Allan and Andre Gomes are the bedrock of the Everton midfield and will be crucial in the absence of the exceptional Abdoulaye Doucoure. 

That is according to ex-Leeds forward Noel Whelan, speaking exclusively to Football Insider after Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that the French midfielder could miss the rest of the season with a fractured foot.

The 28-year-old has started all 25 of the Premier League games for which he has been available since signing for £20million from Watford in September.

His loss will feel like a gut punch for Everton who are desperate not to lose ground in the race for European qualification.

They have already suffered from injuries this season, with the likes of Allan and Dominic Calvert-Lewin and James Rodriguez all spending time on the sidelines.

There is no doubt that the Toffees are a weakened side without Doucoure, claims Whelan, but Allan and Gomes are capable of stepping up while he is sidelined.

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He told Football Insider correspondent Dylan Childs: “They bought a player for £20m, which for him was cheap, and he has become an integral engine in that midfield.

“The way he gets up and down, he challenges, he’s got great physicality and he gets into the box as well.

“Defensively, he’s huge. That allows Rodriguez and Richarlison and your other flair players to get forward knowing you’ve got that security behind you.

“With Allan and Gomes, that is a real formidable, aggressive three in there if you have those guys playing too. They are going to be crucial.

“But for Everton to lose a player of that stature, they are going to feel it.”

Gomes signed from Barcelona in 2019 after a loan spell at Goodison the previous season, while Allan was another summer recruit, joining from Napoli.

Everton are currently 6th in the league table, five points outside the top four but with a game in hand on four of the five teams above them.

In other news, a top pundit has given his verdict on Everton potentially signing Tariq Lamptey amid a crucial update.