Everton boss Marco Silva has confirmed that Theo Walcott will be among his options when hosting West Ham United on Saturday, but added that Fabian Delph faces a late fitness test, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
Delph has been a doubt for Silva’s ‘must-win’ clash with the Irons after withdrawing from the England squad to face the Czech Republic and Bulgaria (BBC), having sustained a hamstring injury in the Blues’ 1-0 loss at Burnley.
Delph joined Everton from Manchester City in the summer in a deal worth up to £10m (BBC), but had to wait until the fourth week of the Premier League campaign to make his Toffees league debut, having sustained a thigh injury just five minutes into his Blues bow in a friendly against Werder Bremen.
Silva has since trusted the 29-year-old to start each league fixture, and played all bar 16 minutes of the Merseyside outfit’s Carabao Cup ties with Lincoln City and Sheffield Wednesday (TransferMarkt).
An eighth outing across all competitions will be dependent on Delph passing a fitness test on Saturday morning, with Silva giving the two-time Premier League winner every chance to make his squad after seeing signs of progress in training.
“Let’s see how he reacts,” the Portuguese said at his pre-game press conference. “He is getting better. We will make a decision tomorrow.”
While Delph faces a late fitness test, Silva will have Walcott to hand for the visit of West Ham to Goodison Park on Saturday, after the 5 ft 7 winger came through a training ground friendly unscathed.
“Last week, we had a friendly game at Finch Farm,” the Blues boss added. “[Walcott] played 90 minutes. He’s in a good condition to play tomorrow.”
But Silva will be without Cenk Tosun, after the Turkey striker picked up a groin injury while representing his country over the October international break.
The 28-year-old played the full 90 minutes against Albania last Friday and scored the only goal of the game, before being resigned to a nine-minute cameo against France on Monday night.
If Delph fails his fitness test, Tom Davies could make his first league start of the season, with Silva adding: “It’s always a possibility.
“If it happens, it’s not the first time with me. Tom has played with Andre [Gomes], [Idrissa] Gana [Gueye] and Morgan [Schneiderlin] last season – he’s able to play in both [attacking and defensive] positions.”
Davies made 19 appearances for Everton in all last season (TransferMarkt), with ten of those coming from starting roles as the central midfielder, but his outings were infrequent and only 13 were in the starting line-up.
Silva has only turned to the Liverpool-born youngster for 20 minutes in the Premier League this season, too, with his presence in five matchday squads only being from the bench.
The Portuguese now possibly starting Davies would signal a huge shift in preference at Goodison Park, where Schneiderlin has been one of the Everton boss’ most trusted options with outings in all bar one of the Premier League games that have been available to him.
Walcott has likewise been serving Silva as nothing more than a backup option this term, with his only start of the campaign coming against Manchester City when he was knocked unconscious and could not continue after the second-minute incident.
Everton fans, who should start in midfield between Schneiderlin, Delph and Davies if all three are fit? Let us know in the comments below…Like what the TT have on offer? Sign up for more Everton notifications!