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Matthew Pennington

Everton Academy graduate Matthew Pennington signed professional papers in July 2013, agreeing a two-year deal with the club after seven years' progression through the youth setup. The 18-year-old defender was a mainstay in the U18s during the 2012-13 season and also featured nine times for the Blues U21s side.

“I'm very proud to have got this contract,” Pennington told evertontv. “Starting off at 11 years old, I've come all this way to 18 now and I'm only just at the start of my career. It's great that I can have a chance to kick on and I think that's the idea of this contract.

“Now I have got to prove myself as a player in the real world. Hopefully I can make a career in the game and push on."

Described by the Everton official website as "a versatile defender... equally adaptable playing in central defence and at right-back," Pennington has also played for England at U19 level. As with most promising players, he was sent out on loan as the plan for his subsequent development evolved, with spells at Tranmere Rovers and then Coventry City.

Pennington joined Tranmere Rovers on a one month's loan deal in January 2014 that was extended until he was recalled by Everton to strengthen their Under-21 squad but he rejoined Rovers in March and remained on loan at Prenton Park until the end of the 2013-14 season.

He would spend the majority of the following season on loan at  Coventry City  where he was voted as the club's player of the month in January 2015 as he became established in his more natural centre-back position. He went on to win the Sky Blues' Young Player of the Year award having made 25 appearances for the League One club.  In July 2015, he was rewarded with a new 3-year deal at Everton.

Pennington made his anticipated first-team debut in a Capital One League Cup second round tie at Barnsley where he acquitted himself well at right back in place of Seamus Coleman, who was rested, but he was sacrificed at half-time as manager Roberto Martinez made changes to claw back a 2-0 deficit. Later, he would replace Argentine Ramiro Funes Mori just before half time in the Blues’ Third Round FA Cup win over Dagenham and Redbridge.

After spending much of 2015-16 playing for Everton U21s, Matthew Pennington joined Walsall on loan until the end of the season, beating the 5pm loan transfer deadline on 24 March to sign for the Saddlers. This gave him the chance to gain more first-team experience in League One.   He was recalled after 28 days, however, when the Everton first-team defence was hit by injuries ahead of the FA Cup Semi-Final against Manchester United and went on to get his Premier League debut against Bournemouth before saluting the new Champions at Leicester City. 

New manager Ronald Koeman gave Pennington a run-out in a couple of pre-season games but against Real Betis, after a good performance, he pulled up with a torn hamstring 12 minutes before the end and would miss a huge part of the new season, being out for several months in recovery.

When finally fit again, in April 2017, and Coleman out with a broken leg, Matty was dropped in the deep end at Anfield and was skinned by Coutinho for Liverpool's first goal. He came on against Man Utd in the space of three days but could only watch in horror as Ashley Williams gave away a daft last-minute penalty.  However, the reward was a 2-year contract extension and he played a full game in the win over Leicester, before sitting out the last six games on the bench. 

But hopes of making the step up into the first-team squad were squashed with the arrival of Michael Keane and,  in July 2017, Pennington agreed a full season loan at Leeds United in the Championship.

FactFile

Squad number
Position Defender
Nationality English
Born 6 October 1994
Place of Birth Warrington
Height 6' 1" (1.85 m)
Signed Pro 1 July 2013
Joined from Everton Academy
Signed by Roberto Martinez
Transfer fee None
Contract duration 2 + 3 + 2 years
Contract expires June 2019
Full debut v Barnsley (A)
26 August 2015
   
» Soccerbase Datafile
» Wikipedia Entry

Everton Career

Season Squad No. League Apps (sub) League Goals Cup Apps (sub) Cup Goals Total Apps (sub) Total Goals
2013-14
38
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2014-15
38
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
0 (0)
0
2015-16
38
4 (0)
0
1 (1)
0
5 (1)
0
2016-17
38
2 (1)
1
0 (0)
0
2 (1)
1
2017-18 * 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0 0 (0) 0
  Totals 6 (1) 1 1 (1) 0 7 (2) 1
* On Season-long loan at Leeds United
               

Loan Spells

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2013-14 Tranmere Rovers 17 (0) & 0 (0) 2 & 0
2014-15 Coventry City 24 (0) & 1 (0) 0 & 0
2015-16 Walsall 5 (0) & 0 (0) 0 &0
2017-18 Leeds United    

Academy Career

Season Team Appearances (sub) Goals
2012-13 U-18s & U-21s   __ (_) & 7 (3) _ & 1
2013-14 Under-21s  12 (0) & 3 (0) 0 & 0
2014-15 Under-21s   6 (0) & 1 (0) 1 & 0
2015-16 Under-21s  8 (0) & 4 (0) 0 & 0
2016-17 Under-23s   6 (0) & 1 (0) 0 & 0


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