Jordan Pickford extends worrying Everton trend as six key players could miss Arsenal

Jordan Pickford extends worrying Everton trend as six key players could miss Arsenal

After last season’s relegation battle was undermined by injuries to key players, Frank Lampard’s luck has failed to improve in the opening weeks of this campaign
Jordan Pickford celebrates during the Merseyside derby.

Jordan Pickford is the sixth key player in the Everton squad to suffer an injury setback in the opening weeks of the season as the club’s injury curse continues.

The Blues captain was outstanding in the Merseyside derby, producing several stunning saves to keep Liverpool out. But his performance came at a cost – the club confirming he suffered a thigh issue that will keep him out until at least the international break.

This means the 28-year-old will miss the upcoming games at Arsenal and at home to West Ham United, with Asmir Begovic likely to replace him.

Pickford suffered his injury during the Goodison Park derby on Saturday – during which he made a collection of fine stops to thwart the likes of Darwin Nunez, Roberto Firmino and Mohamed Salah. Everton confirmed on Wednesday: “The England international has undergone medical investigations this week and is not expected to return to action until after the next international break.”

It is the latest blow for Lampard, whose reign at Everton has repeatedly been undermined by injuries to key players. Pickford is one of few key stars to have been consistently available, the England number one emerging as a leader during last season’s relegation battle and providing performances that were crucial to the club’s survival.

He now joins an injury list that has grown frustratingly long since the beginning of August. The first significant setback was suffered by Dominic Calvert-Lewin , who sustained what Lampard described as a “freak” injury in training. The striker had looked sharp in pre-season, finishing with a goal against Dynamo Kyiv. But just days before the opening game of the Premier League season he picked up the knock that would leave Everton without a trusted first team striker until Neal Maupay made his debut against Liverpool. Calvert-Lewin is now nearing a return, with Lampard hopeful he will be able to stay fit and improve Everton’s attacking options.

That season curtain-raiser ended with two of the starting three centre backs on the sidelines as Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina suffered cruel luck against Chelsea. Godfrey lasted just over 10 minutes before he suffered a fractured fibia while attempting to block Kai Havertz. He was stretchered off and ruled out for an initial three months. In the second half of the narrow defeat Mina sustained an ankle injury that is expected to keep him out until next month.

Mason Holgate replaced Godfrey and kept his starting place until he was forced off with injury against Brentford. He missed the following games against Leeds United and Liverpool, as did Abdoulaye Doucoure . Doucoure picked up a hamstring issue in the first half of the second game of the season, at Aston Villa. He has not been involved in a matchday squad since then, but returned to training last week. Andros Townsend remains a long-term absence with an anterior cruciate ligament injury at Crystal Palace in March, though Seamus Coleman has been on the bench in recent weeks after recovering from surgery over the summer.

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