Holgate's desire for games almost forced a second loan

Tuesday, 4 August, 2020 51comments  |  Jump to last
After a tumultuous season where he secured his place in the Everton defence, Mason Holgate has been talking about the primary desire at this stage of his career: just to be playing football.

After spending the second half of the 2018-19 season on loan at West Brom, he saw another loan as being a way to increase his chances of playing every week but it was Marcel Brands showing faith in him that convinced the 23-year-old he could break through at Everton, despite the established positions of Yerry Mina and Michael Keane in Everton's back line.

“It has been very difficult at times and I thought I was going to have to leave and start afresh to get playing.

“I spoke to Marcel Brands before going to West Brom and I did the same at the start of the season because I thought I would have to go out to play games.

But Holgate would sit on the bench as an unused sub for the first 8 games of Marco Silva's last Premier League season, only getting his chance after Yerry Mina came off injured against West Ham and missed the next game, at Brighton. Holgate grasped his chance with both hands and has never looked back.

“I have made it clear for the past two years, I just want to play football. I felt I needed to get my point across and show I wanted that more than to be filling up a space here.

“But I am glad I stayed with it and the club stayed with me. Marcel has always shown faith in me. I concentrate on myself and those are things I should be doing as a given."

“I have worked really hard on the defensive side of my game since I started at Everton. I always felt I had ability on the ball, it was the defensive side I wanted to improve. It is pleasing people are starting to notice that side of my game.

“I see myself as a ball-playing center-half but with a lot of those types of players, it is easy to say, ‘He's good on the ball but can't defend'. “That followed me around in my early years. It is something I've worked really hard on, so people couldn't level that at me.

“The first job is defending and you have to nail down that part of your game before you can play.”  

Reader Comments (51)

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Darren Hind
1 Posted 04/08/2020 at 15:11:52
Paul Tran
2 Posted 04/08/2020 at 15:13:40
and leader, strong character, standard-bearer and future captain.
Paul Tran
3 Posted 04/08/2020 at 15:22:23
One of the things that most annoyed about Koeman was that I think he decided to let Stones go after Holgate's excellent performance at Old Trafford and he then dropped Mason the moment he made a mistake. The kid had to go to WBA to get games and still struggled to get picked by Silva.

Interesting and significant that Carlo picks him whenever he's fit.

Jay Harris
4 Posted 04/08/2020 at 15:33:41
I believe Mason has come on leaps and bounds the last 2 years no doubt helped by some confidence boosting by the much maligned Marcel Brands.

He was not ready 2 years ago but is now showing his class and maturity.

Joe McMahon
5 Posted 04/08/2020 at 15:40:31
Jay, the loan at WBA helped (a top team), and I feel loans to the championship are better for players development for many Academy players. Playing in competitive games.
Brian Harrison
6 Posted 04/08/2020 at 15:51:51
Mason has been terrific and has been one of the success stories, and if he keeps progressing he will get a call up to the England squad. I think he really benefited from his loan spell at WBA, he was playing regularly and some of the forwards in the Championship can be a right handful.

I think some other of our young players may have benefited like Mason if they had gone on loan to a Championship team. It's very hard for young players in Premier League clubs as they usually only get a limited amount of chances to impress; it's far easier to drop a youngster than an established or expensive player.

I noticed a few of our Under 23 players are 21 to 23 and for me, these lads should be loaned out if they aren't making the first-team squad on a regular basis. Certainly hasn't done Mason any harm nor did it do any harm to Leon Osman and Beckham. So going out on loan shouldn't be viewed as a backward step, but as another course of the player's development.

Colin Glassar
7 Posted 04/08/2020 at 16:05:28
The only bright spot in a very dark season.
Fran Mitchell
8 Posted 04/08/2020 at 16:25:18
Interesting is that, had Michael Keane not been so god awful under Silva, then Holgate just may have left on loan for West Brom or another Championship team.

We'd have then sold him this summer for £2 million or so and everyone on here would be like 'he got his chance, not took it' 'too lightweight to be a Premier League defender' ' not good enough, move on' bla bla bla

Just shows what happens if players are given a real chance.

