Benitez reveals Chelsea and Newcastle-linked star has asked to leave

Dan Butterfield
Everton manager Rafa Benitez and defender Lucas Digne

Everton manager Rafael Benitez has revealed that defender Lucas Digne has asked to leave the club, amid links to both Chelsea and Newcastle.

The French defender hasn’t featured for the Toffees since the Merseyside Derby defeat to Liverpool at the start of December and has been linked with a move away from Goodison Park.

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His manager has now revealed that he has asked to leave the club.

“I think he was very clear,” Benitez said.

“I want to ask a question to any fan or former player, what Peter Reid will say if a player goes and says he doesn’t want to be here? Simple.

“I have had a couple of conversations with him. He told me what he thought, so what do you expect the manager to do when a player is thinking about leaving and a players says he does not want to be here.”

“I have no explanation [for why he wants to leave]. If someone is happy or not happy, you are paid big money and have to perform. Modern football, maybe the stats and the priorities have changed and maybe people think about themselves before the team.”

“Do we want to grow and improve or just to manage the egos?”

Everton take on Hull on Saturday in the FA Cup and the Toffees boss is hopeful his side can go on a good run in this seasons competition.

“To win any trophy is massive, it’s not easy. If you’re in a top side, you have more chances, it’s really important to appreciate how difficult it is. Hopefully, what I said before, we can do a good run.”

The game will be chance for new signings Nathan Patterson and Vitali Mykolenko to make their first appearance for the club, but Benitez admitted he is yet to make a decision on if the duo will start.

“We know both players well and know about their potential,” Benitez said

“The first training session was for them to settle down. Both players showed they want to do well and perform. Are they ready? We will see.

“Today we have another training session. If you have to play them, they can play but in terms of fitness they have been 15-20 days without training.

“Maybe they can start, maybe one of them, maybe both. They’ve been 15 days without training so we have to consider if they’re fit enough for an important game like this one.”