COMMENT By Emma Sanders
Everton must start Enner Valencia against Leicester because he has not been given enough opportunities by Ronald Koeman and deserves a chance to fight for his first-team place.
The 27-year-old came on as a substitute to score a 73rd minute goal and assist another during the 3-0 victory over Southampton on Monday and he deserves to be handed a start.
They were his first returns in 19 appearances this season but he hasn’t had much of a chance in the Hammers starting XI.
The two Premier League teams go head-to-head in Saturday’s FA Cup third round tie and Valencia should make just his fifth start of the season for Everton.
Valencia joined the Blues on loan from West Ham in the summer but he has only been used as a bit-part player under Koeman, who has often opted to deploy Aaron Lennon or Yannick Bolasie in his place.
Since Bolasie’s season-ending injury, Valencia has failed to fight his way into the starting XI but he has not been given enough opportunities to shine under the Blues’ boss.
The Ecuador international has lots of pace and has a great work ethic on the wing – he has qualities which can make an impact in the side.
Lennon has performed well as part of an attacking three but the FA Cup clash against Leicester is a perfect opportunity to allow Valencia to fight for a starting position in the Premier League.
He could be up against some young, creative players in the Leicester side so Valencia can offer more defensive solidity than Lennon which could prove vital in the FA Cup tie.
In other Everton news, fans react on Twitter as Koeman makes his first winter signing.