By Alan Hutton

1st Dec, 2021 | 4:00pm

Benitez has made desperate Doucoure call ahead of Everton clash after confession - pundit

Alan Hutton has suggested Rafael Benitez was desperate to get Abdoulaye Doucoure up to speed for Everton ahead of Thursday’s derby clash against Liverpool.

The former Scotland defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Toffees need the 28-year-old firing on all cylinders to get anything out of the Reds’ visit to Goodison Park.

Doucoure made his first appearance in five games against the Bees after returning from a broken metatarsal.

As quoted by the Daily Mail (25 November) prior to the game, Benitez confessed it was a “risk” to bring the midfielder back in.

Hutton suggested the Spanish manager felt he had to take a gamble to get the former Watford star up to speed for derby day.

Asked if Doucoure’s start against Brentford was a case of Benitez desperately getting minutes in his legs, Hutton told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Exactly. That’s exactly what it is.

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“He’s one of their best players. I think when Doucoure and Allan play in central midfield, they look very strong. Doucoure is a powerful runner, he can get up and down and they need him. It’s quite as simple as that.

“They’re going through a tough period of time and you need your best players. So, get the minutes in the legs looking forward to this derby game. You hope he can give one of his better performances.

“They need these top players to stand up and be counted. If they flop in this, you know what happens. The manager is going to be under intense pressure.

“It’s at home, so they need a good performance. They need a response from that Brentford defeat, which really wasn’t good enough.”

Doucoure has made nine starts in the Premier League this season.

He has scored twice and contributed four assists.

In other news, Kieran Maguire issues “£498million” Everton “investment” reveal ahead of January.