Holgate: How Lampard Revived My Everton Career

Mason Holgate is attributing his personal rejuvenation to a show of faith from manager Frank Lampard, who “is a breath of fresh air and gives us the confidence to try things”.

Defender Holgate has played every minute of Lampard’s five matches in charge, extinguishing the 25-year-old’s fears over his Everton future.

The former Barnsley player has made 106 Premier League appearances since joining from Oakwell in August 2015.

He began this campaign on the periphery, starting three league games before December when a return to the side spanned only a trio of successive matches.

Holgate spoke exclusively to Everton’s matchday programme for Thursday’s FA Cup fifth-round tie with Boreham Wood.

He scored in round four – Holgate’s first goal in more than 13 months – as Lampard began his tenure with a 4-1 victory over Brentford.

“To be honest, I’ve not felt that level of confidence in me for a long time,” said Holgate.

“I would never criticise anyone who has been here before, they worked hard and made the decisions they thought were best for the team.

Buy your Everton v Boreham Wood matchday programme here.

“But it goes back to those big parts of my time here when I’ve gone into games thinking, ‘If I don’t get a clean sheet or play out of my skin, I won’t play next week’.

“It’s been a bit more relaxed with this manager, I can play my game, and, hopefully, keep doing well for the team.

Mason Holgate
To have a manager who believes in you, and if you make a mistake, says, ’Keep going, keep going’, rather than, ‘Don’t do that’, is a breath of fresh air and gives us the confidence to try things.

“I feel I have had more support to show what I can do – and consistently playing games in my position is a huge help because I can get settled and know what I am doing.

“It is clear we are playing out a bit more and that is more geared up to my style of playing.

“You want the confidence to know you can play – if you make a mistake, you know he won’t think, ‘That’s it, he’s not good enough to do this’.

“To have a manager who believes in you, and if you make a mistake, says, ’Keep going, keep going’, rather than, ‘Don’t do that’, is a breath of fresh air and gives us the confidence to try things.”

It is two years ago this week that Holgate agreed terms to keep him at Goodison Park until at least the summer of 2025.

The Yorkshireman signed that new contract during his best period in an Everton jersey to date.

Holgate flourished as a regular in the middle of defence after spending the second half of the previous 2018/19 campaign on a profitable loan in the Championship with West Bromwich Albion.

In the course of his extended interview, Holgate concedes a combination of injuries and playing multiple positions applied the brakes to subsequent progress.

Out of favour earlier this term, he began to question whether a move was the only avenue to regular football.

Asked if he considered the prospect of leaving Everton in pursuit of gametime, Holgate said: “If I am honest, yes.

“Everton is all I’ve known as an adult and it was going to be a very difficult decision.

“But if I didn’t think I was bringing anything to Everton, I’d feel I was hindering the Club and wouldn’t want that.

“And I’d believe I could give something elsewhere.

“No matter how much you love one club, it is a short career.

“I could sit back when I am 40 after not playing many games and Everton would still have that big part of my heart, but I’d think, ‘Did I get the maximum from my career?’

“And I wouldn’t be able to answer, yes.

“I’d be saying I was happy to sit there and be a spare part.

“That is never something I’d want to do. I became a footballer to play football.”

Buy a copy of Everton's official matchday programme for the FA Cup fifth-round tie with Boreham Wood to read the full interview with Mason Holgate.

The latest issue includes notes from Frank Lampard, Seamus Coleman, and CEO Denise Barrett-Baxendale and an exclusive interview with the Club's former defender Neil McDonald.

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