Proud Matthew Pennington declared it “a very exciting time to be Blue” after signing a new contract at Everton until June 2019.
The defender has fought back from a long-term hamstring injury to start the Club’s past two games against Liverpool and Manchester United, netting his first Toffees goal in an eventual 3-1 defeat at Anfield.
A stand-out performer for Everton’s title-chasing Under-23s since returning from his spell on the sidelines at the turn of the year, the Warrington-born 22-year-old is now hoping to become a first-team regular at Goodison Park.
“I’m delighted to extend my stay here and hopefully I can try to cement a place in the first-team now,” he told evertontv. “It’s a very exciting time to be Blue. We’ve got a new manager, new players, young players coming through and it’s a great place to be.
“I’m proud every time I wear the blue shirt and go out in front of the fans to play for Everton. That’s been my aim since I came to the Club as a young boy and hopefully I can get many more chances to do that.”
Having had loan spells at Tranmere Rovers and Coventry City earlier in his career, Pennington’s Everton debut arrived in April last year when he started a 2-1 home win over Bournemouth.
A further three run-outs followed before the end of the campaign, and the fit-again centre-back admits it’s a relief to now be able to pick up where he left off.
“The aim was always to try to get back in the first team but it does make it a bit harder if a manager doesn’t know you because you can’t impress anyone from the treatment room.
“I’ve just worked hard every day to get back to full fitness and I’m just happy to now get my chance again.
“I’ve been playing Under-23s games but there’s a big contrast between those and the first team. I’m just looking to get back to my top level and hopefully I can keep on playing and performing.
“It was a very difficult period when I was out and you always start questioning whether you can get back to full fitness, get back to a good level of playing and it’s a tough time, any player with a long-term injury will tell you that.
“Thankfully, I’ve seen the back of that now and come back, I think, stronger and fitter.”