Lucas Digne has suffered a serious ankle injury in training and is expected to be out for at least two months after the club revealed he will undergo surgery.
The news comes ahead of a critical run of matches as the Toffees look to get back into their early-season groove following last Sunday's victory at Fulham, a match in which Digne combined superbly with James Rodriguez to create two of Everton's three goals.
As was the case for the ill-fated trip to Newcastle last month, Carlo Ancelotti will now be forced to rejig the line-up for Saturday's game against Leeds United at Goodison Park after Digne sustained ankle ligament damage at Finch Farm.
The 27-year-old will undergo reconstructive surgery on Monday and won't be back until the New Year, robbing Ancelotti of one of his most productive outlets.
Niels Nkounkou was the beneficiary at St James's Park when Digne served a one-match suspension and he could be again now that Ancelotti, seeking to tighten up his back line and compensate for Seamus Coleman's absence in the other fullback position, has opted for a three-man central defensive formation with wingbacks.
Reader Comments (119)
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1 Posted 26/11/2020 at 13:39:13
Lucas Digne has suffered an ankle injury which will keep him out for 2 months, according to LÉquipe. The French report claims the 27-year-old sustained the injury in training with subsequent scans revealing the need for surgery.
2 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:31:03
3 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:36:11
4 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:42:21
5 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:43:03
6 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:46:38
7 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:52:20
8 Posted 26/11/2020 at 14:59:27
9 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:41:42
The same old injury crisis, year-in & year-out... you do wonder if we make our players out of glass sometimes.
10 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:42:58
Nkounkou is not ready for a full 2 months in the team. Delph – if fit!!! – will be used .
11 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:43:40
Get well soon, Lucas, you are too good to not be playing.
12 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:48:26
Only a choice of two, Delph or Nkounkou, so really only one choice!
13 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:49:52
The obvious thing is to replace Digne with Nkounkou and use his energy going forward, he's nowhere near as good but he fits the same profile.
However, he's deffo got an aversion to picking youth. I'm feel he will go for Delph, who will screw the dynamic; he's never overlapping or delivering crosses.
It's a massive blow.
14 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:52:16
Rotten, rotten timing over the most congested period. Delph or Nkoukou. One is too slow/unfit, one is too raw.
15 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:54:41
Everton youngster Thierry Small is reportedly attracting interest from the likes of Bayern Munich, Juventus and Arsenal as he continues to impress at youth level.
The 16-year-old has scored three times in seven Under-18 Premier League appearances this season, while he has also turned out for his Merseyside club's Under-23 outfit in Premier League 2.
According to the Daily Mail, Bayern and Juve have a 'concrete interest' in the teenager, while Arsenal are also keeping a close eye on his development.
The report claims that Small's performances at left-back have drawn comparisons with Bayern's Alphonso Davies, who is regarded as one of the best attacking full-backs in the game.
Everton have allegedly offered the defender a 'generous' three-year contract in the hope of convincing him to turn down interest from elsewhere to commit his future to the Toffees.
Small was named his club's Under-16 Player of the Year for the 2019-20 campaign.
16 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:55:33
Nkounkou is still a teenager; whilst he has very promising talent, he is still learning his trade. Carlo will make a judgement on him if he thinks he's ready, but I also think it's more likely Delph will cover. Whether Delph is better than a raw teenage Nkounkou remains to be seen!
I would, maybe recklessly, choose to play Nkounkou over Delph. Calvert-Lewin needs a supply and Nkounkou is more likely to fire some dangerous crosses in to him. Delph is a bit stagnant and slow, but would probably do better defensively.
17 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:56:24
18 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:58:53
I do think we will see Delph there as I think Carlo will go for the safe pair of hands. I'd rather give him a go against Leeds and Burnley because Delph's record suggests he will probably get injured in one of those games and then Niels will be thrown in against 4 of the best teams in the league. Talk about baptism of fire. I believe in this lad though.
19 Posted 26/11/2020 at 15:59:41
20 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:03:50
21 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:13:59
Against Newcastle (on his birthday was it?) Nkounkou was pushed further up, and was clearly instructed to use his speed and try to fly past defenders. This was his first Premier League assignment and he must've felt some form of anxiety.
It's defo gonna be a different story on his natural position; some Premier League game time under his belt will have helped.
22 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:16:05
Also, I know I promised I wasn't going to moan about the Robinson deal anymore, but... !!!
