There was one notable absentee from Everton’s latest training video ahead of their Premier League match against Brighton and Hove Albion at Goodison Park on Saturday – defender Lucas Digne.
It has certainly been a tough week for the Toffees following their 1-0 loss against arch-rivals Liverpool in the FA Cup last weekend, with Carlo Ancelotti’s full-strength side being beaten by a Jurgen Klopp team containing inexperienced youngsters and fringe players.
Digne played the full 90 minutes at Anfield but was nowhere to be seen in the latest clip from Finch Farm, with the hosts looking to bounce back from successive defeats against the Reds and Manchester City by getting a positive result against the Seagulls the weekend.
The 25-year-old has started 24 of the 25 games in all competitions he has been available for this term, missing the Carabao Cup clash against Leicester City having limped off in the first half against Manchester United a few days earlier.
His absence from training now could suggest that he is either injured or ill after what has been a busy festive period.
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However, one must also wonder whether this could be part of the fallout post-match at Anfield and whether he could potentially have been one of the players, as reported by The Athletic, who fired back at assistant manager Duncan Ferguson following the Scot’s post-match dressing room tirade.
The Athletic says that some senior players maintained they had given their all in the second 45 minutes against their local neighbours, with some said to have blamed the setup and tactics for the result.
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Ancelotti wouldn’t have taken kindly to that only having replaced Marco Silva last month, and perhaps Digne is one of the players who could pay the price in the short-term by being excluded.
That is complete speculation at this stage though, and we’ll wait and see what happens when the team-sheet is announced tomorrow afternoon.