Premier League • England

‘As long as Dyche is there’ – Star has played his last game for Everton amid savage manager ruling

Mason Holgate and Alex Iwobi, Everton

Defender Mason Holgate will not play for Everton again as long as Sean Dyche is manager at Goodison Park, according to one former England international.

Holgate has been on Everton’s books since August 2015, when the Toffees paid around £1million to sign him from Barnsley. Since then, the centre-half – who can also play as a right-back – has made 149 appearances for Everton, chipping in with five goals and five assists. He also spent the second half of the 2018-19 campaign on loan at West Bromwich Albion, for whom he played 23 times.

Holgate fell down the pecking order at Everton last term, playing in just nine games after making 29 appearances the previous campaign.

Dyche prefers to use other centre-backs such as James Tarkowski, Michael Keane and Jarrad Branthwaite, which forced Holgate to consider his options over the summer.

The 27-year-old eventually landed at Southampton, who are hoping to secure an immediate return to the Premier League following their relegation last season. Given Holgate’s top-flight pedigree, he will have been hoping to force his way into the Saints’ first team.

But Holgate has managed just five Championship outings so far, and has been benched since November 11. When asked about the former England U21 international recently, Southampton boss Russell Martin admitted it has been ‘tough’ leaving him out of the side, with other defenders more deserving of a starting spot.

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Martin was also quizzed about Holgate being sent back to parent club Everton in January. He responded: “There has been no conversation about that as far as I am aware.”

If Holgate were to return to Merseyside, then ex-England and Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Paul Robinson thinks a permanent transfer could occur. That is because Dyche is not going to give him another chance at Everton.

In terms of where Holgate might go next, Rangers, Watford and Middlesbrough were all linked with moves for him earlier this week.

Mason Holgate facing ‘really tough’ situation at Everton

“Looking at it at the moment, Sean Dyche does not see him as part of his squad,” he said in an interview with Football Insider.

“He has huge restrictions over him in the transfer market and it will be difficult.

“But if the manager does not see you as part of the squad, it will be really tough for Holgate.

“He’s not been performing well out on loan and he’s not been good enough to get into Everton’s starting XI.

“If you look at the options they do have – Michael Keane who’s on the bench, Tarkowski who’s the leader.

“With the quality that they have and the job that they’re doing despite all the hardships, it looks like Dyche made the right decision.

“If the club has let him go out on loan, he’s clearly not part of the plans and when you’re not part of a manager’s plans who has so many financial restrictions on him, it’s difficult.

“Holgate’s future looks to be away from Everton for as long as Dyche is there.”

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