Football - Stock - Season 03/04 - 4/2/04 David Unsworth - Everton Mandatory Credit : Action Images / Richard Heathcote

By Amir Mir

Everton academy coach David Unsworth has confirmed that the club have “spoken” about sending youngster Matthew Pennington out on loan during the January transfer window.

A final decision will be made at the end of the month about whether the defender should find a new club for the remainder of the campaign.

Centre-back Pennington has been out injured for the majority of this campaign with a hamstring injury and only recently returned to action.

The 22-year-old played 45 minutes for the under-23s as they beat Sunderland 1-0 in a Premier League 2 encounter on Sunday.

Pennington made his Premier League debut for the club last April, playing at the heart of the club’s defence and at right-back.

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He went on to play four consecutive games during that time, including playing the last game of the 2015/16 season where the Toffees beat relegated Norwich 3-0 at home.

Now, club legend Unsworth has given his perspective of what lies ahead for the highly-rated Pennington.

“We’ve got to tread very carefully with him,” Unsworth told the club’s official website. “We’ve spoken about a loan but it’s something we are going to have to discuss right at the death in the transfer window. Because he’s had such a horrendous injury, we have to treat him with kid gloves at the moment in terms of minutes.

“We just have to go softly-softly with him for the next three or four weeks. If it means he doesn’t go out on loan, he’ll certainly be ready in a couple of months for hopefully our first team.

“I’m hoping that he can show the manager and first-team staff what he’s all about.”

All in all, Pennington has featured on six occasions for Everton, helping them secure two clean sheets in the process.

He has played for the likes of Tranmere, Walsall and Coventry in recent seasons as another loan spell could be on the cards.

All those matches took place in League One where he made 46 appearances overall, scoring two goals and supplying the same amount of assists.

For the under-23 side, he has played 39 games as the Merseyside club are next in action against Rochdale on Wednesday afternoon.

In other Everton transfer news, the Telegraph have claimed that the Toffees have been tipped to sign the darling of Swansea.

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