Club news

Duffy’s Rise After Premier League Taster

By Kieran Cleeves • 08 March 2018

Brighton & Hove Albion defender Shane Duffy had a taste of Premier League football during his early days at Everton, but a handful of spells in the lower leagues have been crucial in preparing the Irishman for frequent outings with the Seagulls this season.

The 26-year-old came through the ranks at Goodison Park, and made his professional debut for the Toffees against AEK Athens in the Europa League back in 2009, before featuring for 90 minutes when BATE Borisov visited Merseyside in the competition.

Duffy’s brief taste of action for Everton came to an end when the defender was sent out on loan to Burnley and Scunthorpe United, where he featured regularly for the Irons in League One.

A recall came when Phil Jagielka sustained an injury for the Toffees and Duffy returned for his first experience of Premier League football, starting at White Hart Lane against Tottenham Hotspur.

Duffy then played in back-to-back 1-1 draws against Aston Villa and Blackburn Rovers, playing the full 90 minutes in both fixtures, before coming on as a late substitute against Chelsea at Goodison Park.

Another loan spell followed, this time at Yeovil Town where the defender played 37 league games for the Glovers - including two games against Albion - but Duffy couldn’t save the Somerset club from beating the Championship drop.

Duffy finally secured a permanent switch away from Goodison Park when he joined Blackburn in 2014 - and this move gave the defender a platform to showcase his talent, which Albion picked up on just two years later.

The Seagulls signed the tough-tackling defender for a then-club-record fee, and the Irishman played a pivotal role in helping Chris Hughton’s team reach the Premier League - also confirming his own return to the top flight.

Albion’s visit to Goodison Park on Saturday will be the first time Duffy has returned to his former club since leaving - which will no doubt be a sentimental moment for the dominant central defender.