Everton loaned out 14 players this season, and in this new feature, we’ll be getting the lowdown on how each of them fared at their temporary homes in 2020-21.
In the second of this three-part segment, we chatted to those who saw more than most of Jonjoe Kenny, Matthew Pennington, Nathangelo Markelo and Cenk Tosun this season:
Jonjoe Kenny (Celtic)
Position: Right-back Age: 24 Contract Expires: June 2022 Celtic Appearances: 16 (all starts) Clean Sheets: 9 Goals/Assists: 0/4
Story of the Season: Having made just one Premier League start for Everton this season after spending last year with Schalke in Germany, right-back Kenny was loaned out to Celtic for more regular game time in February.
He featured pretty regularly for Celtic, who parted with manager Neil Lennon during his loan spell, and finished 25 points behind Scottish champions Rangers in a disappointing season, as they failed to secure their tenth successive league title.
To find out more about Kenny’s loan spell, we spoke to Martin Melly from Celtic podcast, Twenty Minute Tims:
RBM: Did Kenny play anywhere other than right-back? And in what formation(s) did he play?
Martin: Kenny only played right-back for Celtic. The formations he played in were a 4-4-2 diamond and 4-2-3-1.
RBM: What did you make of Kenny? Did you notice any particular strengths or weaknesses in his game?
Martin: I thought Kenny would be a decent stop-gap having played at a good level in England and Germany. How wrong I was.
I am really struggling to come up with strengths. Usually, if a full-back isn’t great at going forward, then he is solid defensively or vice-versa. Kenny was neither.
He offered next to nothing going forward, provided no width, didn’t put in dangerous crosses and there was a period in the season in which he went longer than two months without successfully taking on a player. It’s the Scottish league!
Defensively, he wasn’t as bad as going forward but still cost us goals through poor play and switching off. He was at solely at fault for at least three goals in matches against Rangers. The highlight was when he sent a wayward back-pass from near the halfway line resulting in a corner against us, and from the corner he didn’t mark his man and they scored.
It’s been a terrible season for Celtic and he came into a poor team and defence, but Kenny made that worse. He’s one of the worst players I have seen in a Celtic shirt; he took no responsibility and was gutless. He always took the easy option every time and passed it back to his centre-half.
RBM: Kenny has a year left on his Everton contract. What would you do with him next season if you were Carlo Ancelotti?
Martin: I would hope someone buys him. He’s not good enough for Everton in my opinion. I just pray I don’t have to see him play for Celtic ever again.
Matthew Pennington (Shrewsbury Town)
Position: Centre-back Age: 26 Contract Expires: June 2021 Shrewsbury Appearances: 20 (19 starts) Clean Sheets: 5 Goals/Assists: 2/1
Story of the Season: Everton’s resident loanee, Pennington was sent out to League One Shrewsbury in the January transfer window for his seventh temporary spell away from Goodison Park.
He was a regular at Shrewsbury, who fought to safety despite manager Steve Cotterill missing almost all of the second half of the season due to suffering from COVID-19 and COVID-pneumonia.
Pennington, whose last Everton first team appearance came in April 2017, will leave Goodison when his contract expires this summer. Shrewsbury have already offered him a permanent deal.
To find out more about Pennington’s loan spell, we spoke to Ollie Warner from Shrewsbury podcast, Salopcast:
RBM: What position(s) did Pennington play and in what formation(s)?
Ollie: Pennington mostly played on the right of a three-man defence in a 3-4-1-2 formation. He occasionally played right in a two-centre-back partnership and once at right-back (Shrewsbury have struggled at right-back all season; 12 players have played right-back/right-wing-back).
Steve Cotterill is known to have played overlapping centre-backs before Chris Wilder made them famous. Pennington often pushed forward and even got an assist with a cross away at Charlton.
RBM: This was the seventh loan spell of Pennington’s career. How did he do?
Ollie: Overall, I think Pennington had a great loan spell. After gaining match fitness, he was one of our most consistent performers and became a permanent fixture in the side.
He showed himself to be a solid defender, while the majority of his data was solid and above average for League One. His interceptions and fouls per 90 were considerably better than his colleagues in defence. In the final month of the season, Pennington became a threat at corners and set-pieces, scoring away at Blackpool and Oxford.
