England tumbled out of the Under-21s European Championship last night and two Everton players Tom Davies and Ben Godfrey failed late fitness tests before the game making them a possible doubt for the Toffees match with Crystal Palace on Monday.
We don’t know how serious these problems are but this is potentially very frustrating for Everton after a season that due to the compressed nature of the campaign after Covid has seen so many players having spells out of the team for injury.
These international breaks have proved one of the main reasons for the subsequent injuries that have affected the Blues, as indeed for other clubs too.
The Toffees have had Mason Holgate, Seamus Coleman, James Rodriguez, Lucas Digne, Allan, Dominic Calvert-Lewin and now Abdoulaye Doucoure all face lengthy lay-offs. So it would be a significant blow if these two were also out for any length of time as the Blues face a critical Premier League run-in and need everyone fit and healthy.
Davies has been in fine form recently filling in effectively for the injured Allan in that midfield defensive lynchpin role.
The former youth team product has had a tough few seasons over the last couple of years. Many, including myself, weren’t sure he was going to make the grade at the highest level.
He had gone from an instinctive, energetic midfield runner who liked to get forward to a player who was struggling to find a role in the team and any consistent form.
The scouse youngster had endured that classic second-season syndorme where after coming into the Toffees team as an unknown he was being found out and the demands of the Premier League were proving tough to cope with.
However, this season there were signs he was becoming a more mature and effective footballer and was beginning to carve out a place for himself in Carlo Ancelotti’s squad.
Then when Brazilian star Allan picked up his latest and most significant injury it was Davies that the manager turned to as the player to take his place.
More from Prince Rupert's Tower
And he has stepped up well showing good discipline and awareness and passing the ball with intelligence and accuracy. He’s given some signs that perhaps that holding or number six position might be his best.
Meanwhile Godfrey has been outstanding for Everton proving to be a real jack-of-all-trades playing right-back, left-back and in central defence.
It’s not just his blistering pace and power that have impressed Evertonians but his passion and commitment as well. The young Yorkshireman never backs down and is tigerish in his determination to win for his team.
He was particularly impressive when he filled in for the injured Digne at left-back in the four-man defence Ancelotti adopted in December. He showed good positional sense and with his pace he was hard to beat one-on-one.
So as the Blues face a tough run-in with games coming thick and fast and the prize of European football to be secured. Hopefully both these two players who have become increasingly and perhaps unexpectedly important to Ancelotti’s squad, can recover and contribute to securing something positive from this season.