By Noel Whelan

2nd Nov, 2021 | 5:00pm

Pundit makes 'huge' Doucoure claim after 'massive' Everton injury update from Romano

Noel Whelan has insisted the early injury return of midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure will be “huge for Everton”.

The former Leeds striker, speaking exclusively to Football Insider, claimed the 28-year-old’s comeback would provide the Toffees with extra “creativity” after the departure of James Rodriguez.

As confirmed by Everton last month (19th October), Doucoure suffered a stress fracture in his foot during the October defeat against West Ham.

As reported by Fabrizio Romano (October 26th), the midfielder is set to return “earlier than expected”, with the journalist estimating a comeback around the start of December.

The Frenchman suffered a similar injury at the end of last season and subsequently missed nine games (Transfermarkt).

Whelan suggested the former Watford midfielder’s return would be a “massive plus”, with Rafa Benitez’s side winless since his injury.

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“That’ll be huge for Everton,” he told Football Insider.

“He’s one of those players who goes box-to-box, 18-yard to 18-yard, and the manager has given him that bit more attacking freedom this season.

“We’ve seen him getting into the box a lot more and it’s been highly effective with the goals and assists he’s managed to get.

“The shackles have come off for him this season, he’s not been restricted – he’s been given a real licence to express himself and cause opposition problems.

“He looked like he was enjoying a new lease of life before the injury.

“It will be a massive plus for him to come back, especially as they’ve lost Rodriguez so any creativity in that midfield area will be welcome.”

Doucoure has netted twice and assisted four in eight league games this term.

He signed for Everton for a reported £20million last summer.

In other news, Kieran Maguire has claimed Everton are locked in a boardroom ‘battle’ after announcement.