In all seriousness, I really believe that between them Delph and Nkounkou can step up and cover the position adequately in a back four, although they may not have to -- Carlo might well just commit to the back 3 alignment we saw against Fulham and go five in the midfield full time. Niels can definitely handle the attacking responsibilities on the flank, if not the defensive load of a back 4 left-back.
Patrick #15, thanks for that information -- I hadn't even heard of the kid.
23 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:25:47
24 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:29:24
25 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:31:04
No, no, no to Delph. For fuck's sake, we are always banging on about playing the youngsters – and Delph is not a wing-back!
26 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:31:31
As said above by Mr Kenrick, just as we regained some form. Some blagging it required against Leeds then... maybe that back three.
27 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:37:14
28 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:45:26
29 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:47:56
If Digne does have to go under the knife, I wouldn't expect to see him much before spring.
Happy Effing Thanksgiving.
30 Posted 26/11/2020 at 16:50:32
In all seriousness, if we continue with wingbacks, then Nkounkou or even Gordon could be perfect. You need energy and dynamism in that role. And defensively you should, in theory, have some cover behind you.
31 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:02:56
Expect we'll see plenty of “3 at the back plus 2 x wingbacks” during the coming months.
32 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:09:25
I don't think Gordon will get a look-in as left-wingback, he hasn't even been in the matchday squad for a while now.
Also, who says we're sticking with 3 at the back? He's only played it once, I'd expect Carlo to drop back into a 4 for some games so it will probably be Delph as Nkounkou is a bit raw.
33 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:19:51
When is the last time Delph played 2/3 games in a row? Is there any free agents available?
34 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:20:45
35 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:20:52
I certainly would not have Delph near the defence. For me, the only thing Delph can do is sit protecting the defence. His lack of pace would leave us exposed to their overlap and unable to springboard our own overlaps.
So it is one younger Frenchman in for another, for me, although Carlo is probably getting Richarlison geared-up to play wingback like Iwobi last week!
36 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:21:49
37 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:28:17
Nkounkou has to play and hopefully can step up.
38 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:34:32
39 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:35:07
Neither Baines nor Digne had/have strong defensive qualities. If we have to play Delph initially, so be it.
Best of luck to Lucas.
40 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:36:49
This position is comfortably the most demanding in the league. Up and down 50/70-yd doggies and we are expecting a good delivery on the end of it. The younger hungrier player must be selected there. He will make mistakes; however, it should also be the making of him.
Sam, I believe you maybe right that we see Coleman there before Nkounkou. Gulp. Did Seamus not play left-back away at Benfica all those years ago???
41 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:36:50
Holgate Keane Godfrey
Iwobi Doucouré Allan Nkounkou
42 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:42:10
The importance of not just having depth, but having a system that is practised and trained throughout the levels within the club so that, when players are asked to step up, they understand what is required rather than looking like a proverbial rabbit in the headlights.
43 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:45:22
I take it your comment was strictly tongue-in-cheek? Isn't it possible that no other player was involved and poor old Digne accidentally injured himself?
44 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:53:08
Any news on Seamus?
We need the pace of Iwobi, the cunning of James and the determination of Richarlison to get 3 points off this lot – and we need Holgate in place of a totally shot Yerry Mina.
45 Posted 26/11/2020 at 17:55:44
46 Posted 26/11/2020 at 18:08:27
Best wishes to Digne and here's hoping for a swift recovery.
47 Posted 26/11/2020 at 18:08:56
Could do worse than blooding him off the bench, letting him know there is a path to the first team before Dortmund inevitably come calling and we lose him on the cheap.
49 Posted 26/11/2020 at 18:10:40
And we also had Cuco Martina there not so long ago, who didn't do so bad, all things considered.
50 Posted 26/11/2020 at 18:18:33
Nkounkou will have to step it up. He didn't show much against Newcastle but then again nobody did. Perhaps in a 3 at the back (when attacking), he'll have more license to get forward.
Digne's assists are very valuable to us so let's hope Nkounkou can bag a couple and we don't worry about this situation after the Leeds game.
51 Posted 26/11/2020 at 18:34:52
Up against players with the pace of Harrison and Rashford in the next few weeks, Nkoukou at least has a chance of competing with them.
52 Posted 26/11/2020 at 18:43:15
Mina and Branthwaite pushing Holgate and Godfrey for a place in that back 3. Young Nkounkou and Iwobi allowed to go flying. Gbamin or Delph on for James after we go 2-0 up and need to sit and soak.
Digne will be a huge miss, but injuries are inevitable and it could be worse. Swift recovery, fella.
53 Posted 26/11/2020 at 19:02:49
Wishing Digne a speedy recovery.
