'Fantastic' - Exclusive: Pundit delighted after official Everton player development
Noel Whelan has revealed his delight after Lucas Digne’s suspension for Everton was reduced to a one-game ban.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, the former Premier League striker has admitted that the 27-year-old did deserve to see red against Southampton but that his foul was “clumsy” instead of “intentional”.
Digne was sent off after treading on Kyle Walker-Peters’ Achilles but, as confirmed in an official statement from Everton, will miss just one game rather than three.
— Everton (@Everton) October 27, 2020
The left-back will sit out the Toffees’ clash with Newcastle United on Sunday but will be back available for the home tie against Manchester United.
Whelan has admitted he is relieved the officials “saw sense” and reduced Digne’s punishment after the “unfortunate” coming together.
“It’s a clumsy challenge, it wasn’t malicious but it was the right thing to do, the red card – it endangered the opponent,” Whelan told Football Insider.
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“It was a lack of stride, I think – he slowed down, Digne was still going at the same pace, but it was a red card no matter what way you look at it. It’s unfortunate for Digne because he’s a fantastic left-back and someone that takes set-pieces as well.
“It wasn’t malicious, it wasn’t intentional. It is right, I’m glad they did that, you can see there’s no intention from Digne to hurt the player. I’m glad they changed it and saw sense.”
Digne had played every single minute of Everton’s Premier League campaign so far before his sending off, with two assists under his belt.