Everton have handed recent call-up Matthew Pennington a one-year extension to his current contract. The central defender’s current contract was a three-year deal set to expire in the summer of 2018, but the new deal will see him part of the setup for another season after that.
Pennington has made eight appearances for the senior team over the last two seasons since he broke through from the Academy, including six Premier League games. He scored his first senior goal in the Merseyside Derby last weekend as well.
While fans haven’t been exactly convinced by his defending at times in those few games, it does look like Ronald Koeman, Steve Walsh and the rest of the coaching staff have seen enough in the 22-year-old to give him some more time to prove himself at Goodison Park.
The Warrington-born defender missed almost six months after sustaining a serious thigh injury, but came back strong from it to anchor the Everton Under-23 team that is challenging for the Premier League 2 trophy currently.
He has previously had loan spells with Tranmere Rovers, Coventry City and Walsall, having been a Toffee since the age of 11. The right-sided player has one cap for the England Under 19 side and a total of 45 appearances for the Blues youth sides over the years.
Speaking after signing the new contract, he said -
“I’m delighted to extend my stay here and hopefully I can try to cement a place in the first-team now. It’s a very exciting time to be Blue. We’ve got a new manager, new players, young players coming through and it’s a great place to be.
“I’m proud every time I wear the blue shirt and go out in front of the fans to play for Everton. That’s been my aim since I came to the Club as a young boy and hopefully I can get many more chances to do that.”
“The aim was always to try to get back in the first team but it does make it a bit harder if a manager doesn’t know you because you can’t impress anyone from the treatment room.
“I’ve just worked hard every day to get back to full fitness and I’m just happy to now get my chance again.
“I’ve been playing Under-23s games but there’s a big contrast between those and the first team. I’m just looking to get back to my top level and hopefully I can keep on playing and performing.
“It was a very difficult period when I was out and you always start questioning whether you can get back to full fitness, get back to a good level of playing and it’s a tough time, any player with a long-term injury will tell you that.
“Thankfully, I’ve seen the back of that now and come back, I think, stronger and fitter.”