The return of Mason Holgate to Everton training is “great” news, according to Danny Mills.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former England defender hailed the 24-year-old as a “real talent” who will intensify competition for places in Carlo Ancelotti’s team.
Holgate has missed the opening 10 Everton matches of the season because of the toe injury he sustained in the final warm-up game of pre-season against Preston North End.
The Liverpool Echo have reported that Holgate is now on the comeback trail after returning to training.
He established himself as a regular in the centre of Everton’s defence last season and was rewarded with a new five-year contract earlier this year.
“Having Mason Holgate is great news, it will bring back competition for places and that is what Everton need if they want to compete at the very top level,” Mills told Football Insider.
“I am talking about competing for the top six. You cannot just rely on a squad of 13/14 players, not with the fixture pile-up this season.
“Holgate coming back adds not only competition for places but it raises the quality of training and should raise the standards of the whole squad. He’s a real talent.”
Michael Keane and Yerry Mina have been the first choice central defensive pair at Goodison Park this season.
Keane has started all 10 of Everton’s matches and even chipped in with three goals, while Mina has started the team’s seven Premier League games but not featured in the League Cup.
Carlo Ancelotti added Ben Godfrey to the squad’s defensive ranks in the summer window as he joined from Norwich City for an initial £25million.