By Wayne Veysey

22nd Dec, 2017 | 3:20pm

Christiansen makes big admission amid speculation Leeds signing of 23-yr-old on cards

Thomas Christiansen has revealed he is “very happy” with Matthew Pennington as he refused to deny Leeds United want to agree a permanent deal for the on-loan Everton defender.

Football Insider exclusively revealed yesterday (Thursday) that Leeds want to convert the 23-year-old’s loan into a permanent arrangement during the January window.

Pennington joined Leeds on a season-long loan deal in the summer but has a contract at Everton that runs until the summer of 2019.

Speaking today, Christiansen declined to comment on United’s plans but made the telling admission that he is delighted with Pennington’s contribution. “If I say no or if say yes then that will increase the money but I’m very happy with how he’s done until now,” Christiansen said, as quoted by the Yorkshire Evening Post.

“When he has played, and also now when he doesn’t, in training, he’s one of the players that goes up front (at the head of the pack) and always has a smile. He works hard and this is to be appreciated. It’s what builds a good squad.”

Pennington, who can play at right-back as well as centre-back, came through the youth system at Everton and has made nine first-team appearances for the Toffees.

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He has made the same number of appearances for Leeds this season, but has found his path to a regular starting role blocked by first choice centre-back pair Pontus Jansson and skipper Liam Cooper.

At Everton, the emergence of academy products Mason Holgate and Jonjoe Kenny has pushed Pennington further down the pecking order, although it remains to be seen whether Sam Allardyce would like him to return to his parent club in the future.

In other Leeds United transfer news, Football Insider can reveal that Victor Orta has made contact over the January signing of an Eredivisie attacker.

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