By Goodison News speaking to Kevin Campbell

26th Apr, 2023 | 8:10am

Abdoulaye Doucoure central to Sean Dyche issues as Sky Sports pundit eyes 'fruitful' Everton return for Newcastle clash

We’re delighted to welcome former Everton striker Kevin Campbell as our exclusive columnist. Each week the former Toffees captain will be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Goodison Park…

Abdoulaye Doucouré being absent for Everton has been a big part of why the form has suffered of late believes Kevin Campbell ahead of his return.

The midfielder was suspended for three games after being sent off in a controversial incident with Harry Kane in the 1-1 draw on 3 April, with Sean Dyche attempting to get by with a 4-4-2 formation that hasn’t worked.

But the 30-year-old is free to be brought back in for the visit of Newcastle on Thursday (27 April) and Campbell has his eye on the “quality” player returning.

The Sky Sports pundit exclusively told Goodison News: “Doucouré’s a box-to-box player who I think can come up with a goal as well, and a pass. 

“They’ve missed him, having that three in midfield. 

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“It’s proven to be quite fruitful for Sean Dyche. 

“Obviously he’s gone back to a 4-4-2 at times, probably just to get two players up top to try and hold the ball up there. When you don’t have Dominic Calvert-Lewin firing on all cylinders. 

“I think he’s had to tinker with the squad a little bit because of Doucouré’s absence. 

“But he can play next game can’t he? He’s done his three so he can come back into the fold. 

“I’m sure he’s one of the players who Sean Dyche missed because he does have experience, he does have quality, and he’s got good size and an eye for goal.”

When he was frozen out under Frank Lampard few would have envisaged Doucouré emerging as one of the most important figures in the Everton relegation battle.

The shape of the team when he’s available and the goals he has come up with have shown what a difference he makes so his return is very welcome for the tough task of facing the Magpies.

Whether his performances since Dyche came in may have secured him a new contract to stay at Goodison Park remains to be seen, but it’s certainly more likely than it was six months ago.