Matthew Pennington desperate to move on from Everton and open to Shrewsbury Town switch

Defender Matthew Pennington is ‘desperate’ for a fresh start when his Everton contract this summer and sees Shrewsbury Town as a permanent home.

Matthew Pennington made his home debut for Shrewsbury on Tuesday night (AMA)
Matthew Pennington made his home debut for Shrewsbury on Tuesday night (AMA)

Pennington, 26, will leave the club where he has spent 15 years at the end of the season after a series of seven loans away from Goodison Park.

The centre-half, one of Steve Cotterill’s first signings at Montgomery Waters Meadow, has long since known his future lay elsewhere beyond the end of his current deal.

Pennington, who once scored a Merseyside derby equaliser in front of the Kop for Everton, admits he immediately felt part of a ‘family club’ at Shrewsbury, after Cotterill persuaded him to be part of his Salop ‘project’ amid interest from other League One clubs.

“It’s been a long time coming, I’ve known that for a while, I’m desperate to get to the next stage and be a permanent fixture somewhere and for somewhere to be my club and settle down, in my personal life and as a professional,” said Pennington, who has made just four appearances on loan at Town, owing to an innocuous shoulder dislocation during training.

“I get a family feel here which is positive for me, it’s the environment I thrive in.

“Sometimes people say it for interviews but from the first day I came here I genuinely felt it’s a family club, everyone who has greeted me and said hello has been brilliant, myself and my girlfriend and family have felt that. I like the area and have settled nicely.”

Pennington, who was born in Warrington, was a red before joining the blue half of Merseyside aged 11, and now considers Everton ‘his club’.

The defender has been on loan in all but one season since he was 19, at Tranmere, Coventry, Walsall, Leeds, Ipswich and Hull, making 68 Championship appearances with the latter trio. He made nine appearances for the Toffees first team, including six in the top flight.

Pennington sees his Shrewsbury spell as a six-month opportunity to impress enough to earn a long-term stay.

“The guys here are great, I could tell it from day one, I wanted to stay around the boys (while injured) to feel a part of something, I could’ve gone back to Everton for treatment but I didn’t want to,” he said.

“In my view I’ve signed a six-month loan here, so I’m a Shrewsbury player for six months.

“And then after that I’m out of contract, so I’m effectively on a short-term deal here until the end of the season in my head. So I wanted to stay around here, be around the staff and players, and enjoy being around them.”

Pennington said: “There were a few League One clubs that came in towards the end of December. I spoke to a few managers, Steve Cotterill caught the eye, he convinced me to come here.

“I felt like there was a project going on here, the club is going in the right direction despite the start of the season, with a manager who really wanted to push Shrewsbury up the league and build something this season and beyond.”

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