Opinion: Mason Holgate to Everton is a great move for the ex-Barnsley boy, says Neil Goulding

Ex-Barnsley man Mason Holgate (left) in action
Ex-Barnsley man Mason Holgate (left) in action
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Mason Holgate has finally left Barnsley and, in my opinion, I think it’s a great move for the teenager. A move he would have been daft to turn down.

The 18-year-old could have stayed at Oakwell and played plenty of games in League One this season.

But, understandably, the chance to one day soon play in the Premier League was obviously too great a lure.

Not only that, but the opportunity to train with some of the best players in the world – and under a manager with a great reputation in Roberto Martinez – is one which Holgate has rightly grabbed with both hands.

Comparisons, of course, have already been made to John Stones, Everton’s highly sought-after defender.

Holgate is a product of the same Oakwell academy as Stones, who the Toffees’ signed for from Barnsley for £3million in January 2013.

In just over two years Stones has won international recognition with England and has Chelsea chasing his signature.

The Premier League champions have already had bids of £20m and £26m rejected for Stones, with a third bid for the 21-year-old rumoured to be expected anytime soon.

The point being that Stones has developed so much since he left Oakwell that he could be playing for the best team in the country.

But can Holgate do the same? He only made 22 senior appearances for the Reds last season!

The Toffees obviously see potential and a £1m deal – which could rise to £2m – and a five-year contract was offered to beat off competition from Premier League rivals like Manchester United, Newcastle United and Bournemouth.

“The exciting thing about Mason is that he’s got that physical maturation in him - and that could bear fruit in a number of ways,” admitted Reds boss Lee Johnson. “That makes him very exciting.”

Martinez, however, moved quickly to ease some of the pressure on Holgate’s young shoulders.

“He will be a phenomenal young prospect and he will be a good one for the future,” said Martinez.

“Mason is a completely different type of player to John, but I feel that we are the perfect place in order to develop him into a top footballer. He can bring us something quite unique.”

I couldn’t agree more. Holgate deserves all the success he can get.