Carlo Ancelotti issues positive update on James Rodriguez as the Colombian nears a return to Everton action after six weeks out due to a calf problem… while Jean-Philippe Gbamin could be set to end his injury hell
- James Rodriguez has stepped up his training ahead of the Crystal Palace game
- The Colombian has five goals and four assists in the Premier League this season
- Rodriguez has talked about his ‘father and son’ relationship with Carlo Ancelotti
- Jean-Philippe Gbamin has been out since August 2019 with a series of injuries
- Ancelotti has also challenged Michael Keane to use his England snub as fuel
- The 28-year-old was not in Gareth Southgate’s most recent international squad
Everton playmaker James Rodriguez is nearing a return to action ahead of Monday’s home game against Crystal Palace after being out for more than a month due to a calf problem, manager Carlo Ancelotti said.
Rodriguez, who has five goals and four assists in the league this season, last played in Everton’s 2-0 Merseyside derby win over Liverpool at Anfield on February 20.
‘James is in good condition and he trained well during the break,’ Ancelotti said on Friday. ‘It is important for us to have him back at his best.
James Rodriguez last played for Everton during the 2-0 win over Liverpool on February 20
The Colombian has been out with a calf problem having impressed early on in the campaign
‘He is going to put more quality in our attacking play.’
Rodriguez spoke to the club’s official website earlier this week about his season so far and his hopes for the remainder of the campaign, as well as his close relationship with Ancelotti.
‘I’ve come to a good club, a club that wants to achieve big things,’ the Colombian said.
‘I’m with a manager (Carlo Ancelotti) who knows exactly what I’m like. I get on fantastically well with him, just like a father and son.’
Midfielder Jean-Philippe Gbamin will be available for the first time since August 2019 after recovering from serious hamstring and Achilles tendon injuries.
‘We are really pleased to have him back, but we have to consider the fact he didn’t play for at least one year and a half,’ Ancelotti said.
Jean-Philippe Gbamin played just twice for the Toffees before two big injuries sidelined him
Carlo Ancelotti will be pleased to have men back as his side continue to push for Europe
‘I don’t know if he is going to play on Monday but, for sure, he will be available.’
Everton are eighth with 46 points after 28 games, while Palace are 12th with 37 points after 29 games.
Ancelotti has also challenged Michael Keane to use his England omission as motivation for the remainder of the season.
Ancelotti has challenged Toffees centre back Michael Keane to use his England snub as fuel
The centre back has been one of Everton’s best performers this season but did not do enough to convince Gareth Southgate to put him in the squad for the recent World Cup qualifiers.
However, Ancelotti said that snub and the desire to play at Euro 2020 can benefit the player and the club.
‘I spoke with him. He trained really well, was focused, and I said to him there would still be an opportunity,’ he said.
Harry Maguire and John Stones were the preferred pairing during the three recent qualifiers
‘The fact you are not in the squad means you have to improve your quality to be more focused in the last 10 games because at the end you want to be in the squad when Euro 2020 comes.
‘Gareth Southgate is focused on games and if Michael does his best he will be in the squad.’
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