Gomes opens up about fitness frustrations

Thursday, 26 November, 2020 35comments  |  Jump to last

André Gomes has spoken of his struggle to attain full fitness amid the disruptions of the coronavirus shutdown and pre-season following his horrific ankle injury last year.

The Portuguese midfielder was sidelined by a fracture dislocation of his ankle from a rash challenge by Son Hueng-Min in a Premier League clash with Tottenham on 3 November 2019 but made a remarkably swift return to action just 112 days later.

Unfortunately, while nominally fit to play again shortly before the League was suspended during the initial onset of the pandemic in the spring, Gomes wasn't able to attain fill match fitness and he picked up niggling problems when play resumed.

That has significantly affected his form and his confidence and provides an explanation for performances that have been well below the best he has shown since arriving from Barcelona in 2018.

“The truth is, I am still trying to find my best feeling, to get fit, to get ready to be 100 per cent for all the game,” Gomes says in the match programme for Everton's clash with Leeds United this weekend.

“In the past months, with the pandemic, it was hard for me physically. A lot of details can change, my body shape or how fit I feel.

“When we came back after the first lockdown, I had a really small injury in one place, then something else in another place, because I was trying to compensate coming from the big injury.

“I was trying to get fit and regain power. We had a small pre-season before nine games in two months. Then we had a short break and another small pre-season, when I needed minutes.

“It would have been perfect for me to have all that time to recover and prepare in a normal way.

“Now, I am working to get as fit as I can and trying to feel better, trying to be confident when we are playing. But, more than anything else, I am trying to improve physically.”

In the meantime, Gomes has also been a victim of the strong competition for places in the Toffees' midfield these days. Thus far he has started five of Everton's nine Premier League games but wasn't involved in any of the last three.

“You want to play, so if you don't, you will be upset — otherwise it is bad, right?” Gomes continued. “But Carlo [Ancelotti] wants to talk with you and for you to understand what is going on.

“Sometimes, other players are doing better… that is how it is now. All the players are important at different points but only 11 can start. It is part of my job to do my best to get back in the side.

“It has been hard this season. I came from a big injury and tried to get in perfect shape and feel really good on the pitch and work on that.

“I want to help the team achieve the goals we expect for this year.”


Reader Comments (35)

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Ajay Gopal
1 Posted 27/11/2020 at 04:40:26
André has shown us glimpses of his ability in the 2+ years he has been with us. He is still relatively young (27 years) and he is actually a big specimen (6'-2"). If he is able to recover and regain full fitness, he is one of the best we have in terms of protecting the ball. At his best he puts in some great crosses and through balls.

Last season (post lockdown), I saw him play wide left and right, and he put in some delicious crosses (the Walcott equaliser against Aston Villa and one cross that I vividly remember he put on a plate to Calvert-Lewin in the middle of his barren run). Could he fill in for Digne at the left-back or left-wingback position? Possibly.

Derek Thomas
2 Posted 27/11/2020 at 05:36:36
Ajay @1; Nooooooo. He's a defensive liability and can't tackle to save his life.

Yes, he had a bad injury and his recovery was in fits and starts, so he has my sympathy but, if he wants to get fitter, he should do extra training – not extra talking.

Bobby Mallon
3 Posted 27/11/2020 at 05:51:34
He’s not a wing back
Bobby Mallon
4 Posted 27/11/2020 at 06:03:01
My team for Saturday is:

Godfrey Keane Holgate
Iwobi Davies Allan Doucouré
James Calvert-Lewin Richarlison

Using Richarlison as our left wingback, Tom Davies to cover Iwobi when he ventures forward.

Tony Abrahams
5 Posted 27/11/2020 at 08:01:53
Or say nothing, maybe, Derek? I like it when a player is honest and also gives his reasons, which make perfect sense, but maybe I'm missing something... If you're suffering with injuries, it does affect you, and this is how I've read what Gomes explains.
Derek Thomas
6 Posted 27/11/2020 at 08:26:53
Dave @5; you could be right, sometimes less is more, but I still don't want him anywhere he has to do a lot of tackling.
Dave Abrahams
7 Posted 27/11/2020 at 09:28:17
If he has told the club the way he is feeling, why haven't they taken him to one side and explained he will not be playing while he concentrates fully on getting fit for a given period? Looks like a lot of time has been wasted trying to play him while he feels like this.

I don't think he was much better before he got injured to the way he performs now. I'd love him to prove me wrong,

Robert Tressell
8 Posted 27/11/2020 at 09:44:02
I thought Coleman was finished about 18 months ago. He's been terrific of late. Maybe it just takes a while to get back into the rythym.