Shame about Vlasic, Lookman, Robinson, Dowell, and countless other quite obviously talented youngsters we've had who were never given a fair shot whilst persisting with the crap seniors who continuously let us down.

James Newcombe
9 Posted 04/08/2020 at 16:37:52
Fran, Vlasic is one who we will be really kicking ourselves over.
Jack Convery
10 Posted 04/08/2020 at 16:38:10
My player of the season. I've liked him since his spat with Firmino at Mordor. He stood up to the whole of the RS hoard that night, despite the ref siding with Firmino. Anyone who gives a two fingered salute to that lot his fine by me. We need more with his strong mentality and desire to compete and not be intimidated.
Steve Ferns
11 Posted 04/08/2020 at 16:46:51
I think some have forgotten that in Koeman’s first season, Seamus Coleman suffered that nasty injury and Mason ended up playing the second half of the season at right back. This was also the strongest period of that season.

The next season he was mainly on the bench as Koeman preferred Cuco, then he got into the team for unsworth’s last game and allardyce then kept the same team and he had a run at centre back. Allardyce then dropped him at the end of January although he had a knock.

Under marco Silva he played the first five league games, but was dropped after the West Ham defeat at home. He’d come on as sub when jagielka was sent off and then had a variety of partners before Silva went with Keane and Zouma, once they were both fit. Holgate was then loaned to West Brom in January, where he operated entirely on the right, even playing in midfield a couple of times.

So he has been shunted around in different positions and with differing partners and then discarded by managers in favour of their favourites, but yet whenever he did get a run, it usually coincided with the team having a good run of form, and yet he was often the first one discarded.

I like Mason a lot. I think the elite will circle for him soon. I hope he recognises that Everton have been loyal to him, even if the managers have not.

John Botham
12 Posted 04/08/2020 at 17:00:40
Hmm, I managed to see Mason play a couple of games when he was on loan at WBA. He played both as a wing back and even there he was bullied in the air at times. Granted he's done so well since his return but I don't think being a centre back in a back four plays to his strengths. Maybe in a back three or one of a five midfield. I suppose it all depends how Carlo will set out his (hopefully) new team!
Dave Williams
13 Posted 04/08/2020 at 17:31:47

He has filled out and toughened up since then. Class player and should be made skipper now.

Bill Watson
14 Posted 04/08/2020 at 17:37:43
Fran; Dowell was loaned out to Notts Forest, Derby County, Sheffield Utd and Wigan A.

He did reasonably well at Forest but was sent back by Sheffield Utd. At Derby, he started the first eight or so games but then lost his place and they sent him back to Finch Farm.

He was injured at Wigan but the lockdown gave him time to get fit and he finished the season strongly, in a side which was in a good run of form.

A player we all had high hopes for but who really failed to grasp the chances given to him. I wish him well at Norwich.

Just heard Wigan have lost their appeal. What an injustice that is!

John Boon
15 Posted 04/08/2020 at 17:46:50
I was impressed by his attitude and his general play. I also feel he has matured and could be the answer to right-back, particularly if we sign another centre-back. Last season, he was the only defender who seemed capable of bringing the ball out from the back.
Mike Gaynes
16 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:36:04
James #9, Robinson too, mark my words.

Fran #8, not sure I'd put Lookman and Dowell in that category. Thought they both had their chances. I was a huge Lookman booster, but the kid just never stepped up... and still hasn't since he was sold.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:45:16
I like Mason and I think he is the best centre-back on the books at the moment, should save us a lot of money or make us plenty.

Bill (14), i think it is a complete injustice that Wigan have been relegated and Sheffield Wednesday's 12-point deduction has been transferred to next season.

Why can't Wigan fight their case in a proper court of justice instead of the lopsided justice meted out by the Football League? It stinks to high heaven.

Wigan should be backed by every club in the Football League, this injustice could happen to them very soon.

Tony Everan
18 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:46:26
We are bogged down with constant analysis of players we shouldn’t have signed, so when a diamond like Mason Holgate comes along it gives everyone a buzz.

He is right at the start of his prime career and will need support and encouragement through one or two bad days. Now he has signed his long term contract he will be one of the players Everton’s future will be built around. He has got the potential to be one of the best defenders in the Premier League in a couple of years time.

