Everton have been dealt a blow ahead of their Premier League opener against Southampton after five of their players were forced to self-isolate after Covid-19 complications.
Toffees boss Rafa Benitez confirmed that James Rodriguez is one the five who will be missing on Saturday, with the BBC confirming that the five cases are separate and thankfully not part of a wider outbreak within the first-team.
Positive team news was also revealed by Benitez though with forwards Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison available for selection.
Saints have also have some good news in terms of availability ahead of the game.
Southampton travel to Goodison Park at close to full strength
More from Saints Marching
- Grading the Southampton Transfer Window Part 2: Arrivals
- Grading the Southampton Transfer Window Part 1: Departures
- It’s time to talk about Gavin Bazunu
- Rain clouds on the horizon? Southampton beat Plymouth Argyle
- A lament for Southampton legend James Ward-Prowse
Saints boss Ralph Hasenhuttl confirmed that captain James Ward-Prowse was fit again after a full week of training and will be available for selection on Saturday.
The 26-year-old midfielder struggled with a knee injury during pre-season and was only able to play in one of Saints’ five friendlies. Now though, he will provide a boost to his team as they prepare for their first competitive game in three months.
The only confirmed injury in the Saints first-team is Will Smallbone as he continues his recovery from an ACL injury picked up last January. Sam McQueen has been handed a six-month deal with the club but little is known about his potential return to playing football.
Ralph Hasenhuttl also spoke during his pre-match press conference about the new signings that Saints have made.
He seemed to suggest that Romain Perraud and Tino Livramento were more likely to be involved from the start than Adam Armstrong and Armando Broja – the latter two having little time to train with their new teammates after joining the club on Monday.
With some good options now available to Hasenhuttl despite the departures of Danny Ings, Jannik Vestergaard and Ryan Bertrand, he will be pondering which players to include in his first starting line-up for the new campaign.