By Noel Whelan

11th Dec, 2021 | 1:30pm

Pundit issues verdict on Benitez pulling Digne U-turn at Everton after Saturday reveal

Noel Whelan has urged Rafael Benitez to pull a U-turn and bring Lucas Digne back into the Everton squad against Crystal Palace.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, insisted the 28-year-old is too good to be left out after being snubbed for the win over Arsenal.

Speaking to Sky Sports on Friday (10 December), Benitez confirmed he would make a decision today (Saturday, 11 December) on whether Digne will return to the squad on Sunday.

As reported by the Athletic (8 December), Digne was left out after a row with Benitez over his role in the Toffees’ setup.

Whelan insisted Digne is an “exceptional” talent and suggested Benitez should bring him back in against Palace.

Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “Obviously Everton got the win the other night. It wasn’t a very convincing win. Really, it was a win where they stopped the rot.

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“It is a statement of intent from the manager to ask the players to play his way.

“At the same time, it’s quite a risky game when you’ve got a really top-quality wing-back that you need in your side.

“He’s been exceptional since the time that he joined Everton. His quality going forward. Would you really want to hold him back when he’s got that left foot? It is like a wand at times?

“He’s got that attacking presence you need to go out and win games.

“Right now, with the run that they’ve been on, yes, it’s a win and yes, it’s a positive.

“But at the same time you need to be putting out your best players. He’s certainly one of those.”

Digne has played 15 times for Everton this season.

The win over Arsenal was only the second league game he has missed this term.

In other news, injury expert expects new Everton approach after Benitez “risk” backfired.