I think he will be the next Everton captain lift a trophy. I am getting carried away but I can see it in my imagination now, him walking up the steps and thrusting a cup into the air.

Mike Gaynes
19 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:50:40
Disappointed for Wigan but not surprised at all. Paul Cook must have been tipped to this outcome -- doubt he would have resigned unless he knew the relegation would be confirmed.
Stephen Vincent
20 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:57:19
Anyone know what happened to that young winger we signed from QPR 3 or 4 years ago. Supposed to be the next big thing, we apparently fought off all the big boys to get his signature.

Disappeared with out trace, and now I am ashamed to say I can't even remember his name. Finch Farm really is like the Bermuda triangle at times.

Sam Hoare
21 Posted 04/08/2020 at 18:59:01
Stephen, do you mean Josh Bowler? he was on loan at Hull last season. Was doing okay till he got injured and then barely featured after that. I don't see him making the step up at this point.
Peter Neilson
22 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:04:37
Mike (19) likewise, not surprised. The very authority that lets a dodgy takeover take place then has to show itself following some kind of due process. The guardians of the game are a disgrace.
Christy Ring
23 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:20:00
Hope he comes back fit, and ready for the new season. One of the few bright spots from this season.

I'm still shocked at what happened at Wigan, and losing Paul Cook, a double whammy. I still don't understand why the owners didn't wait until the season was finished, before going into administration. Staying in the Championship was a must.

Jerome Shields
24 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:29:58
Mason put in an outstanding performance way back in the League Cup, with stats that were superior to both Mina and Keane. He has continued to put in such performances.

He had to be a good footballer to survive the managers we have had, so no wonder when he is given a chance he is so good.

Will Mabon
25 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:48:14
Mike and Peter, Nos. 19 & 22:

What has happened to Wigan is disgraceful. It not so indirectly implies that "Business" and money will always prevail ultimately, win or lose, with sport, club, and local people taking the rap.

The whole concept of points-docked-for-administration has always seemed too broad-brush and simplistic, with an automatic default to doing the very worst thing in the circumstance, and punishing large numbers of wholly innocent people.

Best of luck to all involved at Wigan.

Stephen Vincent
26 Posted 04/08/2020 at 19:52:42
Thanks Sam, should have remembered really. Glad to hear he is still on the books.

Watching the playoff final, several candidates for consideration from either side, especially from Brentford's attack.

Danny O’Neill
27 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:04:55
Refreshing and wise words from the young man. Sees himself as a ball playing centre-back yet acknowledged that defending had to become his priority. You win your battle to earn the right to play, as they say.

And hopefully signs that Brands believes in the academy. That strategy combined with hopefully a more targeted transfer policy will hopefully be our way forward. Being fair to him, I'd argue his first 2 years have been taken up way too much with how to offload the deadwood.

Hugh Jenkins
28 Posted 04/08/2020 at 20:59:49
Christy (23) - I understand that the reason that the owners didn't wait for the Administration is that they (or he) had placed a very substantial bet in Hong Kong along the lines that Wigan would be relegated.

How much truth there is in that, I don't know – but clearly the "Fit and proper person test" has failed abysmally here.

Both the EFL and EPL need to put their house in order on that front, before they start deducting points from clubs that are innocent but owners who are not.

It looks like the only thing that stopped the Saudi takeover of Newcastle was that the EPL prevaricated so much the Saudi's lost patience and pulled out.

Certainly it wasn't because the EPL thought that they were not "Fit and Proper".

Bill Watson
29 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:00:23
There are rumours that the Wigan situation was caused by a bet that a solvent club/business couldn't be acquired and immediately be put into administration.

Derek Knox
30 Posted 04/08/2020 at 21:49:24
I think we all love Mason, but it must be hard playing alongside players who don't have the same desire and the want to do well for the Club who, basically is employing him.

It also seems apparent that he knows how we fans feel about Everton and, although he is not Liverpool-based from birth (as I am not myself), I believe he understands what it is that we want, and is expected from any player who signs for us!

Long may it continue!

David Chait
31 Posted 04/08/2020 at 22:10:28
My player of the season... another example of a youngster having to wait for an injury to get a proper chance and outshining the established players from the first minute!