54 Posted 26/11/2020 at 19:14:22
55 Posted 26/11/2020 at 19:24:05
56 Posted 26/11/2020 at 19:29:07
For me it's Nkounkou, a 1:1 replacement, as I don't see Delph as ever being physically or mentally fit for Everton since he arrived; he was damaged goods as a player. His so-called example to the squad in view of leadership, mentality and drive, after his exploits and prowess at Man City, was a farce.
Still, this should add some bite and resolve to the squad but is our primary source of ammo for the forward line.
Hopefully Iwobi can prove his first half at Fulham wasn't a flash in the pan... and can keep them crosses coming in.
I'm expecting a very tough night vs Leeds, a must-win to stay in the top 6, and I hope that there are no more injuries.
58 Posted 26/11/2020 at 19:44:27
I think you may have been correct in the first place, over-priced, past its best and there are others more suited to the modern world. :)
59 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:05:35
I really hope Nkounkou gets the nod, he has flair and huge potential.
60 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:10:38
As for his replacement, over to you, Carlo. Is Baines available on a free?? Short-term contract could suit all parties...
I don't want Delph there as he offers nothing going forward. Nkounkou has been great in the League Cup but the Premier League is totally different. If it is him, it will have to be 3 at the back again for me and he can play left-wingback, with Richy working like a Trojan in the space ahead of him.
It will be very interesting to see what the Don does to solve this problem come Saturday. If it's 4-3-3, then Tom Davies in front of Nkounkou could work. Tom came on against Fulham in that position and helped shut up shop.
My best guess would be:
Pickford, Iwobi, Holgate, Keane, Godfrey, Nkounkou, Allan, Doucouré, James, Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison.
Whatever the line-up, they will have their hands full with the energy and drive of this Leeds team.
61 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:16:02
Richarlison is back and hopefully a fitter James will mean we can play on the front foot. Bad news... but we can cope – with the right attitude.
62 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:30:45
Every player will have to step it up and be on it for 90 mins and then we can maybe compensate for the loss of Digne.
Also, Carlo has to have his substitute strategy well thought out. Keeping a flagging James Rodriguez on too long in the second half just invites pressure. He needs to be alert to Jamess effectiveness and be proactive in substituting him for maybe Gbamin or the tenacity of Davies.
63 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:37:00
64 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:41:45
65 Posted 26/11/2020 at 20:43:30
66 Posted 26/11/2020 at 21:12:51
Small to jump from U18s to first team might be too big but at least get him in the U23s to push him on...
67 Posted 26/11/2020 at 21:15:08
68 Posted 26/11/2020 at 21:18:32
69 Posted 26/11/2020 at 21:19:04
Watching Alli playing for Spurs tonight – very good. Possibly seek a loan and see how we go with him.
70 Posted 26/11/2020 at 21:32:15
71 Posted 26/11/2020 at 21:49:12
72 Posted 26/11/2020 at 22:06:09
We were all looking forward to Gbamin getting fit again, then this happens.
Digne's crosses are an asset – much like those of Bainesy for so long.
Some tough games coming up... but aren't they all these days?
73 Posted 26/11/2020 at 22:14:35
74 Posted 26/11/2020 at 22:25:27
75 Posted 26/11/2020 at 22:34:01
Where would you start Alli? Think it is all rubbish anyway. I think Alli was Jose's next Joe Cole where he batters him down and is seen to rebuild him and take all the credit.
Levi isn't big on loan deals if he can get a fee elsewhere.
Winks has been playing too so I can't see that happening. Just websites and papers using clickbait.
76 Posted 26/11/2020 at 22:43:05
Christy (33) - Yeah, Cuco Martina.
77 Posted 26/11/2020 at 22:53:11
78 Posted 26/11/2020 at 23:08:09
79 Posted 26/11/2020 at 23:11:11
80 Posted 26/11/2020 at 23:54:32
You can't keep playing players in a position they are not used to playing, why not play a player whose history is playing at left-back and also in internationals? We have a squad so what's the use of having a back-up left-back in it if you are not going to play him?
81 Posted 27/11/2020 at 02:23:20
82 Posted 27/11/2020 at 03:27:23
I would be more worried loosing a forward than a defender whose biggest asset is not defending precisely. Anyway, tough one for him, get well soon, bro.
Nkounkou plays with a winner's mentality and I believe he has a winger's talent and change of rhythm. Time will tell what happens.
83 Posted 27/11/2020 at 04:05:39
There has been such an outpouring of grief and love for Dieguito around the globe that it must fill you with pride at how he was - IS - perceived.
