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Everton receive injury boost as James Rodriguez returns to training

Everton playmaker James Rodriguez has returned to first-team training this week, having missed five games due to a calf problem.

The club posted images of the Colombian in training across their social media channels on Thursday.

While there are no guarantees that Rodriguez will be ready for the clash with Crystal Palace after the international break, this will be a welcome sight for all Everton fans.

Rodriguez was a head-turning signing for Everton last summer, joining from Real Madrid on a three-year deal.

The playmaker has been pivotal in Everton’s offensive third this season, scoring five goals and assisting eight in 21 appearances across all competitions.

Rodriguez last featured for Everton in the 2-1 win over Merseyside rivals Liverpool, where he assisted Richarlison for the Toffees’ first goal.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side have struggled in front of goal since then, scoring just three goals in their last five games.

Speaking about Everton’s chances of securing European football for next season, Ancelotti suggested this week that James’ quality could help the club achieve their target.

“This break can help us recover some players who are out – James and, maybe, [Jean-Philippe] Gbamin,” Carlo Ancelotti explained to EvertonTV.

“We will have a more complete squad and can fight by maintaining the same spirit and attitude [as against Manchester City].

“James can put more quality in the squad, for sure, and with a good condition can help us try to reach our target.

“We are not going to lose a lot of players [on international duty] and have to be focused on those who are here.

“The physical condition of the players is good – [it is important] to have a rest because some players are a little bit tired, then prepare well for the next game.”

Everton will be looking to pick up maximum points in their next two games against Crystal Palace and Brighton, before facing off against top-six rivals Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal and Aston Villa.

Should Everton manage to pick up some impressive results during that run of games, we could even see them make a late push for the top four.

Read: Dominic Calvert-Lewin posts a message on Twitter after England heroics.

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