Luke Garbutt is one of those tantalizing youth players for Everton. Fans have heard about his ability for several years now, but Leighton Baines remains an obstacle to the young fullback. This year Everton set the young left back on loan to Fulham in the Championship for a full season. We had a chance to talk with Andrew from SB Nation's Fulham site, Cottagers Confidential. He answered a few questions for us about Garbutt to give us a better idea of when we might see Garbutt with the first team. You can also take a look at their season review of Garbutt here.
RBM: Luke Garbutt was on loan at Fulham all year, how would you sum up his overall play for y'all?
CC: Sometimes he looked great. Sometimes he looked lost. His passing and offense were usually the high points. His defending not so much.
RBM: At Everton we think of Garbutt as a left back, is that where he played for Fulham and do you think he sticks there?
CC: This is the question. His biggest struggles were as a left back in a traditional back four. When Fulham used him as a wing back in a 3-5-2, he often played much better. Towards the end of the year when Fulham were trying just about anything to avoid giving up goals he was used as a fairly traditional left midfielder.
RBM: I know Garbutt had an ankle injury that limited him this year, how did that affect his play when he returned.
CC: The injury certainly didn't help. He was penciled in as the starting left back, and then got hurt at the tail end of the final preseason game. He was slow to come back, and once he did, Fulham were struggling to find a formation that worked. Then they were replacing their coach. He never really got the chance to settle in.
RBM: What are some of the things that you think Garbutt needs to work on to take the next step with his game.
CC: His one on one defending is pretty bad. He's often beat by players on the dribble and doesn't really read passing lanes well enough to step into them for interceptions. While his offensive skill set is pretty good for a fullback, it's not going to be good enough for him to play regularly in the midfield at even the Championship level.
RBM: Do you think Luke Garbutt is ready for the Premier League? Or does he need some more seasoning?
CC: No, I don't believe he's ready for the Premier League. He needs at least one more loan to a Championship squad, hopefully in a situation where he has one role and gets to work on his defense.
RBM: Would you take him back for another year or do you think it is best for everyone that any loan be for a new team?
CC: I think I would take him back, but that's really dependent on how Fulham play next year. Slavisa Jokanovic had kind of a mishmash of talent and we never really got to see his vision for the club. If he thinks Garbutt can do a job in defense, I'd be inclined to agree.