Holgate acknowledges selection challenge as he nears return

12/10/2022 34comments  |  Jump to last

Mason Holgate admits that he will have a job on his hands getting back into the Everton team once he is fully recovered from injury due to the form of Conor Coady and James Tarkowski.

The 25-year-old defender has been out of action since late August with a knee problem but he resumed training late last week alongside Yerry Mina and is hopeful of being in the squad for this weekend's trip to Tottenham if all goes well at Finch Farm this week as he steps up his recovery with full sessions with the rest of the first team.

A starting berth might be beyond him for now unless Frank Lampard opts for a five-man back line because Coady and Tarkowski have struck up an encouragingly solid central-defensive partnership at the heart of what is now, after last Sunday's defeat to Manchester United, the Premier League defence that has conceded the joint fewest goals so far this season.

“I trained yesterday,” Holgate said on Everton Live at the weekend. “Obviously it was a lighter session with it being the day before a game, so hopefully I'll get another week of training in and I should be available to in the squad next week, hopefully.

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“The timing of [the injury] wasn't ideal but you could always say that whenever you get injured. It's part of football, you just have to get on with it and hopefully I can come back stronger and better. 

“Coads and Tarky have brought in a massive amount of experience and leadership into the team, I think it's clear to see that. Playing with them, I know exactly how good they are and that we're in safe hands. Hopefully I can come back in and help the team with my strengths but also support them because they're doing well. 

“It's going to be tough to get back in but that's part of the challenge for me.”


Reader Comments (34)

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Dave Cashen
1 Posted 12/10/2022 at 06:53:58
Ancelotti saw a huge talent and staved off attention of the big boys by handing him a massive contract. In hindsight it was the worst thing we could have done. His head just went. He seemed to lose all Focus. Too much too young ?. You'd need to watch a lot of football to find somebody who paid less attention to what was going on around him.

Ironically he seemed to be well on his way to finding his way home when injury struck. He has been really good since Lampard arrived.He played a huge part in our survival battle in the latter part of last season. He started this season well too.

There is no automatic route back into our back four anymore. He finds himself down the pecking order.

I suspect Mason's ship may have sailed.

Jim Bennings
2 Posted 12/10/2022 at 06:53:59
A squad player that, maybe when partnering one of Coady or Tarkowski, he looks half-decent… but any kind of team that includes Holgate and Keane as the centre-back duo must hopefully not be on display ever again.

I'd imagine within the next year, Keane and Holgate could both well be moved on if the price is right – and Mina too who unfortunately will always be injury- prone.

Danny O’Neill
3 Posted 12/10/2022 at 07:33:07
The "too much too young" syndrome is a possibility. Maybe also just the natural young player dip and loss of form, but he did regain and improve towards the end of last season and until he got injured.

My question on Mason is that I don't know his best position? Maybe he's one of those players that managers like because of the versatility.

I'm not questioning his ability, I just don't see where he can make a position his own. And once everyone is fit, as he acknowledges, there is a lot of competition in that space now, which is good for us.

I may get laughed off the park here, but I'll go with the instinctive thought that came into my head. Is he a Phil Neville type of player?

Never quite good enough to nail a specific position down, but versatile so very useful to have in the squad in an ever-increasing football world of rotation. A manager's dream; a Teacher's Pet – even though not the best?

Obviously the big difference being that Neville was a leader and had presence. I don't see that in Holgate. Although, did that only happen for Neville when he left Ferguson's dynasty and became the big fish in a small pond with his countless medals in comparison to those around him?

Steve Shave
4 Posted 12/10/2022 at 07:39:07
Welcome back, Mason. I would shift Yerry Mina in January and maybe Keane as well if we get any takers. Bring in a young and promising centre-back to fill in as 4th or 5th choice.

Godfrey to return and Holgate looked okay at the beginning of the season. Personally, I don't dislike him when he is showing some stability. Sadly, last season he was poor for long spells.

Rob Halligan
5 Posted 12/10/2022 at 07:52:49
Steve # 4,

According to the Red Echo, inter Milan are interested in buying Yerry Mina in January. I think Mina is a decent centre-half, but, as we all know, he's just too injury-prone, and therefore best if we can move him on.

