Carlo Ancelotti believes the quality and flexibility of Everton’s deadline day signing Joshua King will be a huge asset to his side in the second half of the season.
King, 29, left Bournemouth for Everton on a deal until the end of the season, and Ancelotti feels the fact that he is a forward who can play both wide and centrally will be a great help.
The Norway international scored 48 goals in 161 Premier League games for the Cherries and speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of tomorrow’s trip to Leeds, Ancelotti has no doubts about his ability, either:
“I think Josh King is the right profile that we needed. The fact we let Cenk Tosun go to Turkey, and we let Anthony Gordon get experience at Preston, we needed to fill the position up front.
“We were also looking at him [King] in the summer and we had a possibility to have him. I think, with his quality, he’s going to improve our squad. He can cover all the positions up front, he has experience in the Premier League, so I’m happy to have him in the squad.
“We didn’t sign him [just] to score more goals. We signed him to use his quality. He’s a powerful, fast player. We signed him to have more options up front so with him, we have more options. Of course we need goals, but we have players that can score goals.”
Ancelotti is also confident that King can play alongside the likes of Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison, rather than him playing at either of their expense.
He added that he is happy with the outgoings the club sanctioned in January, which saw a number of youngsters leave on loan deals:
“I think they can play altogether. The fact he can cover all the positions up front is helpful for us. I think the squad is quite complete in this moment and I’m satisfied with the squad that I have.
“We let players go who we thought needed to play. In the summer, they will be back. We have a lot of confidence in our younger players.”
Looking ahead to tomorrow’s trip to Elland Road, Ancelotti confirmed that Fabian Delph is available again and may face his former club, but fellow midfielders Allan and Jean-Philippe Gbamin are yet to fully recover from their respective injuries.
Everton will also be without Jordan Pickford, after the goalkeeper sustained a minor knock in Saturday’s 2-0 home defeat to Newcastle:
“Delph is back in the squad. Allan and Gbamin, not yet.
“We also have Pickford out with a side injury. He will not be available for the game, but I hope that for Saturday, he will be available. I think it was [from] a save at the end of the game against Newcastle; I think he touched the post and he had problems on his rib.
“Robin Olsen will start the game tomorrow.”
Ancelotti also spoke glowingly about Leeds, who beat Everton 1-0 at Goodison Park in November and impressively won 3-1 at Leicester City on Sunday.
The newly-promoted side sit 12th going into this midweek round of fixtures, and Ancelotti is expecting another tough encounter with Marcelo Bielsa’s side:
“Leeds is in a good position in the table. It’s always entertaining games with them. I saw them a lot and they play attacking football with a lot of intensity.
“Of course, it will be difficult. They beat us at Goodison, but I think we have confidence. Away, usually, we do better than at home, but we have to know it will be an unpredictable game.”