Everton’s under-23 side under David Unsworth have found plenty of success in recent years but this season is expected to be a transitional year with plenty of younger talents looking to make their mark.
However, among the teenagers in action regularly for the youngsters, there is currently an experienced Football League star whose time at Everton is surely coming to an end.
Matthew Pennington is now 26-years-old and about to enter the final six months of his contract at Goodison Park. He has been at the club for 15 years, making him the club’s longest-serving player, ahead of club captain Seamus Coleman and the likes of Jonjoe Kenny, Tom Davies, and Callum Connolly.
The defender, who once scored an equaliser in a Merseyside derby back in 2017, signed a new contract at the club in the summer of 2018 which surprised many.
But his form at Leeds the previous season on a loan spell had some convinced he might still make it at Goodison Park. Pennington himself was inspired by the recent successes of under-23 team-mates Kenny and Davies.
“I am delighted with my new contract,” Pennington told evertonfc.com. “This is the Club I have been at since I was a little boy and I am excited to extend my stay here and remain in the royal blue of Everton.
“It’s great to see some of the young lads like Tom Davies and Jonjoe Kenny getting opportunities. These are players who I have come through the ranks with and to see them playing in the first team is great and gives me inspiration.”
Unfortunately for Pennington, that chance never came. He spent the 2018-19 campaign on loan at Ipswich Town and last season he was with Hull City. Both seasons ended in relegation to League One.
After two relegation campaigns on the bounce Pennington struggled to find a new team in the summer and is now a regular in Unsworth’s under-23s, with the sole aim of finding a new club and kick-starting his career.
There is no doubt that Pennington could be a top defender at League One level and certainly offers something to Championship sides.
He just needs that chance. A devout and loyal servant to the School of Science, Pennington can hopefully get his shot elsewhere and become an Everton success story at a new club in 2021.