Everton have been dealt a big blow to their festive plans as winger Andros Townsend has suffered an injury to his foot.
According to The Athletic, the ex-Tottenham man sustained the knock whilst playing against his former team Crystal Palace on Sunday and he is now set to be out for a number of weeks – missing the Christmas schedule.
This causes a major issue for Blues boss Rafa Benitez as Townsend has been one of his standout players in the Premier League this season. Dominic Calvert-Lewin (7.53) is the only player in the squad with a higher average SofaScore rating than the winger (7.09) and he will need to be replaced in the starting XI over the coming weeks.
The Spaniard could potentially solve this problem by unleashing academy beast Anthony Gordon and giving him a further run of games from the start to prove his worth at senior level.
He has had a smattering of starts in the top-flight this season but it has been difficult for him to find consistency as he has not had a prolonged spell in the XI to build some momentum. Gordon has started six games and made a further seven appearances off the bench, having played three times in the league last season.
The 20-year-old has shown potential whilst playing in the youth sides at Goodison. He scored 24 goals and provided ten assists in 59 games for the U23 and U18 outfits combined, showing that he has the quality to score and assist goals from a wide position – albeit he is yet to prove that he can do it at senior level.
David Unsworth previously backed the youngster to fulfill his potential, saying:
“If chances come along, you want them to come to Anthony Gordon because he is in such a rich vein of form.
“He’s grown in stature as a player. He can still be better physically, in terms of being able to go for 95 minutes – and he will do that. His desire and application is there.
“He is such an explosive player. He’s progressing really well and when he reaches his full potential, he’ll be some player. It’s not a question of if, he will do. He’s got that star quality.”
With Townsend now set to miss a number of matches, Benitez must unleash Gordon from the start over a prolonged period now to allow him to build up his confidence to see if he is able to make a significant impact at first-team level for Everton.
If he is able to do that then he could kick on and become an important player for the club moving forward, which is why the Spanish boss could benefit from selecting him – starting with the clash with Chelsea.