Abdoulaye Doucoure will be out for a lengthy spell with a foot problem in a further injury setback for Rafael Benitez but will not need surgery.
The midfielder has been key for Benitez this season, producing two goals and four assists in the league – a superior contribution to the entirety of the previous campaign in 21 games fewer – but will now only have a watching brief after sustaining the injury in Sunday’s 1-0 home defeat to West Ham.
ℹ️ | Abdoulaye Doucoure sustained a stress response in his foot against West Ham but will not require an operation.
Speedy recovery, Abdoulaye! 💙
— Everton (@Everton) October 19, 2021
Everton released a statement regarding the midfielder’s injury on Tuesday, which read: “Everton can confirm that Abdoulaye Doucoure has suffered a stress response in his foot sustained during Sunday’s match against West Ham United.
“The French midfielder is being assessed by the club’s medical team at USM Finch Farm and is undergoing further investigation to determine the full extent of the injury.
“Contrary to reports, Doucoure will not require an operation.”
It could leave Everton light in midfield for Saturday’s visit of Watford in the Premier League with Andre Gomes and Fabian Delph both recovering from injury.
Forward players Dominic Calvert-Lewin and richarlison have also struggled with fitness this season and their involvement is in doubt for the forthcoming league match.
Benitez, who says richarlison is further along in his recovery than Calvert-Lewin, admits that while Everton have coped well in the pair’s absence, they were sorely missed in the 1-0 defeat to West Ham at the weekend.
“The fact we were winning without richarlison or Dominic means we could do it the same but when you play against a good team and you have some chances you have to take them and if not you have to carry on.
“When you play against a good team it is more obvious it is a problem but still we were winning and we have to keep on winning.”