Everton have been handed a more definitive date for the return of James Garner…
That’s according to injury specialist Ben Dinnery, who does not expect the 21-year-old to return until February.
He told GIVEMESPORT: “So, this was an update from Frank Lampard again, [Garner suffered] an injury picked up in the Carabao Cup and missed out on game week 16. Subsequently, he didn’t travel on the club’s mid-season tour of Australia.
“The initial sort of prognosis was relatively okay, but subsequent evaluations and testaments reveal that it’s probably going to be towards maybe the end of January or even early February before Garner is back in contention.”
The timing of this injury seems eerily similar to Nathan Patterson’s need for ankle surgery at the back end of last season, where he had finally started to stake his claim for a starting birth before being struck with a lengthy lay-off.
Although it was only a short cameo, he boasted a liveliness that saw supporters demand an increase in minutes.
He would come off the bench in every game following, with his play time increasing with each game week.
It seemed like things were building towards his first league start before his injury, which will now see his progress halted.
What will frustrate Lampard even more is that his options in midfield seem to be swiftly dwindling, and a position that seemed bustling with talent has been whittled down to the bare bones.
Tom Davies was also sent home from their Australia tour for a scan on his knee, leaving just Alex Iwobi, Amadou Onana, the underperforming Abdoulaye Doucoure and an ageing Idrissa Gana Gueye as Lampard’s options.
The Garner injury in particular marks a huge blow, as he really could have begun to force his way into the first-team plans following the conclusion of this domestic football hiatus, just as Patterson did last season. However, he will now have to wait.