Everton have received a big selection boost ahead of their Premier League encounter against Brentford on Sunday after manager Rafa Benitez confirmed that Salomon Rondon will be fit enough to start.
Although the 32-year-old is yet to find the back of the net for his new side, injuries to Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Demarai Gray mean he will have an important part to play over the weekend.
Adding to the significance of Rondon’s availability from the off is the fact that Richarlison picked up his fifth booking of the season against Manchester City last time out, meaning he will be suspended for the trip to west London.
Following the defeat to City, Benitez was asked whether the Venezuela international would be able to start against the Bees after coming on as a 63rd-minute substitute at the Etihad Stadium.
“Yeah, 100%, because he has been training well the last two weeks. I am quite confident he can do well,” the Spaniard revealed.
“When we talk about injuries, and you lose players through suspension and yellow cards, it is even worse, but okay, we have to manage with the players available and hopefully, we can do well.
“You don’t want to lose any player for any reason, but we are where we are. We have to manage with that.”
Having Rondon available for selection will leave Benitez feeling delighted, given his lack of alternative options in the final third of the pitch.
The summer signing has made a slow start to life on Merseyside, failing to produce a single goal or assist in his 532 minutes of first-team action since arriving from Chinese outfit Dalian Professional.
However, the South American has proven himself in the Premier League before.
In a previous spell under Benitez’s tutelage, Rondon provided 18 goal contributions in 32 top-flight outings during 2018/19, and everyone associated with Everton will be hoping that the stocky striker can rediscover that sort of form over the coming weeks.
With the Toffees stuck in a horrible rut of form, the Venezuelan finding his shooting boots will be key to improving their fortunes.