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Pundit blasts Everton player, says things could turn “toxic”

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Everton striker Salomon Rondon should not start against Brentford at the weekend, says former Toffees defender Michael Ball.

Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury and Richarlison’s suspension mean that Rafa Benitez is likely to turn to turn to the Colombian in West London.

Benitez has said he is “quite confident he [Rondon] can do well”.

Writing in his latest column for the Liverpool Echo, Ball admitted he was not a fan of the 32-year-old striker.

He said: “You see the Salomon Rondon substitution at the Etihad and you’re thinking ‘what’s the point, why bring Rondon on? What’s he going to do?’

“What was he going to do to hurt Manchester City?”

Advocating for younger players to be given a chance instead of the Colombian, Ball said: “I just feel if Rondon plays next weekend, which he probably will do, and it doesn’t go our way, the fans are really going to start turning toxic.”

When Rondon signed for Everton in the summer, it was never anticipated that he would be relied upon as a starting player.

There is certainly sympathy with Benitez in that regard, as he missing his first two choices upfront in Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison.

Rondon’s performances so far have not inspired much confidence, as he has failed to score in eight Premier League appearances for the Toffees.

The problem is, there are very few alternatives to the Colombian. Cenk Tosun has been named on the bench in the last three games, but does not have a long-term future at Everton.

Ball calls for younger names to be given an opportunity and he is likely to be referring to 20-year-old Ellis Simms.

Simms, who was also in the matchday squad at Manchester City, was described as “outstanding” by David Unsworth for his performance and attitude for the Under-23 side against Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday night.

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