Everton are having to manage Mason Holgate's return to action with Carlo Ancelotti suggesting the defender is not yet 100% fit.

Holgate made his first appearance of the season before the international break when he was handed a start in the game with Manchester United.

Ancelotti, however, only named the 24-year-old on the bench for Sunday's game at Fulham - despite playing with three centre-backs.

But the Italian boss has now opened up on his decision-making and has hinted that Holgate is not yet fit enough to play every game.

“I have this option [to play three at the back], because we have quality in the centre-back position," Ancelotti said.

“We were without Mason Holgate, also. He is recovering from his injury but he is quite fit.

“A fit Mason will be important for us.”

The second-half of Holgate's year has been dogged by injury.

Bernard of Everton celebrates after scoring his team's first goal during the Premier League match between Everton and Manchester United at Goodison Park

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The former Barnsley man had started 23 out of 24 games but an injury sustained against Spurs during the re-start - and then a toe problem sustained in pre-season - have meant he's played only four times for Everton since July.