Everton emerging talent makes bold claim for next season, shares verdict on final fixtures
By Danny Wright
Everton youngster Mason Holgate believes that his club should be aiming to qualify for the Champions League next season.
The Toffees look set to qualify for the Europa League in what has been an impressive campaign for Ronald Koeman’s side, but Holgate, 20, has higher expectations.
Everton haven’t played in Europe’s most prestigious competition since the 2005/06 season when they were knocked out at the third qualifying round after two 2-1 defeats to Spanish club Villarreal.
It’s a bold claim given that competition at the top is hotter than ever, with Tottenham threatening to gatecrash the regular top-four spots.
Plus, the future of star players Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley, are unknown at the moment, with Lukaku looking increasingly likely to leave in the summer.
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Everton’s emerging talent also wants to see his side finish the season well, despite continental qualification being all-but assured.
The Merseyside club will qualify for next season’s Europa League if the current top seven sides stay within the top seven.
“I think we should be aiming for Champions League next season,” said Holgate, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
“It would obviously be massive for the club [to play in the Europa League]. It’s a massive club and that’s where we feel like we should be playing, in Europe.
“It’s something we’re definitely aiming for and, with a strong end to the season, it’s something we’re hoping we get.”
Holgate has made 17 appearances for Everton across all competitions this season, providing one assist.
Since Seamus Coleman suffered a horrific leg break last month, Holgate has made the right-back role his own in the last five Premier League matches.