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Everton could give fringe defender new contract

Matthew Pennington wanted by Leeds where he’s on loan

Everton v Dagenham & Redbridge - The Emirates FA Cup Third Round Photo by Dave Thompson/Getty Images

Among the sixteen players from Everton currently out on loan is Matthew Pennington who has been at Leeds United since the beginning of this season. The central defender has had his moments in Yorkshire, and while by no means a crucial member of the squad he has made his presence felt in a number of ways.

The Yorkshire Evening Post claims that the Toffees are considering giving him a new deal with his current contract set to expire at the end of next season. There is interest from Leeds as well to make a move for the defender after his performances this year.

Pennington has featured in 22 Championship games, starting in 14 fixtures for a Leeds side that has faced a tumultuous season. At one point early on the Lilywhites were in contention for a playoff spot with the Premier League beckoning, but manager Thomas Christiansen was sacked just seven months into the job after a six-game winless streak saw them fall to tenth place.

The defender does have the faith of new manager Paul Heckingbottom, but the results haven’t necessarily improved as Leeds have been unable to string together a series of wins and now sit in 14th spot, playing out the remainder of the games.

A recent injury crisis at the fullback position saw Pennington make the move to right back last weekend, a spot he did well at and is likely to line up at again this coming weekend against Norwich.

Assistant manager Jamie Clapham was impressed by how Pennington did out wide, especially against Barnsley’s in-form winger Oly McBurnie -

“It was good for Matty Pennington. He was played out of position but he did really well against McBurnie who everyone’s talking about.

“You can see he’s a talent, he’s got quick feet and he’s pretty strong as well. But Matty did well and the back four stood up to the challenge.”

The defender has featured nine times for the Everton senior side, and will likely count his consolation goal at Anfield in last season’s away Merseyside Derby as his high point as a Blue.

Pennington is going to be almost 24 at the beginning of the next season and has yet to show that he can turn into anything more than a barely-serviceable back-up for an Everton side that is severely lacking in young defenders in the senior squad.