Benitez told he can't 'get rid of' Digne after Everton bust-up - pundit
Under-pressure boss Rafa Benitez must move quickly to patch up his relationship with Everton defender Lucas Digne, according to Kevin Phillips.
The former Sunderland striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the Toffees “can’t afford to lose” the 28-year-old.
Digne was omitted from the matchday squad as Everton sealed a 2-1 home victory against Arsenal on Monday (6 December).
Speaking after the game, as quoted by Sky Sports, Benitez insisted his “priority is the team” when probed about the Frenchman’s omission.
However, the Athletic reported on Wednesday (8 December) that the pair had been embroiled in a training ground spat in the run-up to Monday’s game after recent tensions boiled over.
Phillips insisted Digne can still work his way back into the manager’s plans.
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“They can’t afford to lose him,” he told Football Insider‘s Ewan Kingsbury.
“It’s a dangerous game to play for Rafa Benitez, who is already under pressure at the club, to then have a rift with one of the top players.
“I’m not convinced that it’s gone to the point where he will need to exit the club in January.
“He’s been one of their best defenders and top performers, so why would you want to get rid of him?
“Arguments happen, and that will have to be sorted out on the training ground – he’s too important to Everton.”
Digne joined Everton from Barcelona for a reported initial fee of £18million.
The left-back has made 127 appearances for the Toffees, scoring six goals.
The 28-year-old also has 43 caps for France.