By Matt Farr
Everton youngster Matthew Pennington has signed a new two-year contract with the club, it has been confirmed.
It was confirmed on the club’s official Twitter account on Saturday morning that the 22-year-old had put pen to paper on a fresh deal that will keep him at Goodison Park until June 2019.
— Everton (@Everton) April 8, 2017
Pennington had just a year left to run on his current deal, and has been rewarded by Everton manager Ronald Koeman for his hard work within the first team squad in recent weeks.
The deal was also confirmed on Everton’s club website, with the defender also having been an influential figure for the Under 23 side in Merseyside.
Injuries to first team duo Seamus Coleman and Ramiro Funes Mori has handed Pennington a rare opportunity in the first team squad this month, and he has appeared in their last two matches.
He was handed a starting role for the Merseyside derby clash with Liverpool, capping his first senior appearance of the season with a goal.
He then came off the bench during the 1-1 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford three days later.
But he could return to the starting eleven to face Leicester on Sunday with ever-present centre-back Ashley Williams suspended.
Football Insider verdict
The timing of the deal for Pennington comes as little shock, as he has seized his opportunity in recent weeks to prove his worth to the first team squad. Time will still tell as to if he can become a long term asset to the club, but he at least has another year to do so. With Williams, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka all over the age of 30, Koeman will be looking for younger faces to forge a partnership in his Everton defence in the long-term, and Pennington will be keen to make his case to the Toffees boss in the coming weeks. If he can force his way into a key position in the defence ahead of next season, he could stand a strong chance of becoming an ever bigger hit at the club.
In other Everton transfer news, the club are reportedly interested in a Sassuolo wonderkid.