I don't see him as a good 3rd midfielder alongside Doucouré and Allan because he lacks pace and goals. However, he can be a lovely artist on the ball.

If he can get back to his best, then he's an excellent option for us.

Tony Abrahams
9 Posted 27/11/2020 at 09:44:22
Training is great but, for getting up to full speed, matches are the thing that's needed the most.

I understand why clubs got rid of reserve team football, but I've never been convinced that it was the right thing to do, and instances like this state my case.

Jim Bennings
10 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:11:10
Seems like a really nice fella but I think he lacks what it takes to truly dominate Premier League matches.

For a guy with his physical presence, he should be more of a big noise in the middle of the park (think Fellaini) but even prior to his woeful injury he was only ever a one-great-game-in-six type.

He doesn't score enough or create and when you don't do those things and also are not defensively great then there comes a stage when you question the value of a player.

I don't think he will get any better now than he already has shown in his two years here so it's down to whether or not the manager thinks he'll be a big part of the squad or not.

One thing with Ancelotti, he seems to make his mind up on players quickly that he doesn't like, Bernard comes to mind.

If Gomes does get in the side and games are still passing him by, then this could be his last season.

Jerome Shields
12 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:25:11
If he is selected, he is fit enough to play. I thought he was a bit off the pace even before the injury. I think he has always been a player who needs time on the ball, which he won't get in the Premier League, especially now that teams have realised he can be pressured off it.
Stan Schofield
13 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:26:54
There's often too much talking in football, but in this case I think it's important that Gomes has said what he's said. He's being open about a struggle to get back to full fitness after a dreadful injury, and of his awareness of what he's capable of when he is fully fit. Similar happened to Seamus, he took a while to really come back, but achieved it.

And no, just because a player is being selected does not imply full match fitness. Ancelotti pretty much said this quite openly, in the context of playing Rodriguez recovering from his injury after being clattered by the thug Van Dijk.

Pat Kelly
14 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:28:04
Another passenger we can do without.
Eddie Dunn
15 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:28:54
He is one of those guys who looks good on the ball but I'm afraid he needs a slower game. The Premier League is simply too quick for him.

When he was fitter, he still lacked consistency. He should be at his peak but that injury has set him back 18 months. He could play an important part in our season but only when fully fit.

His silly fouls and dissent have been a feature of a frustrated figure. This disjointed season certainly is not what he needed to get back on track.

Jim Bennings
16 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:31:37

I don't think we can really claim that Coleman has been the same player as he was before his injury in 2017.

He can still hold his own defensively but, since he returned more than two years ago, the up and down nature of his game has gone, the dynamic of the player has changed despite him being back on the pitch.

In Gomes's case, I don't think he's much different than when he was before the injury in terms of performance level, he's never been a player that's relied on pace and he's never really been a player that moves the ball on quickly.

The Gomes we have now is roughly the Gomes we have always had: inconsistent and roughly in and out of games but too many as a passenger.

Brian Harrison
17 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:34:43
I really feel sorry for the guy, it was a horrendous injury he got and, listening to his comments he is struggling physically and possibly mentally to getting back to the fitness levels he was at prior to his injury. He was never the most mobile so having an injury that has slowed him even more doesn't help.

I think it was good to hear him say that Ancelotti speaks to him all the time and others not involved in the first team. So he fully understands and accepts why he isn't in the team at present and as he said he needs to get fitter, and I am sure the physios are helping him to do that. So let's hope he achieves the fitness levels he needs sooner than later.

I guess with the restrictions we have all been under since Covid struck probably hasn't helped him.

Fran Mitchell
18 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:38:20
He is too slow, and makes too many rash challenges in dangerous areas, and he doesn't seem to dominate in the way a midfielder of his size should.

His saving grace is that he could still improve. It was a horrific injury and must take its toll both physically and mentally. If (big if) he can get back to his best then he'd be a great option to have. Not a guaranteed starter, but a good alternative.

I'd rather we keep Gomes and sold Sigurdsson and Delph.

Jerome Shields
19 Posted 27/11/2020 at 10:52:40
I agree, he is better than Sigurdsson and Delph. He has better vision and can pass. Though he should be discouraged from playing deep.
Emma Day
20 Posted 27/11/2020 at 15:12:52
The comments on here kind of reminds me a little of Micheal Keane's criticism he received when no one knew he was playing with a horrible toe injury, but he kept on soldiering on the best he could, yet he was receiving horrible abuse. Look at him now, one of our best players since January.

