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Transfer rumours denied with defender set to play key first-team role

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Marco Silva set to put emphasis on youth this season

Tottenham Hotspur v Everton - Premier League

Everton have no plans to sell Mason Holgate this summer with the young defender set to play a key role within the first-team squad next season.

New Toffees boss Marco Silva is actively looking to lower the wage bill this summer and reduce the squad down to a manageable level.

With Wayne Rooney and Ramiro Funes Mori already out of the door, speculation has understandably arisen regarding other members of the squad.

Reports emerged last week that Everton were ready to consider offers for England U21 international Holgate.

However, Liverpool Echo reporter Phil Kirkbride says those reports are false and the young defender will remain on Merseyside.

Silva is keen to give young players a chance this season so rumours about Holgate’s potential sale always seemed a little odd.

The 21-year-old enjoyed a decent run of form during the middle part of the season under David Unsworth and then Sam Allardyce.

Though most comfortable at centre back, Holgate can also play on the right having filled in there for Seamus Coleman during the tail end of the 2016-17 campaign.

The defender most likely to leave this summer is Ashley Williams, whose form alarmingly tailed off last season and is on hefty wages.

That leaves Holgate, Michael Keane and Phil Jagielka as Silva’s central defensive options. The Portuguese is expected to bring in another central defender before the transfer window closes.

Everton are also keen to bring in a left-back to provide competition for Leighton Baines, with Celtic’s Kieran Tierney a target.