RBM: Pennington is out of contract at Everton this summer and has been offered a deal at Shrewsbury. Would you like to see him stay?
Ollie: On the podcast I stated I would like Shrewsbury to sign Pennington. Cotterill must agree as Pennington is one of only two players to be offered a contract out of the existing squad, including loan players.
Shrewsbury decided to let 12 players leave upon the expiry of their contracts. The squad is going to see a huge makeover in the summer. I was informed Pennington is on £15-20,000 per week at Everton, so he will have to accept considerably lower wages to sign for Shrewsbury. I hope he does!
Nathangelo Markelo (FC Twente)
Position: Central midfielder / Right-back Age: 22 Contract Expires: June 2022 FC Twente Appearances: 13 (3 starts) Clean Sheets: 2 Goals/Assists: 0/0
Story of the Season: One of the many Everton arrivals in that hectic 2017 summer transfer window, Markelo returned to his native Netherlands for the first loan spell of his career with FC Twente.
The versatile Markelo, who has never played for Everton’s first team, was used sparingly at Twente (partly due to injury), making 13 appearances as Twente finished tenth in the Eredivisie.
To find out more about Markelo’s loan spell, we spoke to Joey of FC Twente Latest:
RBM: What position(s) did Markelo play and in what formation(s)?
Joey: He didn’t play much; mainly in a 4-3-3 formation as a right-back. I remember one match away against FC Groningen he came on after 60 minutes and Twente played in a 5-3-2 formation.
RBM: What did you make of Markelo, and could you see him breaking into Everton’s first team?
Joey: Unfortunately, he didn’t make an impact, only starting in three matches and coming on as a sub in ten. Against RKC Waalwijk on Thursday [2-1 loss - highlights below], he didn’t look good in the build-up to the two goals we conceded.
I can’t see him making it in the Premier League. Maybe some time in the future, but I don’t see it. In my opinion, at the moment, he is not even good enough for the Eredivisie. He will be remembered here for having the same name as a town in the region of Twente: Markelo.
Cenk Tosun (Besiktas)
Position: Striker Age: 29 Contract Expires: June 2022 Besiktas Appearances: 3 (2 starts) Goals/Assists: 3/1
Story of the Season: Having failed to dislodge Dominic Calvert-Lewin in the first half of the season at Everton, striker Tosun left on loan for the second January transfer window in succession.
After time at Crystal Palace last term, this year he returned to Besiktas, the club who sold him to Everton in January 2018, and who beat Galatasaray to the Turkish league title by having a goal difference of +45 compared to their +44.
Tosun played three times and scored as many goals in his second spell at Besiktas before rupturing his patella in April, an injury which could keep him out until November.
To find out more about Tosun’s loan spell, we spoke to Aaron of Besiktas Talk:
RBM: What formation(s) did he play in? And how would you describe Besiktas’ style of play?
Aaron: He played as a striker in 4-3-3 and 4-1-4-1 formations. Besiktas have been playing with an attacking mindset ever since Sergen Yalcin took over, and games where Cenk played, the attacking effort was no different.
RBM: Tosun only played three times for Besiktas because of injury, but how did he look when he played?
Aaron: Even though he hadn’t played much in a long time, he certainly did what was expected of him during the games he played.
At some point, we were missing nearly all of our attackers and Cenk showed real character to take responsibility, scoring three goals and bagging an assist in three games (keep in mind that we won the league by goal difference, so it means a lot).
He looked ready and got the job done whenever he was needed and probably would have continued to do so if he didn’t get injured as he was motivated to perform in the Euros. He got injured in a really unlucky way, and we were gutted to see it - during an away game on what’s probably the worst ever pitch in league history, he fell awkwardly.
RBM: Tosun has one year left on his Everton contract but doesn’t seem to have a future at the club. Would you be happy if Besiktas re-signed him permanently this summer?
Aaron: It’s hard to say if he would like to come back to Besiktas permanently, but I’m fairly sure that the club would take him with open arms - he’s certainly got more to offer despite the injuries.
Our thanks to Martin, Ollie, Joey and Aaron for their time and contributions.