Everton: Rafa Benitez delivers views on squad balance ahead of January window and makes defensive trio claim

Everton (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by OLI SCARFF/AFP via Getty Images) /

Everton face West Ham United on Sunday at Goodison Park and ahead of the exciting clash, Rafa Benitez delivered optimistic news with Lucas Digne, Alex Iwobi and Seamus Coleman returning to the squad. However, there was worrying update on Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph as they remain sidelined for the Hammers clash.

Everton’s squad depth and squad balance has been a never ending bar debate. Injuries to core players have often reduced the Toffees to rubble in certain areas and so far they have failed to address some of those issues in the transfer market. The lack of a backup left back, the failure to locate a long term successor to Coleman has hurt the Toffees on several occasions.

Rafa Benitez has managed to propel Everton to successful results while managing the injury crisis. Ahead of the West Ham game, the Spanish boss was questioned on whether he was happy with the squad balance.

"Yes, to be fair it’s too early to talk about that because until January we cannot do too much but we know we have some positions that we have to cover a little bit. The way now is to make sure that the players available are improving and ready when you need them. (via club’s official Youtube Channel)"

Rafa Benitez on centre back options at Everton

Yerry Mina could possibly be a doubt as he played for Colombia late on Thursday and even though Benitez has indicated that he’ll be back in time for the West Ham clash, there could be doubts on his match fitness as he has played three FIFA World Cup qualifiers in a space of seven days and added 10,000+ air miles in the same time period.

Rafa Benitez was also questioned regarding the central defence options. So far, the former Napoli boss has preferred Michael Keane and Mina in the central defence when playing a back four. Benitez was asked if the club will be looking to strengthen the central defence in the January.

"No really. What I am thinking is in every training session, trying to improve the players in each position but at centre back, at the moment we have five names and we can use anyone. [Ben] Godfrey can play there, Mason [Holgate] can play there and Jarrad Branthwaite can play there. If we need to use them they can be available and do well. (via club’s official Youtube Channel)"

With the central defence well stacked, it seems unlikely that the Toffees will make any efforts to sign a new centre back in January unless anyone of the current players are offloaded.

Next. Everton Injury Update ahead of the West Ham United clash. dark

Which areas will Rafa Benitez look to improve in the January transfer window?