As Everton prepare to take on Fulham tomorrow lunchtime, they have received a real boost with both their South Americans, the two ‘R’s’: James Rodriguez and Richarlison, again available together.
Everton have struggled badly without the two talisman South American stars, particularly Richarlison, who’s value and importance to the team has been hugely underlined again during his three-match absence through suspension.
Those three games without the Brazilian forward have yielded no points and consecutive defeats that have punctured the fine start to the campaign the Blues had made.
Then just as his suspension finished the 23-year-old was called up for his country’s latest international qualifiers. He played against Uruguay and scored with a trademark header before being clattered into by Uruguay’s Edison Cavani.
Feeling the after effects of that tackle he went off and Evertonians were sweating about whether he would be fit to able to play for the Toffees this weekend.
As it turns out he is and so can resume his fast-developing combination with his Colombian club team-mate Rodriguez against Fulham.
The two South Americans have developed a good understanding with each other and their qualities and strengths compliment each other well.
Rodriguez is a classic playmaker type with fantastic technical skill, excellent dribbling and vision. His passing ability is second to none and makes him a hugely creative player.
Richarlison combines great pace and power and a terrific engine that makes him a constant threat in attack that keeps a defence honest, but also makes him a strong defensive player too.
So the combination of the two of them is very effective for Everton as the first four Premier League games of this season, underlined.
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Their qualities in tandem also helped another Toffees player: Dominic Calvert-Lewin. The England striker has benefited significantly from the combination of the two South Americans.
With Richarlison’s support and natural width alongside him (something he had last season when they played together upfront) and Rodriguez’s flair and creative outlet, Calvert-Lewin can focus on getting into the box and finding space to score goals rather than having to operate as an outlet working the channels and holding the ball up.
So Calvert-Lewin has stepped up his performances and particularly has scored more goals relative to games played, becoming a genuine top-quality Premier League centre-forward.
Let’s hope they are both fully fit and then these factors can come together again tomorrow to deliver a much-needed three points for Everton.