Everton sailed through to the last-16 of the Europa League on Thursday night after a comfortable 3-1 win over Young Boys in the second-leg of their round of 32 tie at Goodison Park, with left-back Luke Garbutt one of those to put in an impressive performance.
Romelu Lukaku followed up his hat-trick in last-week’s 4-1 win in Switzerland with two more first-half goals after Sekou Sanogo had given the visitors a 13th-minute lead, before Kevin Mirallas sealed the result just before the break to secure Everton’s safe passage.
Assisting Lukaku for his second on the half-hour with an exquisite cross was Garbutt, whose composure in defence and contributions going forward on the night made him look like a seasoned veteran.
The 21-year-old has seen his first-team minutes restricted at the club due to the presence of Leighton Baines and Bryan Oviedo but, in just his sixth appearances of the season, his undoubted promise was more than evident.
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Using his fantastic left peg, the youngster managed a match-high five key passes over the course of the 90 minutes to go along with his assist, while completing five of his seven crosses – also the most of any player on the pitch.
His outing was impressive enough for some to suggest that manager Roberto Martinez might have a bit of a selection dilemma on his hands now and, with his contract set to expire in the summer, fans were understandably flocking to Twitter at the final whistle to urge him to sign a new deal.
Price just went up on Garbutt, I guess. What do we do about 3 left backs?— Atlanta Evertonians (@atlevertonians) February 26, 2015
Hope @luke_garbutt stays at Everton. The lad is pure quality and along with Ross, Rom, Besic and Stones can be part of something special.— Gary Gray (@thewinstonwolfe) February 26, 2015
By the way a fought Luke garbutt was outstanding tonight top class deliveries!— James (@addojames10) February 26, 2015
FWIW I've said for months @luke_garbutt is a worthy replacement for Bainesy and will go on to be a better LB— Chris Butler (@cb_bsfc) February 26, 2015
Garbutt awesome as well. Pains me to say it but we score goals when we put balls in and Baines' proper lost that side of his game atm— David Brice 1878 (@davidjbricey) February 26, 2015
Finally.. It'll be an absolute travesty if we let Garbutt leave on a free.— Jonathon (@ItsOnlyJk) February 26, 2015
Garbutt, too, is increasingly hard to ignore. 5 chances v Youngs Boys second most by an Everton player in any match this season.— Matt Cheetham (@Matt_Cheetham) February 26, 2015
Get the distinct impression that, if given a run of 10 games in the team as LB, Luke Garbutt would own it & be nudging England place.— Alan Kirwin (@alankirwin) February 26, 2015
Brilliant when they came on. Garbutt was very impressive again. Got a gem of a left foot. Quality delivery on him.— Chris Walford (@CWalford22) February 27, 2015
Proud of EFC last night, something about Europe that brings the best out of us. I thought Garbutt was outstanding too! Sign him up!!— Paul Miller (@Themillerman999) February 27, 2015
Garbutt should be our left back from now on,time to think of the future.— kb (@KBURKE1878) February 27, 2015
Any chance of us getting Garbutt tied down with a long term contract Everton?— Jonny Lennon (@JonnyLefc) February 27, 2015
@luke_garbutt Great performance last night fella...great cross for Lukaku's goal...bainesy must be feeling his place is up for grabs— Warren Freimanis (@wozzfreimanis) February 27, 2015
How goods Luke Garbutt by the way. That left peg— Joe McGuinness (@JoeMcGuinness7) February 27, 2015