Everton manager Ronald Koeman has told the club’s official TV channel that he believes 19-year-old defender Mason Holgate is a talent furnished with confidence and ability.
Holgate joined from Barnsley in August last year for €500,000, signing a five-year deal with the Toffees who beat a number of interested Premier League clubs.
He was a regular in the club’s Under-21 side and also made a handful of matchday squads. Holgate’s ability has meant the transition from life under Roberto Martinez to Koeman, has not hindered his progress.
Before the testimonial game for Wayne Rooney at Old Trafford, Holgate partook in all of Everton’s other pre-season games, victories over Barnsley and MK Dons and a defeat and a draw with Dynamo Dresden and Real Betis respectively in the Dresden Cup.
Speaking after the game, Koeman said: “He did very good. You have to understand that he is 19 years old but maybe he showed more confidence than some other players on the pitch.
“He looks very comfortable and he’s a big talent. I told him in the morning that not many young boys get the chance to play at Old Trafford. You have to play your game, do your best, I think you are ready.
“It doesn’t matter if you are 19 years old or are 36 years old, go and show your qualities. And he did.”
Everton have one more pre-season friendly at home to Espanyol on Saturday, where Koeman will decide his starting eleven in their opening game of the season against Tottenham Hotspur at home.
After that testing opening, Everton do not have the most torrid of a run of fixtures.
A visit of Stoke City aside, they travel to West Brom and Sunderland before facing Middlesbrough at home. An away game against Eddie Howe’s Bournemouth brings an end to Everton’s September.
At that juncture, the role Holgate has in the team will be clearer and the grip Koeman has on his side will be more evident.
Brian Strahan, Pundit Arena.