Team News: Everton
By Kevin Affleck
Javi Gracia revealed that Danny Welbeck is closer to featuring than Ismaïla Sarr as the Head Coach draws nearer to being able to roll out the club's two major summer signings.
Welbeck has been fully involved in every session this week with the team and Gracia sounded like someone who was giving serious consideration to the prospect of including the England forward in his squad for the trip to Everton.
"He is training with us all this week, with the rest of the team," said the Head Coach. “He is training well and I think he can help us in the next games because what I see is he's ready.”
Welbeck has not played a single minute of football since he suffered a significant ankle injury playing for Arsenal at the beginning of November.
Sarr, the club-record buy from Rennes, arrived on Wednesday after completing the paperwork required for him to work in this country, but he is being gradually eased in after being on holiday for a fortnight following an extended season because of the African Cup of Nations, just like Roberto Pereyra was after his Copa America campaign.
“He (Sarr) needs time to be ready and after a time resting, he needs time to recover his best condition,” said Gracia. “I expect he will be ready as quick as possible. I am sure he is going to help us this season. He has a lot of skills, good qualities to help us. He is a very good offensive player: he has speed and an offensive mentality as a winger and as a striker. I'm sure we will be stronger offensively with him.”
Gracia reported than Gerard Deulofeu was replaced at half-time on Saturday because he had been unwell on the eve of the Brighton game.
“Gerard had a stomach problem the day before,” Gracia said. “He was at the hotel, he didn't have dinner and he was in his room. At the end we decided he can play but we know he made en effort and it wasn't possible to play all the game.”
The Head Coach also revealed he has three more options to chose from his week.
“Masina, Quina and Chalobah are well – only Peñaranda is training out of the team but the rest of them are training with the team all this week and they are available for the next game,” said Gracia.