By Guy Giles
Leeds defender Matthew Pennington has said his loan move from Everton was the perfect move for him as he looks to gain experience, and remained bullish in the face of criticism after their 2-1 loss to Sheffield United.
Pennington secured a year-long loan move from parent club Everton in July, and made his debut for the club in their 3-2 opening win against Bolton Wanderers.
Unfortunately the young defender also suffered an ankle injury in that match, and then struggled to force his way back into the team until recently.
Pennington’s return to fitness has coincided with the drop in form of Pontus Jansson, and the Swede was dropped in favour of the youngster for Leeds 2-1 defeat to the Blades.
The two now look likely to start alongside each other as Leeds welcome Derby to Elland Road on Tuesday night, with captain Liam Cooper out with a dead leg.
In an interview with BBC Radio Leeds, Pennington was asked if his move to Leeds was the right decision, and he replied: “Yeah, definitely. It’s a place I can play games and gain experience. It’s a massive club for me, and it’s a brilliant place to play football. So its perfect for me.”
He also thinks there’s a lot to come from him.
“I don’t think I’m near my best yet, I’m only 23, I’m a young centre-half, I’ve got a lot to learn and a lot to improve on but hopefully I can do that with Leeds.”
Pennington has seen his Leeds side play some of the most exciting football in the Championship this season, but also produce some poor displays. They lie in fifth with 23 points from 14 games, but have lost five matches, higher than any other team in the top eight.
But Pennington remains unworried about his side’s form: “I think if you look at our position in the table now, it’s a good position to be in, a strong position. I think the only reason [for the criticism] is because the form of late hasn’t been as good as the form at the start of the season.”
When asked what his ambitions were, Pennington replied: “To get promotion with Leeds this season, that’s my ambition.”
In other Leeds United news, a key defender has been ruled out of their clash with Derby through injury.