Sean Dyche must now start James Garner in midfield for Everton as stalwart Aboulaye Doucoure faces a three-match ban for his sending off in last night’s 1-1 draw against Spurs.
Doucoure received a straight red card for pushing his hand into Harry Kane’s face as a tense Goodison Park atmosphere boiled over.
The brainless act of self-destruction means that the £20m Mali international will be unavailable for Saturday’s trip to Old Trafford, as well as home fixtures against Fulham and Crystal Palace.
However, Doucoure’s suspension could provide an opportunity for 22-year-old James Garner to claim a place in Dyche’s starting XI, with the Birkenhead-born midfielder producing an impressive cameo late on in last night’s draw.
Indeed, Garner has made just seven Premier League appearances since his £15m move from Manchester United last summer, having struggled with injuries throughout the campaign, but would be an ideal replacement in Doucoure’s absence.
Garner can replace Doucoure in both the short and long-term for Everton
The fit-again midfielder arrived at Goodison Park with a growing reputation following an impressive campaign on loan at the City Ground last season, as Nottingham Forest secured promotion to the Premier League.
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With a return of four goals and 10 assists in all competitions, Garner was a creative outlet for Forest, particularly from set pieces.
Everton thrive on dead balls, and James Garner’s pinpoint delivery could see the Blues reap the benefits of possessing such a specialist within the squad, a fact Sean Dyche must not ignore as the scrap for Premier League survival gathers pace.
Indeed, with four minutes remaining in last night’s brief cameo, Garner lifted a teasing free kick into the penalty area in front of an expectant Gwladys Street, though his teammates did not seem to be on his wavelength as the ball went straight out of play.
The industrious midfielder would likely be the long-term replacement for Doucoure, should the soon-to-be out-of-contract Malian depart in the summer, and so now would be an ideal time for the 22-year-old to make a claim for the shirt.