Noel Whelan has insisted the return of Abdoulaye Doucoure will be a “massive boost” for Everton ahead of a busy festive period.
The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 28-year-old can help arrest the slide which sees the Toffees winless in seven games.
Doucoure made his injury return as Everton fell to yet another defeat in a 1-0 away loss against Brentford on Sunday (November 28th).
Speaking before Everton take on Liverpool and quoted by journalist Adam Jones (November 30th), manager Rafa Benitez confirmed Andre Gomes has also returned to training.
However, Tom Davies, Yerry Mina and Dominic Calvert-Lewin remain sidelined for the Toffees.
Whelan hailed the importance of having key players return at this stage of the season.
“It’s a massive boost – this is when you want to start getting all these injured players back,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“He’s been given that freedom this season by Benitez. Doucoure can really help them create more in those three-quarter zones.
“This time of year is a really strenuous period for clubs. Everyone knows that Christmas doesn’t come on a footballer’s calendar. The training and matches are coming at you thick and fast.
“Everton needed him back as soon as possible. He is a huge player who can really help shore them up and try and stop this run. Having Gomes back is also huge.
“They can’t keep losing games. If they do, it’s going to be a really long Christmas for them.”