Why can there not be a deliberate effort to start games for the youth players. Anyway... made up for him.. he is genuine top quality!

Justin Doone
32 Posted 04/08/2020 at 23:25:35
A lot of young players get their chances because of bad luck / injury to other players.

In this case, it proved to be Everton's good luck. I hope he himself can stay injury-free and play well in the first team.

These are crucial years for any young player. Proving they have talent, they have the maturity and understanding of what's expected, and then putting it all together on a consistent basis.

Holgate has knuckled down and learnt to defend. Long may it continue. He now needs a better partner, Mina is too injury prone to be reliable and Keane can head the ball but he is far too slow to play how Carlo wants to play.

Bill Watson
33 Posted 05/08/2020 at 02:11:53
Danny #27,

I agree that Brands's preoccupation, in the time he's been here, must have been trying to offload the fringe players and outright dead wood and he's due a bit of slack just for that. On the debit side some of the incoming players have left a bit to be desired (to say the least)!

Fourteen (excluding Baines) have already gone in the last five weeks and, whilst we haven't received much in the way of transfer fees, it's freed up a considerable amount off the wages bill.

Terence Leong
34 Posted 05/08/2020 at 04:55:21
I'm glad that Holgate has broken through the "promise" dimension, as it looks like he'll kick on and develop.

It's probably difficult for anyone to know with certainty how players will develop. Cristiano Ronaldo was looking to be just another flashy player without end product, after being inconsistent for a couple of years. He was with Man Utd for about 6 years, and he only exploded in the last three years.

So, how long should one persist with young players, it's really hard to say; it'll always be a judgement call. Then there are those who seemed to have broken through, seemingly established, but then probably hit their peak. Another youth player then in Man Utd was this Luke Chadwick bloke. Seemed to have broken through, but was soon out of the door.

This season, Calvert-Lewin and Holgate have kicked on in a more sustained manner. Davies seems to be stuck, or unsure how he wants to develop his style. Next season might be make-or-break for Davies. For Davies, I think it's less of a positional dilemma, but him deciding what's the best style; he can't do the long raking passes; he can't thread the throughball, nor can he run with the ball at pace.

He's better off "passing and moving", keep the ball going, and then run to receive it back. That can be done, regardless of whether he is playing the holding midfield role or the attacking midfield. Whenever he holds the ball, or tries to bring the ball up, that's where he gets into trouble.

He'll be, 22 or 23 years by then? Still not too late, but time is indeed running out.

Back to Holgate. To make him the mainstay, and rotate Mina, Keane & Branthwaite. A three at the back could be another option, at least to make provision for more opportunities for Branthwaite, who looks composed enough to kick on.

Terry McLavey
35 Posted 05/08/2020 at 08:49:38
A true blue, proud of the shirt he wears – and it shows!
Steve Brown
36 Posted 05/08/2020 at 10:12:02
Mason has character and ability.
Steve Brown
37 Posted 05/08/2020 at 10:14:05
Just shows what we can achieve if we nurture young talent rather than slaughter them.
Paul Jones
38 Posted 05/08/2020 at 11:36:19
Last season, he was our most consistent defender and looked better than those bought to play in midfield when used in that position.
Bobby Mallon
39 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:10:16
Fran at @8 well said. Most on here would have said Fabio Cannavaro wasn't big enough for our team and he was one of the best ever central defenders at 5-ft 8-in or 1.75 m in new money.
Bobby Mallon
40 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:23:52
Bill Watson @14. Dowell wasn't given any playing time at Everton –that's the point. If Mason had not been dropped by managers as Steve ferns mentioned then he would have been a mainstay earlier.

If Dowell had been played instead of Schneiderlin & Siggy he probably would also be a mainstay because he would have worked even harder to get into and stay in the team he was an Everton boy.

Kevin Prytherch
41 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:36:45
Mason shows why we should persist with younger signings.

We will always buy some who probably won't make it, such as Bowler and Adeniran, but they are heavily outweighed by prospects such as Branthwaite and Gibson, and those who could, or do, rake in a fortune such as Holgate, Calvert-Lewin or Stones.

