Last time I reported on Luke Garbutt he had played in the FA Cup fixture against Sheffield United. Colchester United had lost that game but Luke Garbutt had scored his first goal for the U’s and won another man-of-the-match award. Quite a few things have happened since that game:-

  • Garbutt missed the dismal home defeat to Swindon thanks to a one-game suspension earned from picking up five yellow cards.
  • Garbutt signed an extension to his loan contract keeping him at Colchester United until January 4th.
  • Garbutt returned to the Colchester starting line up for the away game to Preston and scored a late goal to earn a point. The goal was a cracker and well worth a look if you can find it on Youtube.
  • Leighton Baines was injured in the derby game and faces up to six weeks on the sidelines.

I mention the Baines injury because for the first time in years the Everton left back position is up for grabs and the only orthodox left backs in the squad to replace Baines are Bryan Oviedo and Luke Garbutt. When news of the Baines injury circulated there was an initial fear amongst Colchester fans that Roberto Martinez may recall Luke Garbutt.

So far though it seems Luke Garbutt is not in Roberto Martinez’s immediate plans and last night I attended a floodlight fixture against MK Dons with Luke Garbutt starting at left back for Colchester United.

With two goals in his last two games Luke Garbutt is high on confidence and he certainly appears to be enjoying his time at Colchester. He’s even got his own song with the Colchester fans now. I couldn’t quite make out all the words but its basically set to the tune of ’Let’s go fuckin mental’ with the words ’Luke Garbutt’ replacing the ’Fuckin Mental’ part.

The first chance of the game came from Luke Garbutt as he superbly dispossessed an MK Dons player and fed Jabo Ibehre whose shot was saved.

The opening 20 minutes of the game was a tight tense affair with the MK Don’s piling lots of pressure onto Colchester. Garbutt had his hands full up against a pacy MK Dons winger but did very well for himself. I noticed Garbutt positioned himself very well and kept turning the opposing winger inside onto his weaker foot. I think Garbutt was under instruction not to let the winger go outside and cross with his stronger foot.

On the 20 minute mark Garbutt launched a long ball up the field towards the MK Dons goal and Colchester striker Jabo Ibehre raced onto it to beat the keeper and give Colchester a lead. It was a good goal and a great assist for Garbutt who showed terrific vision with his long ball pass.

Colchester scored a second goal before half time but in all honesty a 2-0 lead was a bit flattering as MK Dons proved they were a more than decent side full of craft and graft.

In the second half Colchester pressed home their advantage and slowly began to dominate the game. MK Dons did score a goal but Colchester never let it bother them and by the time they got their 3rd goal the game was over as a competition.

Garbutt in the second half was more attacking and he seems to be developing a good relationship with Ryan Dickson down the left hand side. Dickson and Garbutt overlap each other well and are reminiscent of Baines and Pienaar.

Garbutt had two or three corners in the second half but none of them were all that impressive. Garbutt has a tendancy to either whip in his corners low and fast like Andy Hinchcliffe used to (these tend to struggle to get past the first defender) or overhit them long and deep (these seem to bypass everyone and bounce harmless out of the area). Garbutt’s corner’s need some work which is surprising since he’s excellent at freekicks and crossing in free play.

There was a surprising 7 minutes additional time at the end of the game but Colchester eventually won the game 3-1. This wasn’t Garbutt’s most impressive game but he was solid and did get an assist for the opening goal. I would probably give Garbutt 7 out of 10 for his performance. His discipline and defensive responsibility in the first half was good to see as normally that’s where he struggles most. I think he’s developing into a better defender with each game.

Walking away from the Stadium with happy Colchester fans there was some talk about Garbutt with many feeling that Everton’s failure to recall him after the Baines injury is a sign that Roberto Martinez has no interest in Garbutt. The words Luke Garbutt and permanent signing were thrown around quite a few times and seem to be gaining momentum.

I myself have read the recent Martinez interviews where he has named possible Baines replacements, Stones, Oviedo, Alcaraz, Distin and even Hibbert have been mentioned by Roberto as possible left backs but so far he doesn’t seem interested in even entertaining the idea of giving Luke Garbutt a chance.

