We may only be two games into pre-season, but one player to have grasped his opportunity of first team football is Luke Garbutt. The 20-year-old left back has seized the chance presented by Leighton Baines’ extended World Cup rest and Bryan Oviedo’s continued rehabilitation, to impress Roberto Martinez and the watching Evertonians and the England u21 international is now on the verge of a breakthrough season.
Garbutt’s energetic displays and excellent delivery have been reminiscent of Leighton Baines and the Blues certainly look to have a natural successor to the England left back within their own ranks. Garbutt is everything that Martinez looks for in a full back and his ability to deliver in and around the opposition penalty area will make him a fans favourite. Like Baines, Garbutt has fantastic ability with a dead ball and it was pleasing to see him have the confidence to take free kicks on the edge of the penalty area against Tranmere Rovers and Leicester City.
Garbutt will certainly have his work cut out to force his way into the starting line-up for the beginning of the season, but he has already recognised that the additional games generated by the Blues qualification for the Europa League will present him with an excellent opportunity to build on his Premier League debut, which arrived in the dying minutes at Southampton in April.
Garbutt is certainly one for the future, but his progression over the last 12 months has placed him at the front of the queue to make the step from the u21 set-up and into the first team.