Nathan Patterson: Everton manager discusses new signing from Rangers and starting XI prospects
Everton manager Rafa Benitez is mulling over whether to hand new signing Nathan Patterson his debut against Hull City in the FA Cup on Saturday.
The Toffees bought Patterson from Rangers earlier this week for a deal that could earn the Glasgow club up to £16million and the Scotland internationalist is in the squad for the trip to the KCOM Stadium.
Everton also strengthened their options at left-back by bringing in Ukraine internationalist Vitaliy Mykolenko, and he too is in contention for a place in the starting XI.
On the potential of playing Patterson and Mykolenko, Benitez said: “We know both players well and know about their potential.
“The first training season for them was to settle down and on Thursday it was much better, more communication with their teammates. Both players want to do well and perform.
“Are they ready? We will see. If we have to play them they can play, in terms of fitness they have been 15, 20 days without training so we need to consider all the aspects.
“Maybe they can start, maybe one, maybe both.
“We have to consider if they are fit enough for an important game like this one.”
Benitez insists he is not interested in pandering to the ego of Lucas Digne and that is why the breakdown of their relationship has led to the defender asking to leave.
The France full-back has not played since the Merseyside derby defeat at home to Liverpool on December 1 after a fall-out with the Spaniard over tactics and his role in the team.
"We are professionals, we are paid big money to do our job and if someone is happy or not happy it is (still) up to you to perform in your job," Benitez said.
"You have to be available, you have to put your interests behind the interests of the club.
"The question is what the team needs or what the team needed and then we didn't have that.
"If you are not thinking about that the priority is you and not the team.
"A team that finished 10th and someone is worried about their stats changes nothing for me.
"I don't want to finish 10th, I'd like to be in a much better position, I am not stupid. I want to finish as high as possible.
"The club is growing and improving and we are creating a winning mentality for the future but it will take some time.
"In the meantime you need players who really want to be here. We have to consider what we want to do in our future.
"Do we want to try and improve or just manage the egos and leave the team behind depending on the egos?"