Tony Hibbert has signed a new two-year contract to keep him at Everton FC until summer 2016.
The 33-year-old defender made just four appearances last season during a campaign which was blighted by injury, but is valued by Roberto Martinez for his defensive attributes and positive influence on the club’s young players.
Now fit-again Hibbert will compete with first-choice Seamus Coleman for the right-back berth next term, which will entail the extra fixtures generated by Europa League qualification.
Hibbert’s previous deal expired on June 30 but Martinez had always said he wanted to retain the services of a veteran who has played 319 times for the Blues.
Speaking earlier this year, the Toffees boss said: “In my eyes Tony has got a lot to offer at Everton still and we need to make sure that (the talks reach) a positive outcome.
“Maybe in a couple of a key moments, he’s picked up a couple of injuries that have stopped him playing more but I do value his contribution at the club and his experience and I would love to keep a character like Tony Hibbert, who means so much to us.
“He’s played such a significant role and sometimes the fans don’t see that.
“Sometimes you can get misled because you don’t see a player playing week in and week out and you can feel that they don’t have a major role in the football club.
“Tony has had a few niggles this season but in terms of his day-to-day work, he’s been magnificent and I’d go as far as saying he’s been paramount in keeping really strong standards in our training sessions, in making sure that the group was ready, helping out the youngsters and every time he has played he has performed well.”
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