Everton Boss Gives Team News Update

Everton manager Rafa Benitez has revealed Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are fit for Saturday’s Premier League opener against Southampton (3pm BST) – but five players will miss the match because they are self-isolating.

Benitez confirmed James Rodriguez is one of those in isolation due to COVID-19 protocols but did not expand on the others unavailable for selection.

Richarlison returned to Everton training on Wednesday, having played a key role in Brazil’s Olympic Games triumph in Japan.

Calvert-Lewin, meanwhile, has recovered from the toe injury which kept him out of last Saturday’s friendly at Manchester United.

Speaking at his pre-match press conference at USM Finch Farm on Friday afternoon, Benitez was asked about the importance of the strike pair's availability – and how the Club will manage Richarlison's workload following his participation in the Copa America and the Olympics.

"These are key players for us," he said.

"If you analyse the stats over the past year, you see Richarlison and Dominic were scoring goals. 

"When Richarlison wanted to go to the Olympic Games, we analysed the pros and the cons – and we decided it will be a good opportunity for him, to have the chance to win.

"He won the medal, he is happy. He knows we need him now and knows we will try to manage his time off, his holidays, to be sure recovers quickly.

"At the moment, he is fine, he has been training well and he is keen to help the team."

When quizzed about James' condition, Benitez added: "We have some players who are in isolation and we have to manage that.

"We have to be very careful, and some players have to be at home. James is one of them.

"I will not name too many players because I think it is better not to do it."