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Benitez update on Calvert-Lewin and message to James Rodriguez

Manager’s comments ahead of difficult trip to Villa Park

Everton Press Conference Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

Everton travel to Aston Villa this weekend and speaking at his pre-match press conference earlier today, manager Rafa Benitez gave an update on the injury situation starting with striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin.

“It’s what I said after the game. Still we have to wait some weeks, we don’t know exactly how many but he will not be available for two or three weeks.”

He was then asked what was happening with James Rodriguez and if he was match-fit yet.

“He’s training. These kind of weeks when you play a game and you have a day off in between, it’s not easy to see much from the first training session and we will see tomorrow in another training session.

“He’s training normally with the team. We will train again tomorrow and then decide depending on how he’s doing.”

New signings Andros Townsend and Demarai Gray have caught fire this season and completely revitalized a flagging attack that struggled to close out the last campaign - is their confidence and self-belief something Benitez has instilled in them?

“I will tell you about the three goals we scored. Michael Keane was doing really well, but because of the pressure he was under in the first three games I was really pleased with him scoring a great goal, great cross, great header. I am really pleased for him and his confidence too.

“It’s exactly the same for Demarai and Andros, both players came here with the desire to do well and to show everyone how good they were, and they are doing that.

“They are more than playing well and scoring goals, we can see that, that was an amazing goal from Andros.”

Benitez went on to add what seemed like a veiled message towards James Rodriguez on what he needs to do to regain his spot in the squad.

“They are working hard in the training sessions, the rest of the players appreciate that, not just that they are playing at the level they are already. The commitment of all these players and in this case the two new players.”