In the Pipeline: Everton’s World Cup-winning centre-back Lewis Gibson

Things are a bit sticky at Everton in terms of their centre-back situation right now.

Marco Silva has will have just Michael Keane and Yerry Mina as recognised senior centre-backs in the summer. Kurt Zouma will be returning to Chelsea, and it is unlikely that he will be allowed to leave Stamford Bridge judging by Andreas Christensen’s recent revelation.

Additionally, Phil Jagielka contract is set to expire in the summer, and it seems unlikely that the Toffees will offer the 36-year-old a new contract given the fact he has made just three appearances this season.

You could argue that Mason Holgate will be returning from his loan spell, but he appears to be favoured at right-back rather than in the centre of defence.

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In that respect, the Merseysiders should put their £6m investment made back in 2017 to good use.

Everton signed then 17-year-old Lewis Gibson from fellow Premier League side Newcastle for the aforementioned fee, beating off competition from England’s top clubs for the England Under-17 World Cup winner.

He is yet to make an appearance for the first team, but he has been in outstanding form for David Unsworth’s Under-23 side – he was even made captain despite being just 17 years of age.

Back in April of last year, Unsworth said on the teenager: “Lewis Gibson has been outstanding.

“He’s got better and better and better and he’s a natural born leader and he’s been captain for the last couple of games.”

To spend such a large sum on a player as young as Gibson was an extremely bold move, and one that is looking to be an inspired decision judging by his performances.

However, for that sum to be justified, he needs first-team football, and what better time to give it to him other than amidst this tiny crisis in the centre of defence?

He clearly looks like a star of the future. Everton’s track record of promoting young players from the academy – Wayne Rooney, Jack Rodwell, and Ross Barkley spring to mind – suggest that Gibson can become a valued member of the first team; he is a player that appears to be outgrowing the youth ranks, and is in need of that next step.