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Everton handed James Garner fitness boost ahead of West Ham clash

Everton host West Ham United at Goodison Park on Sunday afternoon in a game where Frank Lampard will be hoping to inspire his team’s first win of their Premier League season, and the Toffees manager has given an update on player availability ahead of the clash.

What’s the latest?

The 44-year-old took to his pre-match press conference to confirm the availability of deadline day signing James Garner, who hasn’t yet been seen in blue due to a lack of match fitness.

The Everton manager told the press: “[Garner] is looking good. He’s trained really well and I’m a big fan of his as a player. He’s trained really hard and he’s now fit for selection.”

“He gives us another option in midfield, a different type of option with his qualities. He’s ready to be involved.”

He’s a Davies upgrade

It will certainly be interesting to see Garner make his mark in an Everton shirt following his standout performances in the Championship with Nottingham Forest last season, and if he can emulate that form in the top flight, the Toffees are looking at a very bright future for their midfield.

In fact, the former Manchester United gem could be the perfect replacement for Tom Davies in the central midfield role, with Garner a clear upgrade on the Everton academy product.

Across 41 Championship outings last term, Garner delivered eight assists – the same amount as Davies for Everton in his 164 appearances for the club, with the 21-year-old also scoring four goals and creating seven big chances during his loan spell at Forest.

However, it’s not just Garner’s attacking threat which gives Lampard a special addition to the team. The youngster is just as effective in defensive transition, completing 1.4 interceptions, 1.8 tackles and 3.9 duels per game last season in showing that he can be a complete midfielder.

Contrast that with Davies, who in 2021/22 averaged 0.3 interceptions, 0.5 tackles and 1.8 successful duels per match, and you can make the argument that the recent signing would be an upgrade on his elder Everton team-mate.

Should James Garner start vs West Ham?

Yes

Yes

No

No

The 21-year-old’s creativity will surely be warmly welcomed at Goodison Park in the team’s attempts to finally pick up a league win against West Ham tomorrow, and his fresh impetus in midfield alongside fellow summer recruit Amadou Onana could spark the start of a new and improved era for the Toffees.

The £15m ace will feel that he has a point to prove after United decided to sell him instead of developing his skills and attributes at Old Trafford. Their loss is Lampard’s gain, though, and having a coach who is a former Premier League legend in the same position will surely polish Garner’s talent even further.

Sunday’s match offers a great opportunity for Lampard to finally unleash the 21-year-old in the team, and his selection could have a hugely positive impact on the team’s attempts to turn their succession of draws into victories over the weeks ahead.

Article title: Everton handed James Garner fitness boost ahead of West Ham clash

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