The most moving tribute I have seen to him was by his beloved Boca Juniors.
The Bombanero stadium in total darkness, save for Maradona's lit private box.
His flame really will burn eternal.
Abrazos de Brasil.
84 Posted 27/11/2020 at 04:49:25
We will need runners against Bielsa's mob and we won't get away with playing both Keane and Mina against them.
Gordon, Keane, Holgate
Iwobi, Doucouré, Allan, Nkounkou
I am living in the hope that Iwobi plays as well as he did against Fulham – we need to keep Leeds occupied.
I think this will be a real ding-dong battle.
85 Posted 27/11/2020 at 05:51:24
86 Posted 27/11/2020 at 07:28:10
87 Posted 27/11/2020 at 07:31:13
I'm still shocked at what happened to Diego, have a mix of feelings about it but I am quite well in general terms. Lately, he was soooo bad and suffering in life but still I never expected him to go so “soon” – as for any sports legend...
Mostly, for me he represents what Messi hasn't done yet (winning the World Cup) so his figure has that extra aura to be seen as if a kind of God is gone...
Thanks again for the message Jay! Abrazo grande locura!
88 Posted 27/11/2020 at 07:36:05
In this case, I would include Nkounkou, Gordon and Godfrey because of their agility, speed and youthful vigour. Godfrey made as a sub after the standard boring coaches' textbook guideline time of 60 minutes.
89 Posted 27/11/2020 at 07:50:53
I think the best option would be 3 at the back as against Fulham, well the first half at Fulham, this would allow Nkounkou to get forward and not being found out defensively where he is still a bit raw.
Hopefully the rest of the team picks itself. I do like Ajay's @ 41, and that is what I would hope to see line-up tomorrow at Goodison.
Leeds are a good side, and have been a bit unlucky in games thus far, so let's hope their fortunes don't turn around tomorrow. Number One rule: don't give the opposition space with the ball.
90 Posted 27/11/2020 at 08:08:05
91 Posted 27/11/2020 at 08:10:24
92 Posted 27/11/2020 at 08:35:16
Why? Is Leslie Phillips going to be in attendance? :-)
93 Posted 27/11/2020 at 08:36:00
I guess James will be the our only dead ball taker in that XI. So, expect to see Sigurdsson come on after James starts to tire around the 70th minute. I also expect to see on the bench: Olsen (of course), Mina, Kenny, Davies, Tosun, and hopefully, Gordon.
94 Posted 27/11/2020 at 09:12:59
95 Posted 27/11/2020 at 09:21:43
Godfrey Keane Holgate
Iwobi Doucouré Allan Nkounkou
96 Posted 27/11/2020 at 09:36:37
As for Lamptey – cracking player. But doubt there's any budget in January. We will, however, buy a quality new right-back in the summer.
97 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:26:13
98 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:29:52
I would happily play that team at home vs Leeds. But I'd be more worried against the likes of Chelsea, City, Leicester etc.
Can we trust Iwobi and Nkoukou to be defensively solid? I suppose with wingbacks then at least there should, in theory, be cover. But don't be surprised to see the likes of Coleman, Kenny, Delph and maybe even Doucouré at wingback.
Also, was Nkoukou that bad against Newcastle? I don't remember him making any mistakes per se. He certainly wasn't great but the whole team had an off day that day, as I recall, including the manager!
99 Posted 27/11/2020 at 11:24:06
I'd just read that article about Small (who I'd never heard of) and then discovered that Digne had been injured and will be out for weeks. Who knows – this might be one of those fateful moments in a player's progress?
It seemed to work for Branthwaite until he got struck down by the Everton injury voodoo.
100 Posted 27/11/2020 at 11:42:11
A quarter of the last England team seemed to be under 21. You have English kids playing in the league, many doing terrific.
Chelsea, Man Utd, Liverpool all have very young players who are praised to the rafters by their supporters and management when all our young prospects for all the time I can remember, and I have been going to Goodison since 1962, have had nothing but stick.
Jimmy Husband to go back, Kein Radcliffe early in his career, Danny Cadermartari, Joe Royle (just for taking over from Alex Young when only 16), Billy Wright, Marc Higgins. Presently: Davies, Lookman (when he was here), now Nkounkou, who is not experienced enough. Lots more I can mention and have forgotten.
Get a grip lads.
101 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:04:15
If this is true then Delph is the gift that just keeps on giving.
