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Sports News

Rodriguez gives Everton fitness boost ahead of Man United clash

(Reuters) - Everton midfielder James Rodriguez will return to the squad for Saturday’s Premier League home game against Manchester United having missed their defeat by Newcastle United last weekend through injury, manager Carlo Ancelotti said.

Soccer Football - Premier League - Southampton v Everton - St Mary's Stadium, Southampton, Britain - October 25, 2020 Everton's James Rodriguez in action Pool via REUTERS/Naomi Baker/Files

Rodriguez, who joined Everton from Real Madrid in the close season for a reported 20 million pounds ($26.29 million), has made a bright start to life at Goodison Park, contributing three goals and three assists in six league games this season.

“He is going to play tomorrow and I hope he can do his best, Ancelotti told a news conference on Friday.

“I don’t know if he’s 100% (fit), but we need him. Physically he is OK, he has recovered from the little problem he had.

“If there was a doubt, he wouldn’t play. There is no risk for another injury.”

Ancelotti added that captain Seamus Coleman (hamstring) and centre back Mason Holgate (toe) were available, while Lucas Digne returns from his one-match suspension.

Fabian Delph is out with a minor knock, while Brazilian Richarlison remains sidelined as he serves the final game of his three-match suspension.

Everton are looking to return to winning ways after successive defeats by Southampton and Newcastle but Ancelotti expects a tough test against Manchester United, who finished third last season.

United are 15th in the standings after a dismal start to the new campaign but have picked up six of their seven points away from home.

“It is a great opportunity to forget these two defeats and to stay at the top (end) of the table,” he said. “It is true they (United) have been up and down but some games they played really well. We have to expect a team with strong motivation.”

($1 = 0.7607 pounds)

Reporting by Manasi Pathak in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge

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