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Leeds and Everton supporters mystified by Matthew Pennington’s new contract

The defender’s new contract was met by negative reaction.

Max Cohen

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Pennington
Photo: Getty Images

On Friday, Everton announced 23-year-old defender Matthew Pennington had signed a three-year deal for the club, extending his contract until June 2021.

The defender had spent the season on loan at Leeds United but had failed to seriously impress at Elland Road, leading many to question the seemingly nonsensical contract extension.

Pennington has shown very little to suggest he can play at the Premier League level, let alone excel in the Championship, leaving Leeds and Everton supporters alike shaking their heads at the news.

The centre-back moved to Everton as an 11-year-old, progressing through the academy until making his first-team debut in a 2015 League Cup tie.

Subsequent loans to Tranmere, Coventry City, and Walsall followed before Pennington played his first Premier League match in April 2016.

An injury suffered in preseason kept the Englishman out until the spring of 2017 when Pennington famously scored an equaliser in his Merseyside derby debut.

(Photo by Paul Ellis/Getty Images)

Yet, that moment has marked the high point of the defender’s Everton career.

At the start of the 2017/18 season, Pennington was deemed surplus to requirements at Goodison Park and was sent on loan to Leeds in search of first-team action.

The loanee notched 15 starts and nine substitute appearances for the Championship side, as Leeds finished a disappointing 13th in the league.

In all of Pennington’s starts, United kept a clean sheet in just one match: October’s 3-0 win over Bristol City.

Leeds went on to concede 64 goals in the league this season; only nine Championship sides let in more goals all year.

In all, the fact that Pennington failed to establish himself as a consistent starter on a middling second-division club points to a loan spell that was mediocre at best.

Everton’s decision to hand the defender a renewed contract looks to be an odd reward for a player who has yet to prove himself at either the Championship or top-flight level.

These concerns were also shared by Leeds United fans, who expressed their bemusement on Twitter after hearing news of Pennington’s deal.

Everton fans also joined in, similarly confused as to why the youngster had been handed a lengthy contract.

It will be fascinating to see what the future holds for Matthew Pennington, as the defender will be determined to prove his doubters wrong and excel at Everton.

Max is an 18-year-old football journalist studying at the University of Pennsylvania. Max specialises in English football, is an avid follower of Fulham, and co-hosts a weekly Fulham podcast. He is also a politics reporter and deputy news editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian.

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Everton

Yves Bissouma would be the ideal first summer signing for Everton

Josh Kerr

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Yves Bissouma
Photo: Getty Images

According to Sky Sports, Everton could rival Tottenham for Lille midfielder Yves Bissouma as the two Premier League giants go head-to-head for the talented youngster.

After the sacking of Sam Allardyce from Goodison Park, Everton will know a huge summer window awaits. The Toffees need to recruit smartly if they are to improve on their 8th place finish of last season.

The midfield area needs serious reinforcements, with the likes of Davy Klaassen and Morgan Schneiderlin both enduring terrible campaigns. Bissouma, currently plying his trade in Ligue 1, could be vital in improving the club in the centre of the park.

Reports suggest Tottenham have been scouting the 21-year-old for the majority of the season so Everton should swoop soon if they are to get their summer plan in motion.

(Photo by Pascal Pavani/Getty Images)

The Ivory Coast-born midfielder already has 15 caps for Mali, and has hit three goals and one assist this season, impressing with his ability to play centrally or out wide.

Bissouma’s technical ability on the ball has impressed across the French league and he could be the addition that encourages Everton to play the free-flowing football that fans have been craving all season.

The report from Sky Sports also claims that former director of football Steve Walsh – who was sacked last week alongside Allardyce – was the one launching the interest in Bissouma, which means his exit could impact Everton’s pursuit.

However, the club should still monitor Bissouma’s availability as options in midfield are becoming increasingly thin, with several players becoming complacent and failing to impress on Merseyside.

The Toffees should undoubtedly follow up Walsh’s initial interest in the youngster and prepare to swoop.

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Marcel Brand’s stance on Ademola Lookman should reassure Everton fans

Max Cohen

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Ademola Lookman
Photo: Getty Images

On Wednesday, Everton’s new director of football laid out his plans for the Merseyside club, emphasising the importance of working with young players.

According to the Telegraph, Brands is set to meet with Ademola Lookman in a bid to convince the promising youngster to stay at Goodison Park; a move that will reassure Everton supporters.

The 20-year-old spent the second half of the season on loan at Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, enjoying a successful spell that was punctuated by three goals and two assists in his final two matches.

Yet, the Englishman’s fine end to his stay in Germany sparked reports in ESPN that the Bundesliga club were interested in purchasing Lookman on a permanent basis, a transfer that would come as a massive blow for Everton.

The talented attacker only signed from Charlton in the summer of 2017, and was tipped to be one for the future at Goodison Park. To lose Lookman after just seven league appearances for Everton would be a tragic misstep.

(Photo by Gareth Copley/Getty Images)

Luckily, Brands is well known for his development of young players and said he is seeking a forward-thinking coach who shares these beliefs.

As quoted in the Telegraph, Brand is looking for a “modern coach,” preferably someone “who wants to work with young players.”

These comments will surely come as a relief to Toffees supporters who suffered through Sam Allardyce’s reign, a manager who is possibly the polar opposite of a “modern coach.”

Maintaining the services of one of England’s brightest young attacking talents, one who was even tipped for a World Cup call-up, is undoubtedly among Everton’s top priorities this summer.

It is refreshing to see the club’s new director of football shares this view and Marcel Brands will do his best to convince Ademola Lookman to remain at Goodison Park.

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Everton news round-up: Baines remains, eight released and dressing room unrest

A round-up of the biggest news at Everton today.

Mathew Coull

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Baines Remains

First of all, there is good news for Everton fans. Reports this week that club legend Leighton Baines is considering his future at Goodison Park now seem wide of the mark.

It had been suggested that the England international was tempted by a move to Los Angeles to play in MLS. However, as reported by the Liverpool Echo, the defender has no intention of leaving the club he has been with for 11 years.

He is said to be excited about working with a new manager.

For Everton, it is great news. Not only is Baines a legend, but he is also the best left-back at the club and a danger from set-pieces who is reliable from the spot.

This news should certainly be welcomed among the Everton faithful.

The Not-so Magnificent Eight

Unfortunately for other Everton players, their future is out of their hands. Everton have released a handful of their under-18 staff today. Captain Tom Scully is leaving, with the expectation he will join Norwich City – according to the Liverpool Echo.

Others who have been told they can depart are Stephen Duke-McKennna, Tom Murphy, Sid Kerr, Charlie Ball, Nathan Moore and Jordan Corke. Nathan Baxter has also been released. He was signed under Roberto Martinez’s reign from Vitesse Arnhem but has failed to develop at Finch Farm and will now need to find his way elsewhere.

The release of Scully and Duke-McKenna may come as something of a surprise, but it appears that Everton are ready to freshen up their youth-team.

Whack-a-Mole

Now some troubling news reported by The Sun today. They claim there are huge divisions in the camp at Everton, namely between the whole dressing room and, seemingly, Oumar Niasse.

The report suggests the ill-feeling in the camp got so bad that youngster Tom Davies has even contemplated quitting the club.

(Photo by Mark Robinson/Getty Images)

But the most alarming factor about this story is the supposed ‘dressing room insider’ feeding this sort of ‘story’ to the press.

Everton fans will not enjoy seeing the dirty laundry of the dressing room being aired out in the open.

These matters should be kept in-house and Everton must search out and give the mole the boot before anything else.

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