Australian junior international Con Ouzounidis has signed a one-year contract extension with Premier League side Everton.
Announced on Wednesday evening Australian time, the new deal will keep the 20-year-old in Blue until at least the end of June 2021.
A centre-back by trade, Ouzounidis battled successive ankle and Achilles injuries in the opening months of the 2019/20 campaign, only to return strongly to the U23 side of David Unsworth until the season was cut short due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
🗨️ l “I owe a lot to the physios and the coaches for putting their faith in me. When you see the direction the Club is going, it’s a very exciting place to be."— Everton (@Everton) July 1, 2020
✍️ @ConOuzounidis pens new deal at #EFC 👇
“I’m so happy to sign this new contract,” the youngster told the club website.
“I’ve worked really hard and I feel like I’m progressing well.
“The whole time during my injury earlier in the season, the Club staff were speaking to me, telling me they believed in me and they knew what I could do.
“They kept me positive mentally, explaining that when I got back I would get my chance to prove myself.
“When I did come back, I think I played well. I owe a lot to the physios and the coaches for putting their faith in me. I just hope we get back to training before too long and I can keep developing.
“When you see the direction the Club is going, we’ve got a world-class manager here, it’s a very exciting place to be.
“Next season, I just want to get as many minutes in as possible, keep playing well, and impress Unsy and the first-team manager.”
Born in Sydney, Ouzounidis first trialled with The Toffees as an 11-year-old, before signing a scholarship contract in 2016 and inking his first professional deal in 2018. His first one-year extension then followed a year later.
Eligible to play for both Greece and Australia at a senior level, he made three appearances for the Young Socceroos at the 2018 AFC U19 Championship – in which Australia was eliminated in the quarterfinals by Saudi Arabia – and has been involved in numerous junior international camps.
“Unsy’s [Unsworth – who made over 300 appearances for Everton in a senior career that also resulted in a single England cap] been there and done it all, and in my position [centre-back],” said Ouzounidis.
“I listen to what he has to say every day in training and try to pick up as much as I can and implement it into my game.
“He’s a great person to learn from.”