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Friday’s Toffee Bites: Rafa’s update on squad fitness, Baningime talks departure

Recapping all the Everton news from yesterday 

Colombia v Ecuador - FIFA World Cup 2022 Qatar Qualifier Photo by Guillermo Legaria/Getty Images

Your daily dose of Everton news and rumours

Alex Iwobi was training and [so were] Digne and Coleman – that is good news for us – they have started training with the team. The others are improving and we will see in the week how they are. Lucas had an issue and for two or three days was under treatment but he has started training. Fingers crossed [for Yerry Mina], hopefully everything will be fine in the last game, then we will see [if he is ready for West Ham]. Every day when they [Godfrey and Rondon] train, they are improving. Salomon is scoring goals in the training sessions and Ben is defending really well. This time will benefit everyone but especially these players who were not fully fit,” says Rafa, not a word though about Richarlison or Dominic Calvert-Lewin. [EFC]

Yerry Mina played the full 90 in Colombia’s 0-0 draw against Ecuador.

I had big confidence issues. I was bad. Really bad. I remember David Unsworth [former Everton caretaker manager] saying to me on my debut [against Chelsea in the EFL Cup in October 2017], ‘Are you ready?’ and I wanted to say no, but I said yes. If David said, ‘You don’t have to play’, I wouldn’t have played. I was doing OK on the pitch but in my head I was thinking, ‘What am I doing here?’ I have a lot more confidence now. It’s a thing I had to get over,” says Beni Baningime. [BBC]

U23s midfielder and boyhood Evertonian Lewis Harrington has high hopes of making the jump to the first-team. [EFC]

Some people say to finish eighth is a great target. That means nothing for me. I prefer to be there when you can play in Europe and then you can play against top sides in Europe, then just a free-kick, just a corner, just one minute at the kick-off when you do this or you do that can change everything. If you do not have this mentality you cannot compete at the level you want to compete and you cannot win,” says Rafa. [Echo]

Interesting analysis here saying that if we didn’t have VAR in the Premier League this season (and thus relied on the initial decisions made by the referees), then Everton would actually be up to second in the table. [ESPN]

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