I’m sure if we hadn’t won I’d have been called out for being negative. “There are different ways to win games, and I thought he was excellent for a young man in what’s a big game for him.

“The crowd aren’t there, but it’s still a big game for him to go into, and he did very well.”

MEDIA ?? Grimsby Town midfielder Evan Khouri during the League Two match against Bolton Wanderers at Blundell Park.
LEE BLEASE/PRIME MEDIA Grimsby Town midfielder Evan Khouri during the League Two match against Bolton Wanderers at Blundell Park.

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