I'd rather waste a few million on a youngster who didn't quite make it, than millions in transfer fees and wages for so-called experienced professionals.

Robert Tressell
42 Posted 05/08/2020 at 13:48:26
Kevin P – totally agree. The loans of Bowler probably mitigate the purchase price too – and we might get a few quid if we sell. Same for Adeniran. It is so low risk – with very high upside. Once someone has played and handled a few Premier League games they become worth £5m to £10m at least.
Kristian Boyce
43 Posted 05/08/2020 at 15:32:20
When we first signed Holgate, I remember there was a quote from the Barnsley youth team manager due to us buying Mason and Stones within a few years of each other. It basically said that Holgate was a far greater prospect than Stones and would be a better all round player too.

I remember laughing at the time as this was when Stones was just breaking into the England team and we had just signed Mason, who, let's be honest, was a bit of a scrawny player who was pushed to play mainly as a right-back.

It's a little ironic now as Holgate is pretty much our best centre-back and touted for an England call up and Stones is in a slight wilderness domestically and internationally.

Dave Southword
44 Posted 05/08/2020 at 17:48:37
@Bobby 40 - I think Dowell’s problem was his work rate and aggressiveness. There’s no reason to think that he would suddenly step up once in the team if he wasn’t doing it day in day out at training or when on loan.

A young player often needs a lucky break, like Mason with the injury to Mina. It is then up to them to make themselves an essential pick. But they first need to show up in training. I’m guessing that is why Dowell was ignored by various managers.

Paul Whittaker
47 Posted 06/08/2020 at 20:22:49
Brands and Everton got very lucky with Holgate this season. If the club had managed to buy Zouma as intended, Holgate would have got a fraction of the games he did this season.

Due to circumstance, he got a run of games in the premiership for the first time in his career and guess what. a young English lad shows himself to be a far better player and mentally stronger player than the top 6 rejects we typically end up over-paying for.

Nothing against Zouma, but in a Chelsea shirt he looks like a player that shouldn't be there. We won't progress to the level we want to, if we keep buying cast-offs. Buy big time and promote youngsters is the way forward.

Paul Jones
48 Posted 06/08/2020 at 00:01:00
I am always wary of dealings with Man Utd because our history is to sell them a prized asset and lighten their squad of unwanted players.
Fran Mitchell
49 Posted 07/08/2020 at 09:45:41
Was reading the Guardian's Football League teams of the year.

One name from the League One team stood out: Liam Walsh.

Was very highly rated but never got a chance and was let go. Another to bite us in the arse?

Derek Taylor
50 Posted 07/08/2020 at 10:13:58
Good point, Paul @47.

I've always felt that our own youngsters are playing on ice. One slip and the verdict of 'not good enough' is made and 'out he goes to Brentford'. That judgement of kids applies to fans as well as Brands, I'm afraid.

Contrast that mindset to the tolerance for Kean who has the advantage of being 'foreign' and cost money!

Dave Abrahams
51 Posted 08/08/2020 at 10:47:30
Fran (49), you are correct about Liam Walsh that he never got a chance – never even got on the bench – but we never let him go really.

Liam had a couple of injuries which held him back. Then, his ambition got ahead of his patience and he forced the move to Bristol City. I think we got £2M for him; I couldn't believe we sold him.

I think Liam had gotten very good wages off Birmingham City on loan when Harry Rednapp was manager but Harry was sacked and the new manager never played Liam, so his loan was curtailed. I presume Liam went back on his previous wages at Everton, not sure if that's how it works, and Liam was then on his bike to Bristol.

A bit of patience might have altered Liam's career. It's stalled but I don't think he has seen the last of the Premier League.

Michael Kenrick
52 Posted 08/08/2020 at 11:19:11

Looks like Liam maybe had a better time of it last season, albeit dropping down a tier into League One with Coventry City. He racked up more than 30 starts on loan with them last season and nabbed a few goals to boot!

Whisper it quietly, Dave, cos I know you have something of a soft spot for the lad, but I suspect, sadly, he's a long long way off the Premier League.

Dave Abrahams
53 Posted 08/08/2020 at 11:39:18
Michael (52), do you want a 1p bet on that and I’ll give you odds of a 100/1 !!!

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