By Adefunmiloye Alani

14th Jan, 2022 | 8:40pm

Kaveh Solhekol: Digne's Everton problems started when Benitez took him off set-pieces

Lucas Digne left Everton during the week after falling out with Rafa Benitez, and Kaveh Solhekol has shared what he heard about it on Sky Sports.

The journalist claimed on The Transfer Show on Sky Sports News that the problem between the duo may have started after the Spaniard took the Frenchman off set-pieces.

Prior to Benitez’s arrival, Digne was a key part of the Toffees attack despite being a left-back, weighing in with goals and assists on a regular basis, but he left for Aston Villa without an input in the final third in the 2021-22 top-flight campaign.

Solhekol said: “Somebody told me that the problems started, or one of the issues was that Rafa Benitez took him off set-piece duties.

“He’d been used to taking all the set pieces at Everton and then Rafa Benitez said no, Andros Townsend is going to take them from now on.

“That’s not confirmed, that’s just something that one person told me.”

Very possible

Digne was involved in 22 goals (18 assists and four goals) in his three first seasons at Everton, but he could not score or assist in his last 13 league games in the club’s colours.

His only goal this season came in the League Cup clash against Queens Park Rangers in September, and he would have been left frustrated after he was taken off the dead balls.

Most of his assists and goals at Goodison Park came from corners and freekicks, and the shift in the system and being handed more defensive responsibilities definitely did not help.

Everton were clearly no longer maximising his ability, and he will be hoping to show Benitez what he is missing when he gets to Villa Park.

Steven Gerrard has continued to play attacking football since becoming a manager, and that surely would have attracted Digne.

Townsend is a great player when it comes to delivering crosses and taking set-pieces, so Benitez has not done anything bad by giving the duty to him.

However, such a gesture would always hurt any player, and the exit was best for both parties.

In other Everton news, the Toffees are plotting January loan-to-buy bid for centre-mid hailed by Jack Grealish last month.

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