Vijay Nair
6 Posted 12/10/2022 at 08:03:48
Mina certainly needs to go in January. The number of games he plays vs the wages he's on just does not stack up from a value perspective. For the remainder of the season, Mason (along with Keane and Godfrey) can provide sufficient cover in central defence.

Personally I would send him out (to prove himself) on loan next season as we will have Branthwaite back. Davies is another that needs to show us that he can consistently perform at this level.

Ian Bennett
7 Posted 12/10/2022 at 08:27:39
Mina is done, and clearly Frank has no faith in Keane. Whether he goes for another centre-half will depend on how well Branthwaite is getting on in Holland. Godfrey, Holgate, and Branthwaite would seem adequate cover next season.

Gomes looks like he's struggling in the French league, so Lille aren't going to be takers.

Mick Roberts
8 Posted 12/10/2022 at 09:22:29
Fact is the goals scored against us is very misleading – the defence is not solid, as some people like us to believe.

Man Utd could have been 5-1 up at half-time; if we are so solid, how do teams as shakey as Southampton get 22 shots against us?

Danny O’Neill
9 Posted 12/10/2022 at 09:29:18
Mina is a shame. Good player, just can't stay fit for whatever reason. Definitely a character around the club and any club he moves onto.

I'll have to counter that, Mick. Could have been 5 -1 up but they weren't. Southampton had 22 shots but we won.

The Moyes generation would be lauding this. Close matches where we're never too far away from the points or a point.

We are definitely more solid at the back. Last season it would have been 5-1 to United and we wouldn't have beaten Southampton.

Martin Reppion
10 Posted 12/10/2022 at 09:45:33
Holgate seems to have it all one week and nothing the next.
That implies he lacks belief.

I've seen him play well at right-back, centre-back and in midfield. He may be the sort of player who fills in when we have an injury or suspension crisis in the defensive midfield position, while covering a number of positions at the back.

He certainly would get my vote to play at right-back if we had 2 games in a week and only Seamus as an option. As others have said, he may not be in anyone's ideal starting eleven, but his versatility makes him an asset.

He is still young enough to improve. The coaching staff we have will help him with that. He could become the latter day Alan Harper. Unsung, but extremely effective.

Robert Tressell
11 Posted 12/10/2022 at 09:47:47
Mina possibly is still our best centre-back but has never had much chemistry with those around him (possibly their failing more than his). It's a team game, however, and finally we are coming together like a team. Mina is out of contract in the summer so could conceivably move for a nominal fee in January just to clear his wages off our books.

Holgate has had a frustrating Everton career. He looked like a potential England player towards the end of Ancelotti's first season but it was not to be. Probably better suited to a back 3 than back 4 also.

No need to be sentimental though – as with Keane, he's not as bad as made out, especially if played to his strengths – but it's time to move him on at the end of the season I expect.

Danny O’Neill
12 Posted 12/10/2022 at 10:15:25
Similar principle and thought process, Martin.

Although Harper seemed to be able to play anywhere on the pitch!!

Different era but in him and Richardson, we never worried too much if a player was out or had to be replaced.

Kevin Richardson. Not a household name and couldn't hold down a regular place at Everton.

But leagues titles with both Everton and Arsenal. A European Cup Winners Cup Medal, FA Cup winner and League Cup winner (Villa). Good honest humble professional and not many in the game can claim that medal count.

I think Mason can be a very effective squad player. And now we have to use the squad more.

Glad to see him on the road back.

Tony Abrahams
13 Posted 12/10/2022 at 10:17:43
Very sensible post that, Martin.
Dave Abrahams
14 Posted 12/10/2022 at 10:42:44
Martin (10),

Yes, lack of belief could be one of Mason's problems although I think he is better than a Jack of all trades and master of none. He was rated, potentially, better than Stones when we signed him, by some coaches at Barnsley. Maybe he can learn from Coady and Tarkowski and take over from them in the future.

Mina and Keane will soon be gone and Branthwaite could prove to be a top-class centre-back with Godfrey also coming back and able to play there while also cover for the full-back positions.

