Pennington: My Aim is to Play as Well as I Can and See Where That Takes Me
Monday, 10th Sep 2018 16:37
Defender Matthew Pennington intends to use his season-long loan with Town to the mutual benefit of all parties.
His main aim is to return to parent club Everton a better player for the experience, having not only played his part in taking Town up the Championship table but also enhancing his own prospects of being able to command a place in the Toffees’ first team.
Pennington, who has previously been on loan at Tranmere, Coventry, Walsall and Leeds, where he made 24 appearances in the Championship last season, has also clocked up seven games for Everton, including a place in the starting line-up for a Merseyside derby clash at Liverpool.
Everton lost that one 3-1 but Pennington had the not insignificant consolation of netting his side’s goal at Anfield and three days later he appeared off the bench at Old Trafford as the Toffees earned a point courtesy of a 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
Pennington, who impressed on his Blues debut in the recent 1-1 home draw with Norwich, said: “I hope to go back to Everton a better player. That’s one thing I want to achieve as a result of going out on loan and even if my future isn’t going to be at Everton, if I improve as a player it could lead to me moving somewhere else and that would be brilliant.
“It seems to be the way it works these days with young players at the Premier League clubs. You get your experience, improve and show people what you’re made of through going out on loan.
“You also put yourself in the market, really, and I’ve moved up the ranks a bit since I first went out on loan to Tranmere four or five years ago.
“It’s very tough for a young boy at a Premier League club to get the opportunities and then to stay in the first team, especially when managers are changing a lot.
“Each time the manager changes you not only have to impress him but a new set of staff as well. You know you’re not going to be the first one they look to if they want to improve the team because they’ve got lots of money to spend on new signings.
“All of that makes it really tough for young players like me and that’s why you don’t see many youngsters getting in the team and staying there.
“The only way you can gain experience and try to show your worth is by going out on loan, or if you are playing for a lower league club and you happen to catch their eye and they sign you.
“I think it’s very true that you have to be a strong character if you are moving round the country on loan here and there. But, thinking about it, it’s also a great life experience to go somewhere new, settle in for a year or less and then go back to your club.
“It’s brilliant for a young lad like me but it’s also tough being away from your family at the other end of the country. That’s a side of the game, I guess, that people don’t always see.”
Pennington’s return to pre-season training with Everton coincided with him signing a new contract to keep him there until 20121 but he added: “It’s nice to have that security but I still don’t know what is going to happen.
“My aim is to play as well as I can here and we’ll have to wait and see where that takes me. The new manager at Everton [Marco Silva] hasn’t spoken with me but I’m really happy to be here and looking forward to playing some more games.
“All my loan spells have been very important in terms of getting me out there, getting games and improving my all-round game. I’ve used the loan system to improve, like a lot of players do, because it means playing in proper competitive football.
“I can honestly say I’ve enjoyed each of the loan moves I have made. I see it as character building as well. You have to grow up because you’re in a new town or city and it’s all part of the process.”
Pennington recalled how he came to join his parent club almost 13 years ago. “I was playing for Warrington Town and when I was about 11 I got picked up by Everton,” he added.
“My coach at Warrington was also an Everton scout so he sent me down there after I’d had a few good performances and I’ve not looked back.
“I used to play central midfield a little bit but as soon as I joined Everton they put me in the defence. I guess it was because of my ability to stop opponents.
“I know Warrington gets described as a rugby league town but where I live, on the Liverpool side, it’s more football based. It has always been football for me.
“I’ve no idea how it’s going to work out at Goodison. I just want to play games at the moment, so hopefully I will do that here – and enjoy my time with Ipswich – and then we’ll see what’s next.
“It’s a bit different being a player who regularly goes out on loan. For a start, you don’t know where you’re going to be all the time.
“There’s a bit of uncertainty about reporting back for pre-season training because you don’t know if you’ll be leaving or staying.
“But once the decision is made it makes things a lot easier and you get on with moving and settling in at your loan club.
“Now that I know I’m an Ipswich player for the season I can focus on that and put all my efforts into helping the club get results.
“I know I can’t take anything for granted as I only played against Norwich because Toto Nsiala was suspended.
“But competition for places is very healthy for teams and for performances. The decision is up to the manager but whether I start a game or come off the bench, I’ll always give my all.”
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