Rafa Benitez believes Ben Godfrey is still 30-per-cent short of maximum capacity as a result of contracting coronavirus before the start of the season.
The defender was signed by Carlo Ancelotti last summer from Norwich City and quickly became a fan favourite at Goodison Park.
However, he missed Everton’s opening four games of the campaign after testing positive for Covid before his side’s Premier League opener at home to Southampton.
But Godfrey started his fourth straight match in the 2-0 victory over former club Norwich on Saturday, having also played a full 90 minutes against Queens Park Rangers last week.
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And Benitez now expects Godfrey to progressively grow into the campaign as he increases his fitness levels.
“We cannot forget he had COVID and it was quite difficult for him,” Benitez told evertontv. He is getting better and, little-by-little, he will be better still.
“His fitness is maybe 70 per cent, he can improve a lot. In terms of his understanding and position and things he has to do, he is very keen to learn.
“We are talking all the time on the training ground, so he can improve, and I am sure he will do it.”
Godfrey played at right-back against Norwich on Saturday, having also played there in the defeat to Aston Villa last weekend.
He has also operated in a three-man backline for the Blues this season, having impressed at centre-back last year.
And Benitez has explained how Godfrey’s position is selected based upon the type of forward Everton are set to come up against in that game.
He said: “[His strongest position] depends on the striker. If the striker is too big, maybe full-back. If the striker is quick, he can play centre-back.
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“I had this conversation with him two months ago. He can play on the left, as a left full-back, as a left centre-back, there are not too many left-footed left-backs and left centre-backs.
“He has the pace and is right footed. If he can improve that [left foot] he will be a much better player.
“At the moment, it is just understanding the roles of a centre-back and full-back and different positions. We are working on that, he is working on that, and he will be better.”