Carlo Ancelotti has revealed that Andre Gomes is in contention to start for Everton against Arsenal on Sunday, just 112 days after suffering a serious ankle injury.
The Portugal midfielder sustained a fracture dislocation of his right ankle following a challenge by Son Heung-min during Everton’s 1-1 draw with Tottenham on November 3.
The 26-year-old needed to be carried from the field on a stretcher and taken straight to hospital, with initial fears he would be sidelined for the rest of the season.
However, just 86 days later Gomes returned to training at the Toffees’ USM Finch Farm training ground and on Sunday played 60 minutes of a behind-closed-doors game.
Toffees boss Ancelotti, who replaced the sacked Marco Silva during Gomes’ spell on the sidelines, is pleased with his progress and feels he is likely to start at Emirates Stadium this weekend.
“He did well [in the practice match], he played comfortably and without any problems and he is available, in my opinion, to play,” the Italian told Everton’s website.
“Of course, I have to speak to him about how he feels after playing his first game following a long time out.
“My personal opinion is he is ready to play. When a player has been out for a long period, I think it is better to start the game.
“He can prepare properly, [rather] than to put him on from the bench. But I have to speak to him and together we can find a solution.”
Everton head to north London on the back of a five-match unbeaten run that has lifted the club back into contention for a European place.
The Merseysiders are currently ninth and just four points behind Tottenham in fifth, which may yet yield a Champions League place if Manchester City’s European ban is upheld.
Ancelotti believes Gomes’ return is a timely boost for the club as they look to maintain their recent good form.
“He can bring his experience, his quality with the ball, his knowledge about tactics,” added the former Chelsea boss.
“Andre is a top player and we need him. I am sure he can start well. It is the right moment for him to come back.
"We are trying to have a really important moment, we have some really important games.
“We are fighting for Europe, this is our goal, to have a player like Andre will make us feel more comfortable.”