Kurt Zouma backs Everton to fill void left by banned Richarlison

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Kurt Zouma has backed Everton to deal without the suspended Richarlison – even though he admits the forward is an “important player” for the Toffees.

After starting the season with three goals in his opening two games following a summer switch from Watford, the 21-year-old was sent off at Bournemouth for headbutting Adam Smith.

Richarlison will now sit out the next three games, including Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup second-round clash at home to Rotherham.

But fellow new recruit Zouma, on a season-long loan from Chelsea, believes someone else will be ready to step in and stake a claim for a place in Marco Silva’s side.

“To be fair, in every team there is competition, if one goes out another comes in to do the same or even better,” he said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.

“We have played very well in the three games, especially in two away games with 10 men.

“The attitude was fantastic and you can see the spirit on the pitch, everyone wants to give 100 per cent and that is what we want to do all season.”

Richarlison’s impressive start to the season has seen the former Fluminese man called up to the Brazil squad for the first time.

Zouma, who is in line to make his first start since moving to Goodison Park at the close of the transfer window, has been suitably impressed.

“He is an important player for us,” the France international said.

“He is a very good player and is quite young – maybe he was a bit too emotional (with the red card) but he is very young and a top quality player so he will bounce back and come back and help us.”

Zouma has had to wait for his chance at Everton but was a late substitute in the draw at Bournemouth after Michael Keane suffered a hairline fracture to the skull in the closing stages.

Now the 23-year-old – who spent last year on loan at Stoke – is ready to make a play for a regular place in the side.

“I came here to play and help the team to win games,” he added.

“It is never easy to come into these kind of games, especially when one of your team-mates is injured but I hope he (Keane) is feeling well and all of the squad wish him well.”

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