Football

Rafa Benitez makes Fabian Delph admission after Everton injury

Fabian Delph “still needs time” to fully recover from dislocating his shoulder before he can return to training, Everton boss Rafa Benitez has said.

Fabian Delph “still needs time” to fully recover from dislocating his shoulder before he can return to training, Everton boss Rafa Benitez has said.

The Blues’ midfielder had impressed Benitez in the opening weeks of the season but was stopped in his tracks when he damaged his shoulder in a session in September.

Delph has now missed the last seven league and cup matches and though Benitez says the 31-year-old is improving, he was unable to put an exact timescale on his return.

Speaking from Finch Farm on Friday afternoon, Benitez said: “I was talking to him 10 minutes ago and asking him if he is getting better but the bone has to heal and he needs some time.

“He’s getting better, stronger and is quite positive and waiting for the green light to start training with the team.”

Benitez, meanwhile, has praised the Everton squad for a start to the season which sees them begin the weekend in the fifth position.

But the 61-year-old admits he has been pleasantly surprised by how well the campaign has begun.

“To be fair, at the beginning when you come to a new club and need to get to know the players, it could be difficult,” he said.

“But the attitude of the players, their commitment was really good from day one.

“They are keen to do what we want. Everything was quite good.

“There were some doubts after the friendly with Manchester United but the result was not quite what happened on the pitch. Little by little, it was growing. I am not surprised because I was watching every day and liking what I was watching.”

Benitez continued: “I was not expecting to do so well, but with the chances against Leeds, QPR and Man Utd we could be doing even better.

“We can be quite ambitious and try to do better even when doing well.”

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