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Digne ‘was DROPPED by Benitez and banished from Everton squad ahead of Arsenal clash after training ground row’

LUCAS DIGNE was dropped by Everton after a series of disagreements with Rafa Benitez.

The Frenchman has been a key player at Goodison Park since joining in 2018.

His form earned a bumper new long-term contract last year.

But he was nowhere to be seen as Everton's teamsheet dropped for Monday night's 2-1 victory over Arsenal.

According to The Athletic, this was because of a bust up between the 28-year-old and Benitez.

The pair have reportedly had a fractious relationship since the former Liverpool boss' arrival in the summer.

Digne has been 'frustrated' by Benitez's defensive football - feeling that it has prevented his ability to affect matches.

He has also been annoyed by getting taken off set pieces, a previous route to goals and assists.

The 43-cap international has 'challenged' Benitez with 'increasing regularity'.

And tensions 'boiled over' in the build-up to Monday's clash.

Digne has been challenging Benitez in his boss' native tongue, speaking good Spanish after spending two years at Barcelona prior to joining Everton.

And he was banished from the Toffees' first-team group ahead of Monday's match.

Questioned about Digne's absence, coy Benitez said: "As a manager, you have to make decisions and you have to do your team selection.

“I decided that Ben Godfrey could be a good option for us for this game. He did really well, so I am really pleased with that. That’s it.

"The main thing is to be sure the team is performing and we have the right mentality.”

Some believe that the 'likeliest' option is that Digne will look to leave Goodison Park either in January or next summer - with trust now 'eroded'.

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