Matthew Pennington has signed a new three-year deal to keep him at the Club until the summer of 2018.
The Warrington-born defender, who joined the academy aged 11, impressed on loan at Coventry City last season, making 25 appearances for the League One outfit, as well as securing the Sky Blues’ Young Player of the Year award.
Pennington also made two seperate loan spells for Tranmere Rovers in the 2013/14 season, where he scored two goals in 17 appearances.
The 20-year-old, who is equally comfortable at centre-back and right-back, says his temporary spells away from Goodison Park have aided his development.
“’I’m excited to have the opportunity to fulfil my ambition of playing in the first team,” he told evertontv. “It’s obviously a great achievement for myself and my family and I’m really happy to be signing for another three years here.
“I feel like I’ve had a couple of good seasons, with two loans and I feel that has improved me a lot. Every game has helped me because your always learning something new when you’re playing alongside experienced professionals.
“You pick things up in the games and they come thick and fast - it’s a big learning curve.
“Whether I go out on loan again or if I stay around here now, I’m looking to improve and impress.”
Pennington sustained an ankle injury in the closing stages of last season, but, after travelling with David Unsworth’s side to Austria last month, says he is now closing in on full fitness.
“I’m nearly fit now,” he added. “I should be training with the lads in another week. It is a bit frustrating at the moment, watching them train and not being involved but hopefully I’ll be getting stuck in there soon.
“I’ve no doubt I’ll get some pre-season action. Once I’m back in training it might be another two weeks before I’m playing games so I’ll be fit and ready to go for the start of the season.”