Carlo Ancelotti will be bitterly concerned by the fitness of his Everton squad after Gylfi Sigurdsson joined James Rodriguez in missing training on Wednesday.
That’s according to the Liverpool Echo, who note that neither of the Toffees’ creative midfielders were involved in the action at Finch Farm as Ancelotti readies his squad for Saturday’s clash with Burnley.
Everton are yet to disclose the precise reason behind Rodriguez’s absence, sparking fury from former Colombia star Ivan Valenciano, who claimed Ancelotti is “lying from every point of view” as the Italian tactician will not reveal how long he will miss.
Sigurdsson opened the action in place of Rodriguez at home to Southampton and away to Chelsea, and came off the bench to assist the winner over West Bromwich Albion having initially been rested at The Hawthorns.
Ancelotti is expected to state why the Iceland playmaker was not present for training on Wednesday when he addresses the media later this week, with the reason for his absence also unspecified at this time.
Rodriguez and Sigurdsson were not the only players to be missing from the pre-Burnley sessions, either, with Abdoulaye Doucoure and Jean-Philippe Gbamin not involved.
Doucoure was ruled out until, at least, following the March international break after sitting out Monday’s loss to Chelsea with a suspected fractured foot, which could see the £20m summer signing from Watford miss up to eight weeks.
Gbamin has not featured for Everton since making only his second appearance in royal blue at home to the Hornets in August 2019, having been hampered by an Achilles tendon injury during his initial rehabilitation from two rounds of surgery and two setbacks.
Ancelotti will be bitterly concerned by the prospect of facing Burnley without either of Rodriguez or Sigurdsson on the field to pull the strings, with the midfield pair two of Everton’s most creative options.
Only Lucas Digne has assisted (6) more goals for the Toffees in the Premier League this season than Rodriguez (4) and Sigurdsson (4), who also rank third and fourth in terms of the club’s top scorers too, with five and four goals respectively – behind just Dominic Calvert-Lewin (13) and Richarlison (6).
Rodriguez further provides a team-high 1.7 key passes per top-flight game this term, ahead of Digne (1.4) and Sigurdsson (1.1) as the only Blues players to provide more than one an outing on average, per WhoScored.
Doucoure’s absence will also deprive Ancelotti of his fifth-most creative option, with the 28-year-old providing 0.8 key passes a game – just behind Bernard (0.9), who has only played 393 minutes of Premier League football this season.
Burnley may be leaking goalscoring chances this season, with only West Brom (15) allowing more shots per game than the Clarets (14.4), but Ancelotti will surely fear the prospect of facing Sean Dyche’s side without a visionary, creative player in the Toffees’ midfield.
AND in other news, Everton face a £33.5m asking price to sign a sought-after 24-year-old talent…