Carlo Ancelotti has confirmed Jean-Philippe Gbamin is in contention to be included in Everton’s matchday squad for the first time since August 2019 when the Blues host Crystal Palace on Monday evening – but stressed the Club will carefully manage the Ivorian's return to competitive action.
James Rodriguez is fit and available for the Palace clash but Jordan Pickford remains sidelined with an abdominal problem – Ancelotti added he believes the England goalkeeper could resume training next week.
Robin Olsen has recovered from a similar injury, however, and Ancelotti is hopeful Ben Godfrey and Tom Davies will be able to feature after missing England Under-21s’ 2-1 victory over Croatia on Wednesday with minor knocks.
Bernard, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Fabian Delph will miss Monday’s match.
Gbamin, 25, returned to First-Team training last week. The midfielder, who joined Everton from FSV Mainz in summer 2019, has been out with serious hamstring and Achilles injuries.
“Gbamin is in good condition," said Ancelotti, who was speaking at his pre-match press conference. “It is really good news. He trained this week and last week. He did well and he feels comfortable.
“I think the medical staff did a fantastic job with him. He is ready to play.
“He will put physicality and quality into the squad – and a strong desire to play. It is like we have a new player. We are really pleased to have him back.
“But we have to consider the fact he didn’t play for at least one year and a half.
“I don’t know if he is going to play on Monday but, for sure, he will be available.”
James has been unable to feature for the Blues since the 2-0 Merseyside derby victory at Anfield on 20 February due to a calf problem.
The Colombian returned to training during the international break, however, and will be hoping to add to the five goals and four assists he has registered in the Premier League this season when Palace visit Goodison.
“James is in good condition and he trained well during the break,” Ancelotti added. “It is important for us to have him back at his best. At the start of the season, he did really well. He helped the team to score goals.
“He is motivated and his physicality is good in this moment. He is going to put more quality, of course, in our attacking play.
“I am quite confident because I see him in training working well, in good condition and with a good attitude.”
Ancelotti added: “Delph and Bernard are out [of the Palace game]. Doucoure’s recovery is going well but we have to be patient with him.
“Davies and Godfrey had little problems. I think they will be available on Monday. Davies trained without problems today [Friday]. Godfrey did an individual session, but he will be available for the game.
“Jordan Pickford is not available but Robin Olsen will be okay. I'm not sure how long it will be before Jordan is ready to play again.
“He's improving day-by-day but he still hasn't worked on the pitch. Maybe he will start next week to train on the pitch with the goalkeeper coach.
“We are well covered in goal with three good keepers.
“Joao Virginia did really well [in the past two Premier League matches] and, of course, we hope Jordan is going to recover soon because we need him until the end of the season.”