Being an Everton fan in Essex I don’t very often get chance to watch Bobby Martinez’s team. To scratch my itch for live football I frequently watch local side Colchester United.

Today as I sat down in my regular seat at the Weston Homes Community Stadium I was pleased to hear the team sheets being announced and a certain Luke Garbutt making his home debut.

In 2009 Luke Garbutt joined Everton in a controversial deal from Leeds United. David Moyes pinched the then 16-year-old Garbutt from the Leeds academy and when neither club could agree a fee a tribunal set an initial fee of 600,000.

Garbutt immediately entered the youth set up at Everton and not much was heard about him until October 2011 when David Moyes arranged for the then 18-year-old to join Cheltenham on an initial one month loan.

Garbutt made his debut for Cheltenham against Wycombe Wanderers and his loan spell was extended as Garbutt enjoyed a full season at the League 2 side.

The 2011/12 season was an enjoyable one for Garbutt who made 37 first team appearances for Cheltenham including an FA Cup game at White Hart Lane and scoring his first professional goal away to Macclesfield, sending Cheltenham to the top of the league in the process.

The 2012/13 season saw Garbutt return to Everton and become a regular for the U21 side. In August 2012 David Moyes handed the then 19-year-old Garbutt his Everton debut in a Capital One Cup tie against Leyton Orient. Kevin Mirallas (2), Leon Osman and Victor Anichebe had given Everton a 4-0 half time lead and David Moyes took the opportunity to bring on Shane Duffy, Ross Barkley and Luke Garbutt for the second half. Garbutt replaced Leighton Baines and by all accounts held his own as Everton eventually won that game 5-0.

Sadly the second half against Orient would be the only first team football Garbutt would enjoy during the 2012/13 season but David Moyes had seen enough to hand the youngster a new deal ahead of the 2013/14 season which will keep him at Everton until 2015.

Moyes then departed to Man Utd and left the future of Luke Garbutt in the hands of Roberto Martinez. All summer it looked like Leighton Baines might join Moyes at Man Utd and had that deal gone through it would have left Garbutt and Oviedo to fight it out over the vacant left back position.

As it happened Baines stayed with Everton (at least until January) and with Oviedo as back up left back, Martinez decided the best thing for Garbutt would be another loan deal in the lower leagues.

A few phone calls later and Luke Garbutt had joined League 1 side Colchester United on an initial 28 day loan.

Garbutt signed for Joe Dunne’s side on Friday the 13th and the following day he made his debut away to Bradford City. Garbutt played a full 90 minutes as Colchester fought their way to a 2-2 draw against Bradford. Manager Joe Dunne singled Garbutt out and praised the youngsters ability to adapt into a new side despite only signing 24 hours earlier.

So back to today as I sat down to watch Luke Garbutt make his home debut for Colchester United.

Garbutt has been given the number 27 shirt at Colchester and today he played the full 90 minutes at left back against Crawley Town.

My first impression of Garbutt was that he looks young. He’s not very tall, probably only 5’ 8" and he’s very slim which worried me as League 1 football can be quite physical at times.

First off I should say that Colchester V Crawley was an awful game. Seriously it was one of the most boring 90 minutes I have ever spent watching football.

I paid particular to Garbutt’s performance but in such a dire game there really wasn’t much to report. It seemed to take 20 minutes for Garbutt to even get a touch of the ball. Then at half time I asked my mate his opinion of Garbutt and he said "did a job".

The second half was a bit better for Garbutt as much more of the play started to go down the left hand side.

Garbutt isn’t the biggest or the quickest but he is tenacious and rarely gives up a tackle. Garbutt also rarely losses a ball with nearly every pass he made finding a teammate.

In fact the only time I remember Garbutt making a mistake was around the 75 minute mark when he tried to take on the Crawley defence and lost the ball. From that mistake Crawley actually went down the pitch and scored a goal leading to a guy a few rows in front of me shouting ’fuckin ell Garbutt’ but luckily the linesman ruled that goal offside and Garbutt got away with his mistake.

I’d love to tell you all that Garbutt stood out in this game or that Garbutt looked a cut above everyone else but that wouldn’t be fair.

In truth it was a dire piss poor League 1 draw in which Garbutt played his part. He was perfectly fine, no better or worse than any other player on display. Ex-West Ham prodigy Freddie Sears scored for Colchester, which I found ironic as Everton beat West Ham today.

Anyway Garbutt did his job and I fully expect he will keep his place in the Colchester side for next week’s away trip to Bristol.

Hopefully Garbutt will extend his loan at Colchester and I’ll have plenty of future home games to report on. And they can’t all be as boring as today’s game so hopefully in the future I’ll be able to report more positively on Garbutt’s time at Colchester United.

After that 90 minutes of football you have no idea how happy I was to get home and discover Everton had beaten West Ham. COYB.

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Reader Comments (8)

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Ajay Gopal
1 Posted 22/09/2013 at 10:26:59
Thanks for the report, Dick. Garbutt will have some big boots to fill when either Baines leaves or decides to call it a day. Will he make it? Only time will tell... in the meantime, getting game time is not going to do him any harm.
Harold Matthews
2 Posted 22/09/2013 at 12:46:38
Great report Dick. Just goes to show how TV can be deceptive. I always thought he was much bigger than your description.

Many tears have passed since my last visit to your area. I spent the day at Castle House, Dedham, the home of the late, great Sir Alfred Munnings, equine painter supreme and one of my all-time heroes. What talent and what a character.

Back to Garbutt. I'll be surprised if he makes it in the Premier League but the experience will bring him on and maybe Colchester will eventually want to keep him. Everton have a reputation of finding suitable employment for youngsters. Indeed, it was for this very reason that one of our new academy lads chose us over the other mob across the park.

Alasdair Mackay
3 Posted 23/09/2013 at 01:19:44
I remember watching Garbutt playing for the U21s in the final at Fulham a couple of years ago and being impressed by him.

I think he will play in the Prem one day. His touch looks good and he seems to read the game well, which are the two things that youngsters need over and above raw ability and physicality, for me. Whether or not he will play at Everton remains to be seen, though. A lot will depend on what happens with Baines in January.

Tom R Owen
4 Posted 23/09/2013 at 11:57:02
Saw him a couple of seasons ago now at a pre season with Hereford. Have to say I was under whelmed
Sam Hoare
5 Posted 23/09/2013 at 12:03:18
I too was have been slightly underwhelmed by Garbutt.

Really hope it goes well for him at Colchester but with Baines and Oviedo I think he's going to have develop alot to get first team chances with us.

Tony J Williams
6 Posted 23/09/2013 at 12:16:09
I think Oviedo needs to "man up" a little. Too easily pushed off the ball and he doesn't have the Ossie midget gem excuse.
Gavin Ramejkis
7 Posted 23/09/2013 at 12:28:34
Tony J need to take back that Oviedo man up midget gem bit matey, he's a cm shorter than Osman, two different types of player too, Osman is more of a central mid, Oviedo is left sided mid
Richard Reeves
8 Posted 23/09/2013 at 22:27:21
I think he will make it and he is part of Roberto's plans. Baines isn't exactly the biggest of players yet he is fairly strong for someone of his build so that should provide some encouragement for the lad. I could see Garbutt on the left in a year or two with Coleman on the right with backup from Stones with Stones then moving into the centre in the future.

Hopefully Duffy is also a big part of Roberto's plans. It would be nice to see that line up in a few years if everyone progresses and we (as I see it) inevitably sell Baines.


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