If you’ve thought to yourself in the last few months where Luke Garbutt had disappeared to, ponder no more. The left back is well and alive, and has not been locked away in some broom closet deep inside USM Finch Farm.
Everton had loaned the player to Wigan Athletic in August on a half-season deal, and he returned to the Blues at the beginning of 2017. However, an untimely back injury has kept him out of action and he was unable to feature in the Under-23 side’s Premier League 2 title-winning run.
However, the Liverpool Echo are now reporting that he is almost back at full fitness and will be hoping to get a run out with the senior squad before the end of the season.
Garbutt signed a five-year deal with the club at the beginning of the 2015-16 season, but was immediately sent out to Fulham for the whole season. He featured in 26 games with the Cottagers, scoring once and picking up four assists. In the half-season at Wigan he played in just 8 games with one assist to show for his efforts.
The 23-year-old had been tipped to take over from Leighton Baines a few years ago but proved to be underwhelming in the few chances that he was given with the senior side. In all, he has 58 appearances for the Under-23s, with six goals and four assists. For the senior team, he has played in just 12 games with one assist.
At the time of signing his new deal under Roberto Martinez, despite the rumors that he was unsettled at the club, Garbutt painted a rosy picture of how he felt about the Blues:
"Over the years, I have grown to have an affinity with the Club and I feel a sense of belonging here.
“Under the manager, the future looks bright and positive and I want to be a part of that. It is a great Club to be a part of and the staff and supporters have been great with me from day one."
Since then he has been upstaged by Brendan Galloway at the position, and despite Bryan Oviedo leaving the club in the January transfer window, Garbutt seems more and more likely to continue his career away from Goodison Park.