Everton manager Sean Dyche will have a selection headache going into Saturday’s fixture at Old Trafford on Monday evening, but the change in personnel should offer an opportunity to 22-year-old Ellis Simms.

Dyche has stuck with the midfield trio of Doucoure, Onana and Gana Gueye since his February appointment, with Alex Iwobi shifting from his central position onto the right-wing.

However, with Abdoulaye Doucoure picking up a straight red during Everton’s 1-1 draw with Spurs on Monday night, there must now be a midfield mix-up.

With limited options upfront due to Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s on-going injury concerns, Demarai Gray has operated as the lone striker in recent weeks, with Ellis Simms and Neal Maupay occupying the substitutes bench.

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However, in Doucoure’s absence, Iwobi could reclaim his place in central midfield, allowing Gray to fulfill his role on the right-wing. This would leave a place available upfront for either Simms or Maupay, and I believe the 22-year-old academy graduate has to take the vacant spot.

When asked about the young forward during his press conference ahead of Saturday’s fixture against Manchester United, Dyche stated that Simms is a ‘work in progress’,

Speaking via Everton’s official YouTube channel, Dyche said: “He’s just got to continue working on his game. “He is a work in progress and learning about the Premier League can take time.”

Forced changes at Everton could allow Simms to stake a claim in Sean Dyche’s starting XI

Indeed, the young attacker may be raw and inexperienced, but his youthful enthusiasm and physicality would offer more against United than Frenchman Neal Maupay, who’s performances have been largely insipid for the Blues.

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Simms’ equalising strike in the 2-2 draw at Stamford Bridge last month emphasizes the potential he has as he effortlessly bodied Kalidou Koulibaly off the ball before calmly dispatching past Kepa with aplomb.

Everton need a forward with pace and strength under Dyche’s system, and unfortunately for Maupay he does not possess either, but Simms as an unknown quantity could give United’s backline something to think about on Saturday afternoon.

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