Everton defender Matthew Pennington is intent on earning a regular spot for himself in Grant McCann’s Hull City Championship side after the Tigers were eliminated from the Carabao Cup, as quoted by the official Hull website.
Pennington is struggling to establish his presence at the second-tier outfit after joining McCann’s ranks on loan from Everton in the summer, with his only appearances in Orange and Black coming in the EFL Cup (TransferMarkt).
McCann has not named the 24-year-old in one of his 18-man teamsheets for the Championship since the first weekend of the season, either, when the centre-back was an unused substitute against Reading.
Everton need to see progress by the Warrington-born defender if he is to offer the Blues a future option at centre-half, where Marco Silva is currently thin on alternatives to Yerry Mina and Michael Keane following Kurt Zouma’s return to parent club Chelsea.
Former England U19 international Pennington is not willing to shriek the challenge of dislodging Reece Burke or Jordy de Wijs, though, and feels the Carabao Cup defeat to Preston North End was a step in the right direction.
“The reason for coming here was to try and get some games and that is what I am looking to do,” he said.
“We’ve got some really strong competition for the centre back positions and that is good for everybody. It keeps those that are in the team on their toes, and it means that we push hard to try to win their place.
“I felt I did okay last night but I know that I could have been better. There were some good bits and some bits where I can improve but, having not played much in pre-season, it was good to get 90 minutes in my legs and I can only get better from here.”
Everton must see progress by Pennington while the 24-year-old is at the KCOM Stadium, as the centre-back will be entering the final year of his contract upon returning to Merseyside next summer.
He is yet to put together a case file to warrant his terms being extended, either, as he failed to prevent Ipswich Town from being relegated to the third-tier while on loan with the Tractor Boys last season.
Ipswich ended the campaign with the second-worst goal difference in the division thanks to shipping a near-Championship high 77 goals in 46 games, with Pennington featuring in 30 of those before his term was cut short after rupturing his ankle ligaments in training.
Along with shipping an awful lot of goals, Pennington penned a worse tackle success rate, made fewer clearances and misplaced more short passes per ninety minutes than from his term on loan with Leeds United the season before, according to data collected by WhoScored.
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