Everton have landed a welcome injury boost, as midfielder Fabian Delph has been passed fit to start their Carabao Cup trip to Lincoln City following the loss of summer arrival Jean-Philippe Gbamin, according to the Liverpool Echo.
Delph has been unable to make his competitive Toffees debut as of yet, as the former Manchester City man sustained a groin injury five minutes into his new side’s pre-season encounter with Werder Bremen.
The blow has kept the England midfielder out of contention for Everton’s trips to Crystal Palace and Aston Villa, along with the home game against Watford, but is now in line to make his first start in Royal Blue after being passed fit to face Lincoln.
His availability will surely be seen as a welcome boost for Marco Silva heading into the Carabao Cup clash, as the Portuguese will be able to rotate his line-up following the confirmed loss of fellow summer arrival Gbamin.
Everton announced on Tuesday that Silva will be without Gbamin for at least eight weeks, as the Ivory Coast international suffered a tendon injury to his right quadriceps muscle in training last week.
Silva has noted ahead of his side’s trip to Lincoln that Delph will not be a direct replacement for Gbamin, however, as the two midfielders are not comparable options.
“He [Delph] can give different options to me in a technical point of view,” the Toffees boss said. “He can give very good things for us in important moments of the game with his experience.
“When you lose one player like JP [Gbamin], you are talking about a completely different football player. JP is a clear No. 6. Of course, Fabian can do that also, but he’s not that profile as a player.
“Maybe we have to play in a different way in some moments when he’s there, but it’s good for me to have all of them.”
With Silva suggesting Delph and Gbamin are not comparable options, he has the option of Morgan Schneiderlin in the defensive midfield position, after recalling the Frenchman to the starting XI at Aston Villa following his suspension.
The former Manchester United man has made the most tackles per game (averaging 3) out of anyone in the Toffees’ squad, as well as the most interceptions out of any Everton midfielder (1.7) so does look like the best option to sit in and protect the engine room.
Andre Gomes should, therefore, make way for Delph to make his Everton debut, as the 6 ft 1 midfielder acquired permanently from FC Barcelona in the summer is yet to miss a Premier League line-up (TransferMarkt) following his reported £22million (BBC) transfer. Indeed, his performance against Aston Villa was criticised by sections of the support online (via HITC) so perhaps affording Delph the chance to work on his first-team fitness in a cup tie against lower league opposition could be a good way to go.
Largely deployed as a central midfielder for England during the UEFA Nations League this summer, the former Manchester City man averaged more passes per game (55.3 to 50.3) at a higher success rate (89.8% to 82.1%) so could perhaps offer much more in the way of distribution and ball retention.
For that reason, Gomes should miss out and make way for Delph.
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