Tony Hibbert believes Everton have unearthed a potential star in Tyias Browning.
And the veteran defender reckons the youngster’s game bears striking similarities with that of Sylvain Distin.
The 20-year-old Browning has enjoyed a stellar start to life in the first-team at Goodison Park. Having made his debut with a 17-minute cameo in the Merseyside derby at Anfield – a display wich was described as “phenomenal” by manager Roberto Martinez – he followed that up with another strong showing as a substitute against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
The maturity of his performances have led some, including U21s boss David Unsworth, to suggest that it won’t be long until the young Scouser is knocking on the door of the senior side on a more regular basis.
And Hibbert says Browning’s pace and athleticism reminds him of one of Everton’s current first-teamers.
He said: “It does remind you of Sylvain when he plays. Obviously, Tyias is a lot younger and he has a lot to learn about reading the game but that will only come with playing with the players we have here and being around the squad.”
“He’s a great player and a great defender. Tyias is still learning, he’s captained the Under-21s for a few years now and I think he’s got very good potential.
“He needs chances to play first-team football and being in and around us will help him massively, but I think there is a lot to come from Tyias. He is big and strong and he’s fast.
“I think defensively with his one-on-ones and those types of situations with the way he handles a defensive play – you hardly ever see anyone go past him because his pace and power is frightening.”
Hibbert, of course, has experienced something of a renaissance himself in recent weeks. Having not started a Premier League game in almost two years, he has done so at both Anfield and Old Trafford in the last month.
Now 33, he is very much in the ‘veterans’ category at Goodison, and he says he is aware of the need to pass on his experience to the younger players in the squad, such as Browning.
“Obviously, I’ve been here for a while and I’ve played x amount of seasons with Everton,” he added. “I’ve seen numerous players coming through and it’s good to try and help the young lads because you were in that bracket yourself at one point.
“When I was coming through, people gave me that helping hand and bit of advice, so it’s good to pass that on and if I think I can help them in a certain situation then I’ll happily do so.”
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