Sky Sports pundit Darren Bent has questioned how Mason Holgate can regain Carlo Ancelotti’s support after being dropped for Everton’s 3-1 win over Crystal Palace.
Holgate had become a mainstay of the starting line-up over the past few months, with the 23-year-old centre-half playing the full 90 minutes in our previous 16 Premier League fixtures.
The Doncaster-born ace helped to three clean sheets during that run, too, having watched Jordan Pickford be beaten in six of the nine top-flight encounters where Holgate did not open the action.
Ancelotti, though, sought to award the former England U21 international a rare respite heading into the winter break, with the Italian head coach naming Michael Keane in the starting line-up for only the third time since his appointment.
Bent now fears for Holgate’s chances of returning to the opening fold when we travel to Arsenal on February 23, and how that could impact the defender’s chances of earning a maiden senior international call-up.
“I thought he’s been brilliant but it’s killed him a bit,” Bent told Football Insider. “They’ve won 3-1, played relatively well so it’s a bit of a killer.
Who starts at centre-half vs Arsenal?
Holgate and Yerry Mina
Keane and Yerry Mina
Holgate and Keane
“I thought Holgate maybe had an outside chance of making that England squad, so I don’t know now.
“It’s going to be difficult for him.”
Holgate did not lose his place in the starting line-up as a result of a poor performance against Watford, as the £25,000-per-week ace produced a confident display at Vicarage Road and showed how well he can read the game during our 3-2 comeback win.
Ancelotti still benched him against Palace, though, and saw Keane have mixed success against the Eagles as the former Burnley centre-half suffered the occasional lapse of concentration.
Keane’s weaker moments last weekend should offer Holgate a chance to regain his place in the side when we travel to Arsenal later in the month, but another omission would warrant the concern that Bent has already raised.