By Guy Giles
Everton youngster Mason Holgate has opened up about the influence that caretaker manager David Unsworth has had on his development.
Unsworth has made the step up from being the Toffees’ U23 coach to caretaker manager since the sacking of Ronald Koeman, and Holgate has revealed the improvements Unsworth helped him make while playing in the youth setup.
The young defender has now played 30 times for the Everton senior side, including nine appearances this term, and is one of many young stars being given a chance at Goodison Park.
In an interview with Sky Sports, Holgate said: “At the time I was really focused on what I was doing on the ball. [Unsworth] has helped me a lot with the defensive side of the game and my positioning.
“That was something we worked on in my first year and it helped me a lot going into my second year. He broke it all down and got me to focus on what to do without the ball too.
“We looked at my body position in my one-on-one defending and improved my communication as well. It really helped me with my overall game to sort all of that out.”
Caretaker manager Unsworth is well-known within the club for the good work he does with their youth teams, and has been the head coach of their U23s since 2014.
However, the former Everton defender has had a torrid time as caretaker boss this season, overseeing three defeats and exits from the EFL Cup and the Europa League.
A morale-boosting 3-2 comeback win over Watford last time out gave Unsworth his first victory in charge, and he will hope it is enough to secure him the job on a permanent basis.
SkyBet make him the 11/8 second favourite to get the job permanently, with Sam Allardyce the marginal favourite at 6/5.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri has claimed that Unsworth is indeed in the running for the job, but reports also suggest that Moshiri would prefer to bring in one of Europe’s most sought-after coaches.
In other Everton news, the club’s board are reportedly fractured over the right man to take on the manager’s job.