Rafa Benitez has voiced his hope for Ellis Simms being an option for Everton if he improves his movement amid mounting injuries at Goodison Park, he told EvertonFC.com.

Simms made his first appearance in a matchday squad this season as the Toffees lost at Aston Villa on Saturday. The 20-year-old played no role in the action as Everton’s unbeaten start ended, though, with Benitez admitting he is still striving to regain fitness.

Simms missed the start of the campaign as he continued his recovery from groin surgery. He sustained the issue in training before the League One play-off final in May while on loan with Blackpool. The former England U18 ace had scored 10 in 23 games with the Seasiders.

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A space opened in Benitez’s squad for Simms with Everton dealing with mounting injuries, but minutes still await. Richarlison, Jordan Pickford, Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Seamus Coleman were all unavailable against Aston Villa.

“I went to talk to Marcel [Brands] about the situation and Simms, who’d had a couple of training sessions, was there,” Benitez explained. “I said: ‘Are you happy to go, are you ready?’ He said: ‘Yeah, yeah, I am ready’.

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“So, after some months injured, we had to take him. The lad was really happy and excited, but we knew he was not ready and is still not ready. I was pleased, because after some months he had the desire and was convinced he could help the team.

“I saw some videos of him and in the training sessions I saw him. He is a big lad, and we were working on his movements a little bit. He can score goals and, hopefully, if he can improve his movement, you never know, he is an option for us.”

Should Benitez field Simms when Everton face QPR on Tuesday?

Simms showed vast potential in Everton’s academy ranks before his Blackpool loan that Benitez will be looking to now fulfil. The youngster has left an impression on the Spaniard at Finch Farm but will, seemingly, need to improve his movement.

The Toffees’ trip to Queens Park Rangers in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday may come too soon for Simms. He missed the entirety of pre-season as he recovered from his groin injury, which effectively ruled out another loan transfer.

Clubs will have taken note of how Simms adapted to Blackpool in his first taste of first-team football. The Oldham-born forward is yet to make his Everton debut, with Saturday’s outing his fifth appearance on the Toffees bench. He has scored 17 in 36 with the Blues’ U23s.

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