Danny Mills has claimed Everton full-backs Lucas Digne and Seamus Coleman are “almost impossible” to replace.
Speaking exclusively to Football Insider correspondent Connor Whitley, the former Leeds United and England right-back heaped praise on the pair’s attacking and defensive qualities.
Manager Carlo Ancelotti confirmed that both will miss the visit of Leeds United on Saturday with injuries.
Digne, 27, will undergo surgery on his ankle and could be out for up to three months after he picked up an injury in training and Coleman is still returning from a hamstring complaint.
Alex Iwobi replaced the Republic of Ireland international at wing-back against Fulham last weekend but Ancelotti hinted youngster Jonjo Kenny could feature against the Whites.
Asked by Football Insider how much of a miss Coleman and Digne will be, Mills said: “Seamus Coleman has done tremendously well, obviously captain at Everton.
“He’s a fantastic right-back and right wing-back and Lucas Digne on the other side, equally, is very, very good. Both are very good at getting forward and both are good defenders.
“If those two are missing, it just means Ancelotti will have to shuffle the pack once again.
“He has to try and find two full-backs or two wing-backs to replace them which is almost impossible because they have played very, very well and been very, very consistent over a decent period.
“To lose two of your most influential players is always going to be difficult.”
Digne has started all but one of the Toffees’ Premier League games this season and has captained the side in Coleman’s absence.
He only missed their loss to Newcastle United earlier this month through suspension after being sent off against Southampton.
In other Everton news, Leeds have been tipped to race the Toffees to sign a Premier League speedster after a big reveal.