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Everton: Rafa Benitez must unleash Tom Davies against Watford

Everton will be aiming to return to winnings ways when they host Watford in the Premier League this afternoon, but Rafael Benitez’s charges will have to do so without several key players.

Star striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin is set for an extended spell on the sidelines after suffering a setback in his recovery from a muscle injury, while key midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure has also joined the list of absentees.

The in-form Frenchman has been instrumental in the Toffees’ early season success, bagging two goals and providing four assists in just eight Premier League outings. His enforced absence over the next month or so will be a huge blow for Benitez as he aims to keep Everton on course for a top six finish, although the solution could be a rather simple one.

Academy graduate Tom Davies has long threatened to fulfil his potential and become a top-class engine room operator without ever making the step up. Now 23 years old, it may be a case of now or never for the youngster if he wants to become an instrumental figure in the middle of the park for his boyhood club.

Should Davies start against Watford?

Yes, definitely!

Yes, definitely!

No way!

No way!

Under previous manager Carlo Ancelotti, Davies was in and out of the team, making just 17 Premier League starts throughout 2020/21.

However, he did show glimpses of brilliance under the current Real Madrid boss, who praised his tactical intelligence after a standout performance against Manchester United back in February.

“He cannot play No.10, in my opinion, but when you play with three midfielders he can play all three positions, no problem because tactically he is very intelligent,” Ancelotti said after that game.

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However, Benitez has so far been unwilling to place his trust in Davies. The former England under-21 international has played just 35 minutes of top-flight football in the opening weeks of the campaign, with his only two starts coming in the Carabao Cup.

Nevertheless, that must change at Goodison Park for the visit of the Hornets, as the £32k-per-week Everton maestro undoubtedly has the ability to make a huge impact upon proceedings.

His work rate, tenacity and ability to win the ball back from the opposition would allow the likes of Demarai Gray and Andros Townsend freedom to attack without worrying about their defensive duties too much, making up for the absence of Doucoure in the midfield. The 23-year-old notably made the second-most interceptions per game (1.4) of any Toffees player last season, illustrating his ability to stifle opposition attacks.

Therefore, Benitez must unleash Davies against Watford, giving the youngster a platform to showcase his talent and prove that he’s capable of becoming a fundamental feature in Everton’s starting XI.

In other news… Brands must seal Everton move for “outstanding” £19.8m-rated gem, Benitez needs him 

Article title: Everton: Rafa Benitez must unleash Tom Davies against Watford

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