Personally I think Garbutt might struggle defensively in the Premiership but I wouldn’t mind him getting a chance in an Everton shirt. Garbutt has an attacking threat which is reminiscent of Baines. Garbutt’s crossing ability and freekicks would offer Everton something. He would probably get skinned a few times by Premiership attackers but then so did Seamus Coleman in the early days.

Roberto is probably right and it most likely is too early to give Garbutt a chance with Oviedo the safer option (he deserves his chance too) but if it was a choice between playing Tony Hibbert at left back or Luke Garbutt, I may very well choose young Luke. In any case I look forward to seeing Garbutt’s next game for Colchester and I’m rather enjoying seeing him develop into a better player.

One last additional note. In the executive box directly behind where I sat last night was just one man dressed in a Spurs coat and hat. Undoubtedly this man was a scout for Spurs. It made me wonder who he was watching. The three players with the most potential at Colchester are Luke Garbutt, teenage striker Macauley Bonne (who scored his 3rd goal in 6 games) and 18-year-old midfielder Alex Gilbey. I can’t imagine the Spurs scout was watching Garbutt so my guess is Alex Gilbey who has caused a stir recently by not signing a contract extension.

Alex Gilbey has loads of potential and could be available for next to nothing if he continues to not sign a new contract. Gilbey is destined for bigger and better things (my mate has a bet on him to play for England one day) and if I was Roberto Martinez I would pick up the phone and talk to Colchester manager Joe Dunne about Alex Gilbey. Trust me, Gilbey is a diamond waiting to be discovered.

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Reader Comments (6)

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Jamie Sweet
1 Posted 27/11/2013 at 22:21:48
Thanks for keeping us in the loop Dick. Sounds like he is progressing well, but it is a huge step up to the Premier League and it sounds like he's probably not quite ready for that.

Send the club your scouting report on Gilbey. I once sent them an email regarding a young Kiwi player and got a reply from two different members of the scouting network. It's unlikely it would ever come to anything, but I certainly got the impression that they appreciated the little scouting mission I undertook for them. They haven't yet paid the invoice I sent them, but I'm sure they'll get around to it when Bill finds his wallet!

Michael Winstanley
2 Posted 27/11/2013 at 23:34:28
Dick you're a star. Thanks, a very enjoyable report as always.
He looks quick but is he big enough yet to handle the physical side of things?
Dick Fearon
3 Posted 27/11/2013 at 22:31:33
Whenever opportunity arose, I enjoyed watching Everton reserves in the old now defunct Central League. Your informative reports on Luke Garbutt, Colchester and their opponents remind of those long ago days when I would stand on the terraces with other diehards.

It is clear from your writing that you have a down-to-earth outlook and hopefully one of our own scouts give Alex Gibney a once over. Perhaps your mention of the lad will start the ball rolling.

Cheers and please keep the reports coming in.

Sam Hoare
4 Posted 28/11/2013 at 11:46:36
Always enjoy these reads, Dick.

Garbutt is still very young at 20. Perhaps if he has next season on loan in the championship then by 22ish he will be ready to play for us. Think Coleman started for us regularly at the same age.

Ian Burns
5 Posted 28/11/2013 at 13:52:03
Thanks once again Dick, always an interesting read. Maybe Luke will get a 10 out of 10 one day! It would be a real (and deserved) feather in your cap if you sent that scouting report on young Gilbey and they took him on!

Incidentally my remark of 10 out of 10 reminds me of the very first time I ever saw 10 out of 10 (in The People) was for Roy Vernon against Sheff Weds when EFC won 4-2 and RV scored a pen and one other I think.

I've grown up now and don't read The People any more, I stick with the Beano.

Harold Matthews
6 Posted 28/11/2013 at 15:50:19
Thanks for yet another excellent report Dick. Sounds as if he's doing ok down there but the whole business is very vague. Who is actually deciding the length of his loan? Are we reluctant to let him go for longer or are they reluctant to stump up the extra cash? If the lad is not judged to be future first team material, Stubbs will definitely be trying to find him a permanent job elsewhere.

The Premier League is a mighty leap for a young lad and right now he is way behind fullbacks of a similar age. Shaw, Stones, Singleton, Robinson etc. plus all the young talent from overseas. If he is really determined to make it maybe he will, but it will not be easy. Good luck to him.

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