Everton manager Marco Silva will need to see summer signing Jean-Philippe Gbamin step up against Aston Villa in the expected absence of Fabian Delph.
According to Phil Kirkbride of the Liverpool Echo, Delph has returned to first-team training at Finch Farm, although it is anticipated that the former Manchester City man will not be rushed into a return to action.
Delph signed a three-year contract with the Toffees earlier in the summer after joining in a deal worth up to £10million, but has barely tasted any game time under Silva after suffering a groin injury just five minutes into his nightmare first start in Royal Blue during the club’s pre-season tie with Werder Bremen.
The £80,00-a-week England midfielder may play a part in the overall matchday squad that travels to Villa Park on Friday, but is unlikely to start, after he was not deemed fit to face Watford at the weekend.
Former FSV Mainz 05 ace Gbamin was handed his first competitive Blues start against the Hornets instead, but Silva was left slightly disheartened by the £25million man’s second Premier League appearance.
“J-P is 23-years-old and he has to adapt fast to the pace, the intensity, he has to think faster in the Premier League to perform better every single match,” the boss noted after we beat his former side 1-0, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo.
Ivory Coast international Gbamin’s performance against Watford was marginally stronger than against Crystal Palace, when he came on as a second-half substitute following an injury to Andre Gomes, but there is still clear room for improvement.
The 6 ft 1 midfielder recorded three times as many successful tackles against the Hornets as he did against the Eagles, however his pass accuracy dropped from 77.4% to 66.7%, despite only attempting eight more in the extra 45 minutes he featured in.
Gbamin was also dispossessed twice and lost possess through unsuccessful touches once in each game, while recording his first Premier League interception and fouls against Javi Gracia’s Vicarage Road natives.