April 14, 2024


Everton talks on the cards as Russell Martin admits he has made Mason Holgate angry at Southampton

Russell Martin admits it was a “horrible conversation” with Mason Holgate when he took the Everton loanee out of the Southampton side.

The Saints boss told the Daily Echo (12 December) that he can feel the anger towards him after making such a decision, accepting that the defender has been a “victim” of other players performing well in his lack of game time rather than having been in the wrong himself.

Martin has predicted talks with the Toffees will now ensure over the next steps for Holgate after just five Championship appearances this term, suggesting a departure is on the cards even if he would like the 27-year-old to stay as part of his squad.


Martin said: “There has been no conversation about that as far as I am aware. Mason came back into the team and did really well after a difficult start, he can’t do anything else than play really well and be a good teammate.

“I took him out of the team because I felt Janny [Bednarek] deserved his place back following suspension. The most frustrating thing is that he cannot control that.

“That was my decision and it was tough. I’ve left someone, who has been really great, out for the game tomorrow and the conversation is not easy.”

“When you care about them it’s a horrible conversation and it’s why leadership can be very lonely, you feel the anger they feel towards you.

“Mason has been a victim of that and he hasn’t done anything wrong, he’s looked like the player I knew we were signing when he came back into the team.

“He is out of the team because the other guys have played well and that is frustrating for him. I can’t sit here and say he is definitely staying.

“Would we want him to stay? Yes. He is a great teammate, he’s got a great energy around the place and he’s been good on the pitch the last few times.

“However, I also understand that he probably wants to play more minutes and for Everton, it is probably frustrating as well.

“I am sure there will be conversations between Jason (Wilcox), Everton, and maybe Mason’s agent at some point.

“Until it becomes something of real interest I don’t think it will come to my door anyway, and if it does we will have to deal with it then.”


Holgate has had a rough time of it in the past couple of years as he has fallen well down the pecking order back at Goodison Park and has now seen his drop down a division prove similarly frustrating.

With transfer interest thought to be increasing elsewhere it seems very possible that he is playing for another team in the second half other season, but it is unlikely to be Everton.

Sean Dyche has never seemed especially sold on him even before James Tarkowski alongside Jarrad Branthwaite were clearly established themselves as the regular starters at centre-back.

Unfortunately for Holgate he has gone from Goodison Park to St. Mary’s and found himself in essentially the same predicament, but there will be a club where he is expected to play regularly and that seems like the inevitable destination at this stage.

With a year and a half left on his Everton contract now would seem like the ideal time to get a modest fee for him in order to find a solution that suits all parties.

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