Jerome Shields
15 Posted 12/10/2022 at 12:51:00
Holgate came into his own under Silva, but was injured and wasn't either able or prepared to reach a consistent level and developed error-proneness, slips of concentration, etc.

It could be that David (#1) is right regarding his contract. He did develop an arrogance telling the Gwladys Street end to "Fuck Off" at one stage.

Now he is coming back from injury again and is concerned about the work he is going to have to put in.

Alan J Thompson
16 Posted 12/10/2022 at 16:07:17
Which of Holgate and Godfrey would be the most versatile if that is the criterion for retaining players?

And would either be considered before say Mykolenko or Vinagre?

Whatever, if Branthwaite comes back improved, then a central defender or three may be on the move.

Dale Self
17 Posted 12/10/2022 at 17:09:38
Holgate is a type of player that could flourish with a coach like Frank Lampard. Okay, maybe not flourish but begin to get back on a career trajectory that was expected.

He'll put in a shift and is definitely a fighter although a bit petulant at times. His main problem was playing with Keane and having to deal with the obvious disappointment when we all knew that was all that was healthy enough to suit up.

He did much better for a couple of games with Godfrey, I think, but then that broke down.

Given specific defensive responsibilities and some time with Onana, he is absolutely functional. If he improves significantly, yes, it would be tempting to move him on but that is in no way a given. Give him a chance with Frank; it may be what Frank does best.

And on that note, Frank is getting some criticism for what we all knew was his weakness. As he gets his system installed and can develop a reliance on a regular XI, we will be able to finish off games when in winning positions.

Frank may be the kind of coach that recruits and rebuilds a team better than his level at coaching but he will take that as a challenge and get that right over time.

You may not have noticed but Frank had blood in his eyes during one sideline camera shot. He was livid that we didn't make more of that lead and were chasing the game at that point.

Mike Gaynes
18 Posted 12/10/2022 at 17:36:42
From my point of view, Holgate has dramatically improved. I no longer cry, spew obscenities and writhe in psychic agony when I see him in the lineup.

He did play mostly error-free football during the relegation battle last spring.

However, he still passes the ball like a 5-year-old, and the knucklehead who forgets to mark his man on corners and got sent off in 8 minutes against Spurs a year ago is still lurking in there.

Squad player? Cup ties and emergencies? Okay, fine.

Starter? Never again, thank you.

Jerome Shields
19 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:27:22
I can't help but feel that leaks about Everton's finances are a reflection of divisions within the club's management. These leaks appear to put timely pressure on Moshiri to sell IMO. I do find them annoying.

Everton as a team are slowly but surely improving, with some setbacks like Sunday. But there were some positives from that game.

Bobby Mallon
20 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:30:43
Steve @4
Mina records 4.04 aerial wins per 90 minutes and is in the top eight per cent of aerial wins category across Europe. Mina has won 68% of his aerial duels compared to Keane’s 65% and Holgate’s 61%. Mina averages 5.39 clearances per game, significantly higher than Keane. Mina’s presence on the pitch makes Everton much more assured at the back. Everton’s win percentage when Mina is playing is 40% which drops to 20% when the Colombian doesn’t play a single minute in the game.
Bobby Mallon
21 Posted 12/10/2022 at 21:32:47
This was from last season. The only problem with Mina is he’s injury prone. That’s Everton that decent players always injured
Dave Cashen
22 Posted 13/10/2022 at 09:06:07
Mason Holgate's tackle against Spurs brought the whole ground to its feet roaring approval (watch it). It also drew approval from his team mates.

He didn't just win the ball at the edge of the box. He won it so cleanly, it landed in the Spurs half. Yeah, his momentum took him through the Spurs player, but for many (me included) the sight of the red card being brandished confirmed the game has gone South and we were now being governed by idiots who don't understand the game while watching the VAR stills.
Compare that tackle to the one St Virgil did a few weeks ago at Goodison.

I"m happy to criticise Holgate for his lack of concentration and focus and given that he had shown he can play football, I'm even happier to criticise his careless sloppy passes, but I will never criticise him for making the sort of challenge the fans were screaming for when the rest of our players watched on as Spurs took control.

The VAR stills and slows are being judged by morons… GRRR!!

