Everton captain Phil Jagielka has told the club's website that he is desperate to be given more game time as he struggles to gain a regular place in Sam Allardyce's starting line-up.
The Toffees brought in Eliaquim Mangala on loan from Manchester City on deadline day, while Argentina international Ramiro Funes Mori has stepped up his recovery from a long-term knee injury by featuring twice for the Under-23's.
Jagielka, 35, was left out of Everton's squad for the last two Premier League matches against Arsenal and Crystal Palace, despite featuring for 90 minutes in the 2-1 win over Leicester City last month.
He discusses the competition at centre-back and understands the need to remain patient in search of first-team football, despite his desire for more action under Allardyce. He was forced to miss Saturday's win over Palace with injury.
“We seem to have four, five, six centre-halves at the moment,” Jagielka said. I am desperate to get out there with Mason and Ash and the rest. I do not need to be looking that far and intensely into it. I am trying to get fit to train first and then go from there.
"I have played a lot of games in my career and I understand football can change quickly. I want to play but I understand how it goes.
"I have got to be patient and, hopefully, we keep playing as well as we did in the second half against Crystal Palace and getting the goals and winning games.”
Prior to the Arsenal and Palace games, Jagielka had been on a run of playing one every two Premier League games, featuring against Chelsea, Bournemouth, Spurs and Leicester, but missing Swansea, Manchester United and the two West Brom games.
With a contract until the summer of 2019, which is reportedly worth £50,000 a week, Jagielka needs to be playing regularly if he is to show the Merseyside club why he deserves to remain at Goodison Park beyond the end of the 2018-19 season.