Gomes is going through the same kind of thing now. I'm glad he's been taken out of the firing line to get his fitness and niggles sorted.

Robert Tressell
21 Posted 27/11/2020 at 15:41:24
You're right Emma. Spot on
Tony Hill
22 Posted 27/11/2020 at 16:11:07
Yes he needs our full support. Much mental stuff going on with André. That goal against Wolves, that performance at Anfield. Old news but he's got years still to give us and he deserves time to recover himself.
Mike Gaynes
23 Posted 27/11/2020 at 16:40:50
I don't expect improvement from Gomes. He's exactly the player I expected when we brought him in, the same player I watched for several years at Barca.

The injury was devastating and his fitness challenges are ongoing, and he's a great guy and a class act so I wish him all good things but, even if he regains his best form, I don't expect him to ever be a regular starter for us again, because his best form just isn't that good.

Jim #16, I agree with Stan that Seamus did fully recover (eventually), but remember he's also now 32 years old with a lot of mileage on those legs, and that loss of dynamism you point out could very well be just the natural consequence of time.

Tim Gerrard
24 Posted 27/11/2020 at 17:23:45
When we signed André Gomes on loan from Barcelona, I was really looking forward to seeing him play, given his pedigree, although his debut had to wait due to injury. When he did appear, he didn't disappoint; he was very comfortable in possession, had great vision and with a good range of passing. He was also that rarity, a genuine two-footed player. In some ways, he reminded me of Paul Bracewell, before his injury.

While Gomes's form, like the team's, dipped over the Christmas and New Year after the last-minute derby defeat at Anfield, when he was arguably man of the match, there was enough of a return to form in to hope that we had found a midfield fulcrum for the future.

This was all pre-injury and, if he is to get back to his best, I think he needs to play with a defensive midfield player in the middle two of a 4-4-2 system, as he did with Idrissa Gueye. He could play on the right-hand side of a midfield three, I think that was the role Silva envisaged for him alongside Gbamin and Delph. However, not with someone like James in front of him, who has a licence to roam and where Gomes would be asked to cover the gaps left by him.

He came back remarkably quick from a horrible injury, I didn't expect to see him play again last season and was very surprised when he did.

As has been stated, Coleman has taken a long time to get back to form after his injury and I agree Coleman is not the player he was. There are times when the same sharpness is not there. Liverpool's first goal in the recent derby game is a case in point, it left him beating the ground in frustration as he failed to stop the cross from Robertson.

Sadly, even if he does get back to full fitness I don't think Gomes has a long term future at Goodison Park, given the way Carlo Ancelloti wants to set up his team.

Paul Bracewell was never the same player after his injury. He never passed another medical. Although it doesn't appear to have the same long-term complications, I hope Gomes doesn't go the same way and he is once again the player we saw in that original loan spell, even if it is away from Everton.

Duncan McDine
25 Posted 27/11/2020 at 18:32:55
Interesting to read his comments. He is a difficult player to judge. I go through patches of hating everything he does (or doesn't do) on the football pitch, to having moments of thinking he's pure class. That possibly says more about me than him!

Unfortunately his spells of frustrating the hell out of me last much longer than the rosey moments. The injury was horrid, but even before that, he went through periods of weeks and months where he just stank the place out. I remember being at Stamford Bridge a couple of winters ago and the poor guy was completely useless - and he knew it.

Midfield can be a battle and he just isn't up for the fight. For me, it was less frustrating back in the Moyes era watching a team of less talented footballers play with spirit and a bit of physicality (but ultimately win nothing) than it is to watch a fairly talented bunch of players underperform.

Gomes typifies the fragile, losing mentality that's been hanging around the club for far too long. I'd regretfully get rid if an offer came in the next window.

Christy Ring
26 Posted 27/11/2020 at 19:01:51
Gomes is being honest, and after such a horrendous injury, getting back to full fitness takes time, especially when there was no preseason.

I like Gomes, and know he's well capable of getting back to the football he produced before his injury, and is definitely an asset, unlike Delph and Sigurdsson, on massive wages, and no return.

Paul Birmingham
27 Posted 27/11/2020 at 20:28:10
I like Gomes! And I pray he can realise his potential but, in my view, even prior to his terrible injury, he wasn't doing enough.

The first half against the RS two years ago, when Jordan Pickford gave them the game in injury time, is still his best half but, since then, due to various factors, he's not delivered.