Kieran Kinsella
23 Posted 13/10/2022 at 13:55:24
Calvert-Lewin not in full training and Mina has had a setback according to Frank. Surprised?
Tom Bowers
24 Posted 13/10/2022 at 15:40:40
Defenders make mistakes and, when it costs points, everyone calls for heads to roll.

If you win most games 3-2 then the two goals against in those games are not analysed but anything less comes under close scrutiny.

I remember well a game in the seventies at Goodison that we won 5-4 against Albion with Alan Ball scoring 4 but we didn't worry one iota about the 4 goals against.

Holgate is much like John Stones – very quick to read the game but arguably prone to craziness which makes him a liability but one can also look at other defenders we have who for different reasons can screw up – even the keeper.

The answer to this is keeping strong control in the middle of the park, having players who have the energy to high press and keeping the opposition in their own end longer, not to mention having adequate striking options that will get you ahead in the game early thereby forcing the opposition to rethink their game plan.

Jim Bennings
25 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:12:37
Mina setback again.

The trouble we are faced with is actually finding someone to take him off our hands.

I love Yerry as a defender, don't get me wrong, he's a mountain when he's fit, but he's just never ever fit and when he is, it's a matter of how long before the next injury is just around the corner.

Alan McGuffog
26 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:19:17
Tom... I for one was worried.

If memory serves we were cruising at 4-1 just after half-time. Baggies drew level and I think we got a very late penalty to win. 1967?

Kieran Kinsella
27 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:32:46

In 8 months, he is out of contract anyway. I suspect he will be here until then.

Ray Roche
28 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:36:59
Alan @26,

Yes, that Baggies fightback certainly cured my constipation. 😳💩

Mike Gaynes
29 Posted 13/10/2022 at 16:47:34
Tom #24,

I would argue the exact opposite, that Holgate has always been a very poor reader of the game who uses his remarkable speed and athleticism to recover from his failures to anticipate opponents' runs. He's one of the best last-ditch tacklers I've ever seen... because he has to be.

I saw some improvement in this area in the spring run-in, but partly because Lampard had him lying deep. He was also clearly under instructions to hoof any clearance opportunities rather than attempt to pass the ball out of the back.

Kieran #27 and Jim #25, I'd suspect if Mina's healthy in January and another club has an urgent need, we might ship him for a few million then. It'll be a great sadness for me, because I love the way he plays and love his spirit and passion. He could have been a club legend if he could have stayed fit. But enough is enough

Mike Gaynes
30 Posted 13/10/2022 at 17:02:20
Off-topic but hilarious:

Ashley Williams got into a fight with the opposing coach at his son's U12s game in Manchester. The FA has charged him with violent conduct. His spokesperson says he was defending himself and has 45 witnesses, and wants a personal hearing to contest the charge.

I presume he won't be calling Ashley Barnes, Ollie Watkins or anybody at Bristol City as character endorsements.

Brian Murray
31 Posted 13/10/2022 at 17:22:30
Prime example: I said on another thread parents should be nowhere near the touchline when their kids play.

As for Holgate, I'd hate him to mature at another club after the crap he's put us through. He's working with proper defenders now so, if he doesn't learn, he never will.

James Edwards
32 Posted 13/10/2022 at 17:29:23
The game Alan Ball scored 4 goals against WBA was at The Hawthorns. We won 6 -2 in the 67-68 season. Alan Whittle made his debut in that game.

A few years ago, I had a good chat with Alan Whittle about his debut and how he set up 3 of Alan Ball's 4 goals; he added that he didn't get a thank you for any of them!

Dave Abrahams
33 Posted 13/10/2022 at 17:38:34
James (32),

I didn't realise that was Alan Whittle's debut, he scored the other two of Everton's goals that day.

He seemed to have everything to go right to the top of the football ladder after his first season with us, in fact there was a long poem written about him singing his praises. It all went to pieces for him and one or two other players after a game at Nottm Forest and some scandal materialised about them,

Alan was transferred to Crystal Palace not long after with David Johnson going to Ipswich Town as well.

James Edwards
34 Posted 13/10/2022 at 18:02:15
Dave @33,

I think J Morrissey & J Royle Scored the other two and we all know what happened 2 months later at Wembley.

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