COMMENT By Dominic Toner
Everton midfielder Gerard Deulofeu should be given a chance in the starting line-up as Yannick Bolasie is likely to be out for the rest of the season.
The Toffees confirmed on Monday night that Bolasie will undergo knee surgery after sustaining a “serious ligament injury” in Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Manchester United.
The 28-year-old is now facing the prospect of between nine and 12 months on the sidelines, which is the normal timeframe for a player who has torn an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL).
Everton manager Ronald Koeman now has a big gap to fill in his team as Bolasie has featured in every Premier League game this season, but has an ideal replacement already in his squad.
Speed demon Deulofeu can match the £25million signing Bolasie for pace and will give the Merseyside club a great threat on the counter attack.
The 22-year-old has been restricted to bit-part roles this season and is yet to register a goal or an assist in his 11 appearances.
He could benefit from an extended run on the team and certainly showed in his cameo against United that he can trouble defences.
Deulofeu got fans on the edge of their seats during his loan spell in the 2013/14 season and secured a permanent move to Goodison Park last season.
The Spanish winger showed glimpses of his quality last campaign, scoring four goals and supplying 13 assists in just 33 appearances.
Everton boss Koeman tried the youngster as a central striker in pre-season, but his strengths are clearly as a winger.
Deulofeu is still trying to establish himself as a regular starter and it is easy to forget he is only 22, but has the potential to become a great player.
An extended run of games in the first team would surely bring out the best in him and could help Everton push for a European spot.
In other Everton news, Ronald Koeman posted a Twitter message after the draw against United.