Holgate has big quality for a young player - Koeman


Everton have unearthed another defensive gem in the form of Mason Holgate, with Ronald Koeman hailing the youngster's "big quality" after starring in Saturday's 1-0 win against Stoke City.

Shay Given's own goal settled the match after a Leighton Baines penalty rebounded in off the head of the unlucky goalkeeper, but Koeman was pleased with how his team defended.

The Dutchman picked out 19-year-old Holgate, who joined the club from Barnsley in 2015 to follow the path previously walked by John Stones, for special praise after he won his individual battle with Stoke's dangerous attacker Marko Arnautovic.

"It's very positive how Mason Holgate is doing, how he is developing himself and the game time he is getting," Koeman told Everton's official website.

"He was part of the good defensive organisation. [Holgate] has big quality for a young player. It looks like he's very comfortable on the pitch.

"Of course, he has the confidence of the manager and the rest of the players - but you need to perform on the pitch and he's doing that.

"If you play against Marko Arnautovic, it's difficult for a defender because he's a good player. But I didn't see Arnautovic - and that's a big, big compliment for Holgate."

Holgate has been named in the England Under-21 squad for an upcoming European Championships qualifier against Norway and is also delighted with his progress.

"I'm loving it, I'm just happy to be playing," Holgate said. 

"It's what I hoped to do when I came here and for it be happening now is brilliant.

"It was tough game [against Stoke]. They are a physical team.

"At one point I thought it might just not happen because we had a couple of chances but fortunately we got the goal and then I thought we defended well."