By Alan Hutton

15th Dec, 2021 | 12:09pm

Benitez facing dressing room backlash at Everton after update on Digne 'bust-up' - pundit

Alan Hutton has claimed the Everton squad may be unhappy with Rafael Benitez leaving Lucas Digne out of the side against Arsenal and Crystal Palace.

The former Rangers defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the rest of the players would want the 28-year-old back in to help turn their dire form around.

As quoted by the Athletic’s Patrick Boyland on Sunday (12 December), Benitez stated Digne has been “training well” could be in contention for upcoming games after being left out for the last two.

As reported by the Athletic (8 December), Digne was dropped against Arsenal after a row with Benitez and was excluded again versus Crystal Palace.

Hutton insisted the rift between player and manager could impact the rest of the Toffees’ changing room.

Hutton told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “I think it could be (causing issues), especially between the boys.

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“I don’t think it will be something where they’ll have conversations out in front of everybody. They know what he brings to the team.

“He’s very technical, he gets forward, puts balls in the box, dangerous at set-pieces. When you’re struggling you need all your good players on the pitch.

“If he has had a ding-dong with Rafa over tactics or style, you have to keep these things in-house. For whatever reason, they always leak out and it never ends well.

“Ultimately, you need all your top performers to be performing on the pitch. Probably behind the scenes, the boys are not too happy with it. They’ll want it fixed so they can get back to him playing.”

Digne played in all but one of Everton’s opening 14 Premier League fixtures under Benitez.

Ben Godfrey has filled in at left-back during the Frenchman’s absence.

In other news, Everton told to bin senior forward after Kieran Maguire’s £35million reveal.