Why Matthew Pennington’s Loan Move To Leeds United Is Perfect For All The 3 Parties Involved
Everton centre-back Matthew Pennington has joined Leeds United on a season-long loan deal. The former England under-19 international, now 22, has made 9 first team appearances for the Toffees since graduating from their renowned academy. The defender, who managed to score in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool in April, has previously spent time on loan at Coventry City, Tranmere Rovers and Walsall, all at League One level.
Following the end of the loan deal for popular centre-back Kyle Bartley, Pennington will provide competition for Liam Cooper and Pontus Jansson, and appears to have given Thomas Christiansen the strength in depth he needs in that position.
Amazingly, Pennington becomes the Yorkshire side’s 10th summer signing after the deals for Ezgjan Alioski, Vurnon Anita, Caleb Ekuban, Madger Gomes, Matuesz Klich, Hadi Sacko, Samu Saiz, goalkeeper Felix Wiedwald and of course, the permanent signing of Pontus Jansson included.
Pennington is still seen as a viable option for Everton in the Premier League one day, so needs this sort of crucial experience in order to come back to the club as a more rounded centre-back. Given Leeds’ apparent squad improvement, they may yet challenge for a top six place minimum and this will give Pennington exactly what he needs to improve.
Having done that, whether or not he returns as a regular in the Everton XI is by now open to debate but even if he doesn’t, there will be a Premier League place for him somewhere if he does well at the top end of the Championship.
For Leeds’ part, they knew it was absolutely crucial that they were able to replace Kyle Bartley after the on-loan Swansea man had a stormer of a season next to Jansson. True, before Liam Cooper’s long ban at the back end of the season the centre-back partnership had become a three-way fight. But with Pennington on the scene now, Cooper cannot be sure of a spot in the first XI.
Because of this, he will no doubt work all the more hard to improve and that will equally be the case with Pennington. Putting players of a similar quality up against each other definitely brings the best out of both, especially if they are young and hungry enough. So this deal looks perfect for everyone involved.
Pennington’s rise through the ranks has not been as quick as some, but given his stature and the position that he plays in, this is no surprise and he is very much still learning his trade.