102 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:04:44
Mark #85 – yes I did mean Godfrey. I have noticed I do that a lot lately.🤔😂
103 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:13:13
They still have control of the computers today, so far they have not released any sensitive information. But they are threatening that failure to pay the ransom and they will release personal information about sensitive issues regarding players.
I am sure if it can happen to Man Utd then it can happen to any club, so I expect these hackers to make further inroads to other Premier League computers.
104 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:17:43
He was more comedic than serious, but always played the part of a 'ladies' man' he was always dressed to kill, and although he wasn't particularly handsome, he held a charm for the women. His classic saying was "Ding-Dong!"
105 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:18:34
Here is some footage on him for anyone interested: Link
Tomorrow it will be Delph or Nkoukou, I hope the latter but suspect the former. He might even try Iwobi there with Kenny playing at RWB.
106 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:37:17
107 Posted 27/11/2020 at 12:38:39
108 Posted 27/11/2020 at 13:14:56
Thierry Small certainly looks like one for now, never mind the future, but I suppose they will be cautious as to his progression. Also, they want to make sure that he stays with us and is not tempted away by money-waving Top 6 Clubs.
109 Posted 27/11/2020 at 13:18:10
I agree the lad looks seriously impressive for a 16-year-old. He might not be ready for the Premier League right now but, all things being equal, he will be. It would be a travesty if we allowed him to leave without a fight. Remember Baines had to leave Everton before becoming a Goodison hero.
110 Posted 27/11/2020 at 13:37:54
111 Posted 27/11/2020 at 13:59:33
112 Posted 27/11/2020 at 14:38:13
The French boy is 20 now. He has had a brief taste of first-team football. Carlo's inability to lure Robinson back with his amazing pulling power means he is the only other left-back in the squad. He plays... He surely to fuck plays.
113 Posted 27/11/2020 at 15:15:11
"... manager would sooner drag some fella twice my age out of retirement..."
When did Carlo try to lure back Robinson? When did he try to talk Baines out of retirement?
Very strange post.
114 Posted 27/11/2020 at 15:31:45
I was also looking at the squad and, with Godfrey, Branthwaite and Holgate waiting in the wings, we are looking strong at centre-back.
Midfield unfortunately does not look as well served with Gbamin yet to recover fully from injury and with an uncertain ability to come to terms with the Premier League. Davies, Sigurdsson, Bernard and Delph all with just not quite enough for the Premier League for different reasons.
With Tosun the only viable sub for Calvert-Lewin, we are also limited up front.
My preferred team for tomorrow would be:
Kenny Keane Holgate Nkounkou
Allan Doucouré Iwobi
James Calvert-Lewin Richarlison
But I have a feeling Carlo will go 3 at the back to include Godfrey at Nkounkou's expense.
Leeds break a lot down their left with pace so It will be important for Kenny and Allan to be aware of that. Bamford for me wastes a lot of chances but also scores a lot which is a testimony to how many chances Leeds create.
That of course leaves them open and I fully expect Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to exploit them at the back.
They have conceded more than us this season so expect a goalfest, ie, a 0-0 draw.
115 Posted 27/11/2020 at 15:49:57
On a vaguely related note, the fact that Gordon and Nkounkou are not getting game time is my one general gripe with Ancelotti. If we had, say, Pochettino then these guys would be playing. Obviously it's a trade off because we can hardly complain at having Rodriguez in the side - but still a bit of a tension between what we (I think) want as fans and direction of club.
116 Posted 27/11/2020 at 16:06:39
117 Posted 27/11/2020 at 17:18:36
Even a 16-year-old Maradona would be ignored by Carlo! So Small has about the same chance as his name suggests.
118 Posted 27/11/2020 at 19:07:59
He plays much more naturally on the right either dribbling inside or finding half a yard beyond the full-back to whip in a dangerous cross. On the left, he stalls and tracks back to his right foot and plays a negative pass. I sincerely hope we don't see him on the left side on Saturday.
I would much rather see Nkounkou there as a natural left-sided player. He is young and with loads of talent and to some extent it's a gamble. But playing it safe with the slow and ponderous Delph is a negative, defensive choice.
It may not work out playing Nkounkou, but I would be a whole lot more excited to watch the game. I would be willing the lad to do well from the off. I mean what a bonus it would be for the club for the next two months if he proved up to it.
119 Posted 27/11/2020 at 22:51:21
120 Posted 28/11/2020 at 00:13:56
Because when lame donkey Delph pulls up, and he will, he'll be in there anyway.
121 Posted 28/11/2020 at 00:44:21
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