Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed that Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford faces a late fitness test on an abdomen injury ahead of their FA Cup fifth round tie with Tottenham Hotspur.
The England number one sat out the Blues’ 3-3 draw with Manchester United and 2-1 win over Leeds last week as a result of the blow sustained against Newcastle, having collided with the post when attempting to make a save.
AS Roma loanee Robin Olsen stood in for Pickford at Elland Road and at Old Trafford, but was unable to replicate his match-winning heroics against the Red Devils when caught out by Bruno Fernandes’ shot and stumbling when rushing to save a Scott McTominay header.
Everton midfielder James Rodriguez also faces a late fitness test on a tight calf to feature against Tottenham, having been taken off late on during Saturday’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United.
Ancelotti will be without Allan in the midweek FA Cup affair as the Brazilian continues to build fitness after almost two months out with a hamstring injury, but hopes the summer signing from Serie A side SSC Napoli will be able to face Fulham on Sunday.
“I have to wait for training this afternoon [Tuesday] to check on some situations. One is James and one is Jordan. They are going to train and after that we will see,” Ancelotti said.
“James had a tight calf [against Manchester United]. I took him off after 70 minutes to avoid risk. Now he will train today. If he’s ready to play tomorrow, he will play, and if the calf is still tight, he will play in the next game on Sunday.
“Allan has started [training] with the team. He is not ready yet, but I hope he will be next game.”
Ancelotti confirming that Pickford faces a late fitness test may allow Olsen to earn a second chance at impressing the Everton boss, after his midweek heroics failed to result in back-to-back performances of merit.
Olsen will have been bitterly disappointed at the goals he allowed against Manchester United on Saturday, with Fernandes’ looping effort a saveable attempt that only just crept under the bar as the Sweden shot-stopper scrambled late to make a save.
McTominay’s header will no doubt have been a moment that rung around Olsen’s mind for a while after the ball hit the back of the net, too, as the Roma loanee will know that he should have been able to claw the shot away but slipped at a crucial moment.
Olsen proved against Leeds that he is able to come up with the crucial stops to deny opponents, having produced a terrific triple save in quick succession to keep Everton in the lead.
His confidence may now have dipped somewhat but the £4.5m-rated 31-year-old should be given the chance to bounce back, just as Ancelotti had with Pickford after his blunder against Leicester.
“I think Jordan – and every player – will improve if he has the desire to improve,” Ancelotti said, via quotes by The Guardian. “It does not matter if you are 20, 26 or if you are 30. You will improve at every age. The goalkeeper is a different position. All I can give to Jordan is the confidence and trust, even when he makes a mistake. It does not matter. It is a process.”
AND in other news, Everton have their eyes on a £10m+ striker boasting 18 goals this season…