Andre Gomes badly let Carlo Ancelotti down during Everton’s 1-1 draw with Burnley on Saturday as the Portuguese midfielder offered an invisible display.
Ancelotti initially named Gomes among his substitutes for the Toffees’ trip to Turf Moor this weekend, but was forced to call on the 27-year-old following an early first-half injury to Fabian Delph.
Gomes had played just 23 minutes of Premier League football since starting Everton’s 2-1 loss at Newcastle United in an advanced role on November 1, yet slotted in on the left-flank with Everton without star full-back Lucas Digne after the Frenchman sustained ankle ligament damage in training.
Gomes recently admitted to the Liverpool Echo that he is still striving to regain full fitness after suffering a fractured dislocation to his right ankle against Tottenham more than a year ago, having returned to the field after just 112 days.
“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,” the £112,212-per-week maestro said. “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.”
Former Premier League striker Darren Bent believes the signs of Gomes’ continued fight for fitness have been evident this season, with the Portuguese unable to get about the pitch in the fashion he could under Marco Silva.
“I’m a big fan of him and since he’s had the injury, he’s never quite been the same, which is understandable, it was a big, big injury,” Bent told Football Insider. “The quality on the ball, being comfortable in possession, that’s not what’s going to leave him.
“It’s obviously the physical attributes, getting around the pitch and stuff like that. I hope he stays with it. I hope he keeps working hard because eventually, his fitness will come, hopefully.”
Ancelotti will not be rushing to award Gomes his sixth start of the Premier League season when Everton host Chelsea at Goodison Park next week, after witnessing another tired performance from the former FC Barcelona midfielder.
Gomes was often invisible at Turf Moor on Saturday as the Toffees were held to a draw by Burnley, with the £21.6m-rated man registering fewer attempted passes (34) than goalkeeper Jordan Pickford (41) and completing just 29 of his efforts, per WhoScored.
The 29-time Portugal international further failed to direct either of his two shots on target, enjoyed a 50% dribble success rate, lost his only aerial duel, took possession with one of three attempted tackles, made one interception and offered zero clearances.
Ancelotti’s only positive from Gomes’ performance would have been in the 27-year-old completing each of his five attempted long passes and recording a key ball, though would have been greatly disappointed to see him lose six of nine ground duels and possession on nine occasions, per SofaScore.