Sheffield United-linked defender left out of club’s pre-season training camp squad

Sheffield United-linked defender Mason Holgate has not joined up with his Everton team mates on their pre-season trip to Switzerland
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Mason Holgate has been a reported target for Sheffield United this summer as the former Barnsley man struggles to break into the first team squad.

And the rumours of his potential departure from Everton will intensify after the former England under-21 international was a notable absentee from the Toffees’ pre-season training camp.

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A 28-man Everton squad will spend five days in the Alps before playing a friendly against Stade Nyonnais in Nyon on Friday, July 14.

However, Holgate wasn’t among the traveling party, this despite him joining up with the rest of the team when pre-season began last week.

Doncaster-born Holgate is down the pecking order at Goodison Park behind te preferred James Tarkowski, Michael Keane and Ben Godfrey and made just nine appearances in total last season in all competitions.

The Blades, who have yet to make a signing so far this summer, are hoping to strengthen their defence and Holgate worked under Paul Heckingbottom when the Blades boss was at the start of his coaching career with Barnsley’s youth team players.

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The 26-year-old has been on Merseyside for eight years and has spoken highly in the past of his respect for Heckingbottom.

“When I was at Barnsley, Hecky and I used to do a lot of one-on-one work to improve my all-round game. We would watch clips together and stay behind to do extra work, all geared towards helping me get to the next level. I thank him for that,” he previously said.

The Star revealed last month that that members of Bramall Lane’s recruitment department, together with Heckingbottom’s predecessor Chris Wilder, viewed the defender as a potential signing following United’s last promotion from the Championship four years ago.

Meanwhile, that first signing could be on its way with Anis Ben Slimane set to go undergo his Sheffield United medical on Monday, according to reports in Denmark.

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