Benitez explains Everton change as star disappoints in defeat to Wolves

Rafa Benitez Everton

Everton boss Rafa Benitez has spoken about his decision to substitute Jean-Philippe Gbamin in Monday’s defeat to Wolves.

The defensive midfielder has rarely featured since his £25m move from Mainz two years ago. Injuries have limited him to less than two Premier League appearances each season.

Gbamin recently returned to full fitness and was named in the starting lineup against Bruno Lage’s men.

However, he seemed out of his depth and failed to impress Benitez in the first half. The Toffees went 2-0 down thanks to goals from Max Kilman and Raul Jimenez just four minutes apart.

Gbamin’s constraints led the Spaniard to bring on Fabian Delph in his place at the break.

When asked about the change, Benitez said (via Liverpool Echo): “The reason why was we were looking for a change of something and to get possession of the ball.

“Delph has experience, he was not fully fit because he was away for a while. He can pass the ball, receive the ball and make people around him play.

“We were needing this and apart from the intensity to challenge for first and second balls, but he gave us this on the ball and he was quite good for us.”

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Delph has only recently returned from a dislocated shoulder he suffered in August. The fact that he came on in Gbamin’s place, despite being slightly unfit, is a damning assessment of the midfielder’s performance.

It’s unclear where this leaves the Ivorian’s future at Goodison Park. He failed to stand out in his other appearance this campaign, during the 2-1 Carabao Cup win over Huddersfield Town.

Benitez has the likes of Allan, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Andre Gomes and Tom Davies at his disposal, in addition to Delph.

That means Gbamin has little chance of adding to his Premier League tally on a regular basis.

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Allan: Everton can go ‘toe-to-toe’ with top clubs

Prior to the Wolves loss, Everton ace Allan spoke highly of his manager. During an interview with the club’s official website, he said: “The manager has added a lot. Sometimes he talks to all of us in the midfield to give guidance and sometimes he takes two or three players to one side to give some points on movement and what he wants to put in place.

“We have tremendous potential to be fighting for the top positions in the league.

“As a group, we showed at the start of the season what we can do. We’ve obviously had difficulties with this series of injuries but we have very good, experienced players.

“I believe we have the potential to go in as equals, toe-to-toe, with all the top teams. We must take our opportunity on Monday against Wolves, put the previous result behind us, and turn over a new page.”

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