Defender welcomes Rodwell return
Everton defender Sylvain Distin believes the return to fitness of Jack Rodwell will be like a major new signing for the Merseysiders.
The midfielder struggled with a hamstring problem for the final few months of last season, but he appears to have now put his injury concerns behind him after scoring in Saturday's 4-1 friendly victory over Morecambe. Rodwell's availability is a massive boost for Everton according to Distin, who is a big fan of the 21-year-old's abilities, and leaves manager David Moyes with something of a selection headache in the middle of the park for the new campaign. Moyes is therefore having to weight up the merits of Marouane Fellaini, Tim Cahill, Leon Osman, Darron Gibson and Rodwell for a shirt in central midfield, and his options will increased even further if he pushes through a deal to re-sign Steven Pienaar from Spurs. The Scot has only brought in one new player so far this summer with Steven Naismith having arrived from Rangers, but Distin won't be too worried if there isn't many more. The Frenchman told the club's official website: "Having Jack back is like a new signing. "When you miss someone for that long and then get them back it is the equivalent of signing a new player. "Fingers crossed he can now stay injury free and we will have him for the whole season. "I have seen him in pre-season and seen all the work he has done and he is looking strong." The 34-year-old is also excited about the potential of former Benfica and Manchester City youngster Francisco Junior, who now looks ready for first-team action after joining the Toffees on a free transfer in February. He shone in the win over the Shrimps and Distin expects to see much more of him in the Premier League this term. The centre-back added: "The fans might not have seen much of him but we train together every day and see him every day. "I personally know and feel he has enough quality to play. As you saw [against Morecambe] he loves to get the ball and go forward and dribble past players. He is sharp, has good technique and I think we will see more of him this season. "We don't have a big squad so any young guys like that who can come and compete for a place in the team is good for us."