Everton have today completed the signing of highly rated eighteen year old, Mason Holgate. The former Barnsley player follows the path taken by John Stones in swapping South Yorkshire for Merseyside and will be hoping to make a similarly impressive impact.
Holgate only made his Barnsley first team debut in December last year, playing the full ninety minutes in a 1-1 draw with Doncaster Rovers. So impressive was Holgate he has remained a fixture in the team pretty much since.
Mason Holgate has one goal to his name so far, scoring in the third goal in the Tykes 5-0 win over Rochdale on the last day of the 14/15 season. (See Mason Holgate score for Barnsley in the video below).
The teenager has packed an awful lot into this 22 game professional career, including a straight red card, which he received in the reverse fixture against home town club Doncaster. (Watch the crunching challenge in the video below).
Holgate has played the majority of his professional career at right back but his preferred role is in the centre of the defence and this is where he will expect to play in the longer term. For this season it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him provide cover at right back, especially considering the injury suffered by Tony Hibbert during pre-season, although Ty Browning is also adept in the full back position.
The prodigy has certainly made an impact in his short career, attracting the attention of a number of top clubs. Holgate spent a week with Manchester United earlier in the summer but returned to Oakwell concerned over his long term prospects at Old Trafford, these concerns have only been heightened by United adopting a short term approach to their recruitment under Van Gaal.
United were not the only Premier League club interested, Newcastle had a confirmed interest in the player as did Bournemouth. In fact the South coast side were convinced they were in prime position to complete a deal before Everton and Martinez stole in.
Douglas O’Kane, Sports Editor at the Barnsley Chronicle is full of praise for Holgate.
“Defenders are coached to bring the ball from the back and play the way John (Stones) does. It gets drilled into them from an early age and Mason is the same, very comfortable on the ball and able to play off both feet although he’s naturally right-footed.”
O’Kane went onto say,
“You’d watch him last season and it was crazy to think he was just 18. He was so calm and composed. With a bit of luck and the right coaching he’ll become a top player.”