Everton boss Ancelotti: Iwobi has opportunity to play in James and Richarlison's absence

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Alex Iwobi of Everton
Visionhaus / Contributor
The Nigeria international is in contention to make his first Premier League start of the season on Sunday

Richarlison and James Rodriguez's absence could offer an opportunity for "hard-working" Alex Iwobi to demonstrate his own qualities, according to Everton manager Carlo Ancelotti.

Richarlison will serve a three-match ban after he was a shown a straight card for a challenge on Liverpool's Thiago Alcantara during the Merseyside derby last Saturday.

James, meanwhile, is expected to miss Sunday's league match against Southampton through injury.

The update might come as a chance for Iwobi to start a league game having played a substitute role in four league matches for Everton this campaign.

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The Nigeria midfielder replaced Abdoulaye Doucoure in the Toffees' 2-2 draw against Liverpool last week.

With a number of players ruled out of Sunday’s encounter against the Saints, Ancelotti believes the 24-year-old can add more quality to the team’s performance.

“We have to put in other players who have the desire to play,” Ancelotti told the club website, as he expects right-back Coleman to miss “two or three weeks” with “not a big problem”.

“We are working this week on this and I think we are going to choose a good line-up for the game against Southampton.

“Alex is a player who works hard. He is fast and with his quality he can help the team be better in certain situations.

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“He [potentially] has an opportunity to play but also we have Bernard and Anthony Gordon.

“We have a lot of opportunities to replace Richarlison and James. We are already moving on.”

Iwobi is yet to start a Premier League match for Everton since their 1-1 draw against Aston Villa in July 2020. He has scored a goal in six appearances across all competitions so far this season.

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