Teenage defender Morgan Feeney is set to feature in an Everton matchday squad for the first time on Thursday after travelling with the team for the Europa League meeting with Lyon.
However, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines and Wayne Rooney will not be involved in France, with David Unsworth opting to rest the players ahead of Sunday’s Premier League visit of Watford.
Feeney, 18, was a Premier League 2 winner with Everton's Under-23s last season and has been a regular for the young Blues once again this campaign.
And Unsworth says the Bootle-born youngster deserves his elevation.
“Morgan’s in the squad, and in the squad on merit,” the former defender told the media inside Lyon’s Groupama Stadium on Wednesday.
“He’s been outstanding last season and this for the Under-23s and we’re a bit short in the defensive area. He’ll certainly be involved [in the matchday squad], but probably from the bench.”
Michael Keane, who sat out Sunday’s defeat at Leicester City with an infection, will also miss the Group E clash, while Seamus Coleman (leg), Ramiro Funes Mori, Yannick Bolasie (both knee) and Ross Barkley (hamstring) are all long-term absentees.
Asked about the omission of Jagielka, Baines and Rooney from the travelling party, Unsworth added: “We just wanted to freshen it up with one eye on Sunday as well. Those lads have played a lot in a short space of time.
“We’ve done that and it’s a great opportunity for others to come in and show me what they’re all about and give me something to think about for Sunday."
Ashley Williams will captain Everton with Jagielka and Baines unavailable.