It would have been easy for Everton to have parted ways with our young goalkeeper Joao Virginia in the summer.
The Portuguese stopper endured a difficult loan spell in 2019-20. Signed as the first-choice at Championship side Reading he struggled in his first two appearances for the club and soon found himself dropped to the bench after former Brazilian international Rafael’s arrival from Sampdoria.
With the Royals then looking to squeeze in an extra loan player to their matchday squad, Virginia found himself third-choice at the Madejski.
The loan move had clearly turned sour and Everton recalled him in January where he trained regularly with Carlo Ancelotti’s first-team and, clearly, the Italian has been impressed by what he saw.
Virginia was rewarded with a new deal in the summer, keeping him at Everton until 2024, clearly suggesting the club see him as a potential long-term option.
But what the Toffees should do next with Virginia is now up for debate.
He is currently training regularly with Jordan Pickford, Robin Olsen and Jonas Lossl, three international goalkeepers under the tutelage of Alan Kelly.
But he remains third in the pecking order, despite making his debut in the EFL Cup against Salford City in September.
At the moment, he is not even playing regularly with the under-23s, as his first-team duties get in the way.
Much will depend on Lossl. The experienced Dane could seek a move away in January and if he does Virginia will likely remain as third-choice stopper.
If not? Well, then Everton will surely have to consider giving Virginia another chance to show what he can do away from the club on loan.