Everton boss Ronald Koeman is delighted that three players have been rewarded with new contract extensions: Gareth Barry, Leighton Baines, and Mason Holgate.
Koeman picked out each player for specific praise on their different attributes, saying that Baines and Barry were natural leaders and big characters to have around the club, while Holgate is one of the most exciting young prospects at the club.
He said, “With Leighton, his attitude is always perfect. He likes to work hard, he likes to learn, he is a technical player with a good view of the game and I’m really happy to have him in the team this season and also for the longer term.
“Offensively, he’s a strong player who can cross the ball well and he has that cleverness in the game and in the moment, a quality that’s not in every player.
“He’s one of the experienced players in our team and what you like to have in your team is a balance in ages in the group. Players like Leighton, Phil Jagielka and Gareth Barry are leaders in our dressing room and on the pitch. For younger players, they are a little bit like teachers. They have that experience and young players need to listen to them for they will learn.
“Like Leighton, Gareth Barry is a clever player on the pitch. Only Ryan Giggs has played more games in the Premier League and let’s hope he will smash every record. He’s a quiet person but a strong character. He knows what he can and can’t do.
“He is a key player for the team. Of course, sometimes you need to protect older players, with all due respect. Gareth is 35 but he is still so important for the team and I’m very happy he has extended his contract.
“Mason is one of the big talents at the Club. Of course, he started playing this season and did a great job. He can play out of different positions in the team defensively. He was really comfortable when he got his chance in the team. He showed strengths with the football and strengths in defending. He’s the future for the Club and other young players like him.
“For young players it’s difficult to come into the first team but we are really happy that at Everton we have a lot of young players who can make that step.”
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