This article is part of Football FanCast’s In Numbers series, which takes a statistical look at performances, season-long form and reported transfer targets…
Having barely featured for Everton at the start of the season following a loan spell with West Bromwich Albion in the second half of the 2018/19 campaign, Mason Holgate saw some more regular football under Marco Silva in recent weeks.
Despite starting the disappointing 5-2 defeat against Liverpool in the Portuguese’s last match in charge of the Toffees, the 23-year-old retained his place in the XI under caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson for the visit of Chelsea on Saturday.
Instead of starting as one of three centre-backs like at Anfield, he was chosen to feature alongside Michael Keane in a back four with Yerry Mina absent from the squad in what was his seventh successive time on the team-sheet in the Premier League.
It was also his 60th senior appearance for the club, though he was still yet to really make his mark and convince anyone that he had a big future ahead of him with the Merseyside outfit.
His performance against Frank Lampard’s men suggested he shouldn’t be written off by anyone just yet.
He outshone his more experienced partner in Keane on the day in what was a crucial 3-1 and an improved team showing, performing one particularly brilliant tackle on Christian Pulisic.
According to SofaScore, Holgate won all six of the duels he faced, won five tackles and made three clearances and two blocks.
The 23-year-old clearly showed that he is ready to put his body on the line for his team, and only lost possession on six occasions against the visitors – Keane lost it nine times and only made one tackle in comparison.
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The next stage for the defender is to find that consistency that means he can be a regular member of the starting XI, but the weekend was certainly a very good sign.
He is still young and there may be those odd mistakes here and there in the coming weeks, but perhaps this was a big turning point for Holgate.
With a new manager potentially on the way and little competition in the central defensive positions right now, he looks to be in a great position.
In other Everton news, Toffees fans have been sent into meltdown following Dominic King’s latest tweet about their new manager search…