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Everton hand fringe defender a new deal

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Strange choice to keep Pennington on

Sunderland v Everton - Premier League Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images

With talk that Leeds United were preparing to make defender Matthew Pennington an offer when his current deal at Everton expires in a month, the Blues have wasted no time in signing the 23-year-old to a new three-year deal.

The Championship season ended last weekend and Pennington had done decently enough for Leeds, featuring in 24 games altogether. Multiple Yorkshire sources had reported that the club were preparing a contract for the central defender but it now appears Everton have beaten them to it, keeping him at the club he joined as an 11-year-old.

His most glorious moment for the Blues is his only goal for the club, in a Merseyside Derby to boot.

Pennington has only made nine senior appearances for the Toffees after his debut in the League Cup back in August 2015, but has spent time on loan spells with Tranmere Rovers, Coventry City and Walsall.

Speaking to evertonfc.com after signing the new deal, Pennington said -

“I am delighted with my new contract. This is the Club I have been at since I was a little boy and I am excited to extend my stay here and remain in the royal blue of Everton.

“It’s great to see some of the young lads like Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny getting opportunities. These are players who I have come through the ranks with and to see them playing in the first team is great and gives me inspiration.”

Leeds have been through tumultuous season but Pennington was mostly steady for the Lilywhites who sacked manager Thomas Christiansen just seven months into the job after a six-game winless streak saw them fall to tenth place. Under new manager Paul Heckingbottom he kept his starting spot and during a recent injury crisis at the fullback position, Pennington made the move to right back to fill in.

He will be turning 24 at the beginning of the next season and unfortunately, is yet to show that he can turn into anything more than a barely-serviceable back-up for an Everton side that has struggled to develop Premier League level talent in defence to transition to the senior squad.