Too many basics not done, and at times it looks like he's got deep-sea diver's boots on.

I hope André proves me wrong...

The Toon penalty was shocking in the decision but, positional awareness and being up to the pace of the game, are basics.

I hope André comes back but if he believes and we wants to, it's gonna take a massive amount of belief and dedication to get that desire and belief back.,.

Tony Everan
28 Posted 27/11/2020 at 22:30:30
It's a bastard of a tough situation, it makes no odds if you've had an injury, you have to match your opponent for fitness and mobility or you are not going to be able to compete.. Even if you have often got more natural talent like André Gomes.

Can he get 20% fitter and become faster and more mobile? If so, he could become the midfielder we desperately need. I would love it to happen but I don't think the lad has the single mindedness or drive to get there, and maybe his body just can't get there anyway without niggles and injury hindering his progress.

I wish him well trying.

David Currie
29 Posted 27/11/2020 at 22:46:51
The Premier League is too quick for him and I hope we move him on, he has never shown consistency since signing. Defensively he is a liability and creatively does not do enough.
Barry Jones
30 Posted 28/11/2020 at 00:35:59
Stan #13, I agree with you about Seamus no matter what others say. At the moment, he is back to his aggressive best. I would not have said that a year ago when he looked so tentative. Injuries like these have a huge psychological impact as well as a physical one. It was the same for Aaron Ramsey.

As for Gomes, he is class. I still think he has a place in the team. We need to give him time and Ancelotti needs to give him game time. The first game of the season at Spurs he was fabulous and our midfield overran theirs. What is so different since? Only confidence I would say. A good player does not become a poor one over night.

Mike Dolan
31 Posted 28/11/2020 at 14:51:11
For me, André Gomes is a really brilliant player who is recovering from a horrendous injury. He is a player that needs to play with confidence and I think that it was worth remembering his own description of his struggle at Barcelona.

The mental part of this game is massive for some players: Ross Barkley, Michael Keane, Aaron Lennon – just to name a few who have lots of ability but struggle for self-confidence. Andre will get it together and with him and jamEs (a great player who also is not exactly fast and who is not a great defender but lets the ball do his work for him) and Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison to feed off them.

This team, when they are purring along, could rip apart any side in this league. You ain't seen nothin' yet – but it's coming.

Jim Lloyd
32 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:07:10
It seems to me that Carlo has been, and will be, looking very closely at André this season. Gomes is undoubtedly a very talented player and I've seen him turn past players on a tanner. He's also been found wanting when giving silly fouls away around the edge of our box.

I think it's in the balance with André. If Carlo and his team think he can fit him into the patterns of play he wants to see from our players, then I think André Gomes can be an asset.

There is one paramount hurdle to overcome first and with him: it's both physical and mental; not an easy combination. The number one asset a player needs in this league is fitness. But that won't count for much if he can't regain his confidence, and vice versa.

I hope he can become a useful member to our squad, as we can't just get rid of players (as we have found out to our cost) as we're already overloaded with players who stop us bringing in the players that Carlo wants.

So, while we're in this financial straight jacket, I'd love André to recover enough to play a role for Carlo. We've got to maximise the talents we have at this club and, in my mind, a fit and confident André Gomes is potentially the best option available to bring in the team.

Until then...

Jim Lloyd
33 Posted 28/11/2020 at 17:17:23
Oops!! I was going to finish off by saying that I hope he can just concentrate his mind on getting back to using his skills as he did before.
Nicholas Ryan
34 Posted 28/11/2020 at 21:32:48
Jim [32] and [33] ... At last, a voice of reason among all the verbal pig-swill on this thread!
Justin Doone
35 Posted 28/11/2020 at 22:48:49
Gomes is a good player but the wrong fit for how we play.

Allan is the defensive midfield player but is genuinely a good player and can pass and get forward.

Doucouré brings pace, energy and strength but does not have the ability of other options.

That leaves room for a top-quality box-to-box player that adds quality to the basics with pace, energy and creativity. We don't have that player. It's often Allan who gets forward to create but leaves space behind.

Personaly, I'd play Davies for his energy and tackling over Gomes, Bernard or Sigurdsson, allowing Allan more freedom. Against defensive teams, bring Bernard in with Allan sitting.

Brian Murray
36 Posted 03/12/2020 at 11:53:00
Gomes should stick to his hug-a-thon because his weak mentality is not what we need right now. Maybe go and press wildflowers with the other snowflakes like Sigurdsson etc.

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