Carlo Ancelotti must unleash Anthony Gordon in Everton’s Boxing Day trip to Sheffield United with the Toffees potentially without Richarlison.
The Blues travel to Bramall Lane looking to match last season’s 1-0 win over Chris Wilder’s Blades but could be without game-winner Richarlison, after he was substituted off during Wednesday night’s Carabao Cup quarter-final defeat to Manchester United.
And according to The Guardian, the Goodison Park natives are awaiting the results of further tests to determine whether or not Richarlison can feature against Sheffield United as the club refuses to breach the Football Association’s concussion protocols.
Richarlison has claimed in a message shared on Twitter that “everything is fine” after receiving an accidental elbow to the head in a collision with Eric Bailly, which saw Everton’s club doctor instruct Ancelotti to withdraw the Brazilian from the game.
Everton are yet to win a top-flight fixture without Richarlison featuring at some stage since his £50m arrival from Watford in 2018, including all three Premier League fixtures this season whilst the 23-year-old was suspended after a red card in the Merseyside Derby.
Ancelotti will be eager to avoid a repeat string of results should Richarlison not be eligible to face Sheffield United, and therefore must turn to Gordon and hand the academy product his first league start of the campaign.
Gordon has played just 32 minutes of Premier League football this season, including a sole one-minute cameo since October, despite offering three assists in two Carabao Cup appearances during the early rounds in September.
The 19-year-old was clearly surprised by his limited opportunities to impress after catching Ancelotti’s attention last term, but looked positively on the situation having spoken with the Everton boss to discuss a route back into the Italian’s plans.
“I didn’t go and bang his door down, I went and asked politely: ‘What can I do better to get in the team?’,” Gordon told EvertonTV. “I always want to get better and improve as a player. I just wanted his views on that – he gave me his view and I am trying to work on that every day.”
Ancelotti had noted after a sublime display against Leicester City in July how he felt ready to invest “a lot of trust and confidence” in Gordon, believing the England U20 international is “physically good and has a lot of ability and technical skills”.
That confidence has clearly not returned the chances Gordon would have liked this season, but the potential loss of Richarlison perfectly re-opens the door for Ancelotti to usher the teenage prospect back into the fold.