Only the second signing from an English club this summer and much easier to get a fan view for. A good friend is an Everton fan so this was as smooth as they come, and probably as detailed too. Pennington signed on loan for the season this afternoon and fans seem positive about the deal. Here is some much needed info on the 22-year-old centre back.
1. This move could suit both clubs well. Do you feel it’s the perfect fit for the player too?
Everton Fan – “Yes I think it is the right move for Matthew as well as both clubs. The experience of playing championship football can only add to and enhance the skills he already possesses. Hopefully the opportunity of regular football at such a strong/competitive level will lead to more improvement. The environment and expectation of players at Elland Road will definitely prove whether Matthew is capable enough to take the step up to a regular Premiership player. I think injury halted progress as he would have liked it last season so hopefully that is behind him and he can get a full season of regular football under his belt.”
2. What sort of player is he? What are his best attributes?
Everton Fan – “He is a strong, physical but agile defender, who has the adaptability to slot in at Right back as well as preferred position at centre half. One of his strongest attributes is his tackling ability – the boy has no fear and loves nothing more than to get stuck into a tackle. Being 22 the guy still has a calm collected head on his shoulders and I think he can cause some damage up at the other end of the field too….”
3. Is he ready for the rough and tough of the Championship in your opinion?
Everton Fan – “The simple answer is… he has got to be. With less than a year left on his current deal at Goodison its make or break time for the 22 year old’s career. With the championship being so physical and competitive I think it will suit Pennington’s style of football which could be the deciding factor in his future. His previous loan spells have been in lower leagues but on the few occasions that he has played for Everton he has shown he is more than up for the task of battling it out at the top.”
4. You’ll know of Pontus Jansson, everyone has…do you think he will be a good role model for him?
Everton Fan – “Jansson is without doubt a very useful player and although Pennington is smaller I think they will complement each other very well. Bartley will be a miss in my eyes to Leeds as his partnership with Pontus provided strength and stability at the back. In Matthew I see similarities to Bartley in terms of being strong and physical but to me Pennington is more athletic than Bartley was and I am excited to see how the relationship will grow.”
5. Is he a starter for Leeds in your eyes?
Everton Fan – “Yes – I think for a player at Matthew’s age and going out on loan from a premiership team he has to start. As I have stated above I truly believe this season could make or break the boy’s career and regular football is a must for him.”
6. If you could compare him to any other player in the world, who and why?
Everton Fan – “This is a tough one…. I will go with John Terry – although not as physically as imposing as Terry I think the ‘no nonsense’ style of defender is definitely one of Pennington’s attributes which make him different. Modern defenders these days are normally very good with the ball at their feet and encouraged to play football but Pennington to me still has the physique of the modern defender but that old fashion aggression at the same time. I also think the loyalty of Matthew is similar to Terry’s commitment to Chelsea – Pennington has been with the Toffees since the age of 11.”
7. What does he need to improve on?
Everton Fan – “With limited appearances for Everton this is hard to tell as I didn’t get to see much of him whilst he was out on loan but from the performances I have seen I think his distribution on the ball could be improved upon. Although he prefers centre half should he want to be more of a utility player he needs to become more comfortable with the ball at his feet.”
8. So you think he will be an Everton regular at some point in the future?
Everton Fan – “As I have highlighted strongly above I think this season will determine his future and whether it lies at Goodison. I would love to have a young Toffee break through and stay with the club for the long term future but it seems every time Pennington gets an opportunity there is always a hurdle in his way. Ideally a solid season at Elland road will set him up perfectly for a long successful career at Everton.”
Huge thank you to Matthew (Everton Fan) for taking the time to answer the questions and help give us an insight into the new signing.