Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Lucas Digne has completed his recovery from injury and is close to signing a new contract at Everton.
Digne has not played since November 22 due to an ankle ligament problem, but Ancelotti has now revealed that he is fully fit again.
Speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s FA Cup third round tie at home to Rotherham United, the Everton boss also said Digne’s new deal is close to being signed:
“He [Digne] is fit; his recovery was really fast. He and the medical staff did a fantastic job. He trained all week with us and is fit and in a good condition. He can play tomorrow.
“We know that Digne is a top professional. The surgery and the rehab were good, and it was unbelievable to see Digne back so early into training.
“I think it [new contract] is almost done. I’m not involved in this, but he and the club are really close.”
Digne is not the only player Ancelotti said is now back to full fitness, with James Rodriguez and Alex Iwobi now ready to go again.
Rodriguez played 30 minutes as a substitute in last week’s 1-0 defeat to West Ham having previously not featured since December 5, while Iwobi missed the New Year’s Day game altogether with a minor knock.
But Ancelotti added that, after a hectic Christmas schedule, there are several players who will not be involved tomorrow, due to either injury or fatigue:
“The players not available for the game are Richarlison, Jonjoe Kenny, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Allan, Fabian Delph, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Jordan Pickford. Some players are injured, some are going to have a rest. I don’t want to go into details.
“James Rodriguez is back, Lucas Digne is back, Alex Iwobi is back.”
Ancelotti is well aware of the importance of the FA Cup, a competition he won with Chelsea in 2010.
And the Italian said he and his team’s focus is now solely on the challenge presented by Rotherham, and that they have now moved on from the disappointing defeat to West Ham:
“The defeat against West Ham is gone. We have talked about this, and now we are focused on this game.
“It’s an importation competition. We know how important the FA Cup is in England. We want to start this competition well.”
As for Everton’s opponents tomorrow, Ancelotti is expecting a difficult test from Rotherham, despite their on-pitch struggles this term.
The Millers have played the fewest Championship games due to postponements through snow and COVID-19, and sit second-bottom after promotion from League One last year.
But Ancelotti knows that shock results occur all the time in the FA Cup, so is refusing to take them lightly:
“They are a strong, tough team. I am sure it will be a physical game.
“They have problems in the Championship, but I know that the FA Cup is a different story. There are strange results that nobody expects all the time, so we have to pay attention to this.”
Ancelotti also offered an update on possible outgoings, including Bernard, Cenk Tosun, Yannick Bolasie, Muhamed Besic and Moise Kean.
He said there has been nothing to report on any player, including a possible swap deal with Roma involving Bernard and Robin Olsen, or Paris Saint-Germain making Kean’s loan move permanent.
“No news [on transfers]. Tosun is going to play tomorrow.
“We are not talking with Roma about Bernard. Bernard is our player.
“It’s a totally different situation with Olsen. We would like to keep him for the future; we are going to talk to Roma, but no discussion about Bernard.
“I cannot say anything [about Kean]. The only thing is that Moise is doing really well for Paris Saint-Germain. He’s on loan; he could be back in the summer.
“If Paris Saint-Germain want him, they have to sit at the table with the club.”