'Breath of fresh air' - Exclusive: Whelan drools over Everton player who some 'forgot' about

Noel Whelan revealed he was happy to see Everton defender Mason Holgate seize his opportunity back in the starting XI.

Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Laura O’Leary, the former Leeds United and Coventry City attacker stated that Holgate is a breath of fresh air for Marco Silva’s side.

Holgate made his first Premier League start for Everton since September 2018 against Brighton last weekend after previously being reduced to just cameo appearances in his other two league outings this season.

He then followed up by playing a starring role in last night’s 2-0 League Cup win over Watford, scoring the first goal and playing the full 90 minutes at centre-back.

The versatile defender has made a total of 54 appearances for the Toffees and last night’s strike was his first for the club in senior football.

Whelan shared that Holgate had done well to remain patient and wait for his chance at Goodison Park as some people probably forgot all about him.

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When asked about Holgate making an impressive return to the Everton side, Whelan told Football Insider: “People and good professionals wait and bide their time and you have to be patient sometimes.

“And he has done that and some people probably forgot all about him, but he has come back into a struggling Everton side and he has been a breath of fresh air in that role up and down the wing.

“It’s nice to see him back as he has been given an opportunity.”

Holgate spent his 2018/19 campaign on loan with West Bromwich Albion and helped the Championship side reach the play-offs by featuring 19 times for them in England’s second-tier.

The 23-year-old, who can play both right-back and centre-back, has been at the Toffees since joining from Barnsley in 2015 and is contracted to stay at the club until 2022.

In other Everton news, Danny Mills is confident that Silva will soon be axing one Toffees player with his superior teammate closing in on match fitness.