Everton have suffered a potentially huge blow after Demarai Gray was forced off the field against Manchester City with an abductor muscle injury.
The 25-year-old was substituted after just 17 minutes at the Etihad Stadium over the weekend, blunting the Toffees’ already laboured attack even further.
In his post-match interview, manager Rafa Benitez addressed Gray’s enforced early exit, claiming THAT it gave them problems on the counterattack and that the club will address their threadbare squad in January.
“The offensive players, they could be a threat (vs Man City),” he said. “To lose Demarai Gray, he was training really well and in form, meant we had more problems in the counter-attack.
“We will see how long he is (out for). We have to deal with that. Injuries are a problem for us at the moment. Hopefully, we can bring some players back, go to January with some points and then start thinking about solutions.”
Although it is not yet known how long Gray will be sidelined, his presence on the treatment table will surely leave Benitez feeling gutted.
The former England under-21 international has been a standout performer for the Blues since his arrival over the summer, bagging three goals and providing two assists in 12 Premier League appearances.
His underlying numbers are also indicative of the pivotal role that Gray plays for Benitez’s struggling charges. As per WhoScored, he has averaged two shots, 1.4 key passes and 1.5 dribbles per league game throughout 2021/22, placing him in the top three for each metric when compared to his teammates.
With Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Yerry Mina already sidelined through injury, Gray’s fitness concern could have huge consequences for Benitez and Everton.