Rio Ferdinand believes Mason Holgate can become an 'elite' centre-back at Everton.

Holgate enjoyed a breakthrough season in the Premier League and started all but one of the first 15 Premier League matches with Carlo Ancelotti as manager before injury curtailed his season.

Former Manchester United and England defender Ferdinand pinpointed the effectiveness of the defender on the ball and reckons he 'affects the game' with his distribution at Everton.

“I’ve seen Mason plays passes that eliminate four or five people out of the game - that means the player he finds is facing the back three or four of the opposing team,” Ferdinand told evertonfc.com.

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“Whether that pass is over 20 yards, 30 yards, 40 yards, it doesn’t matter.

“If you can create more opportunities like that for your attacking players, you’re going to get more chances to score goals.

“Most centre-backs might play a lot of passes simple to the full-back – you get it, and play it to the nearest player – but the top, elite ones, where I think Mason can go, are the ones who play passes that eliminate people out of the game.

“When someone says, ‘He’s a good centre-half, he’s comfortable on the ball’, that doesn’t quite cut it for me.

“But Mason is a defender who is good on the ball and who can play.

“He doesn’t just look to play the simple pass – he plays balls that can affect the game.”

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