Theo Walcott is out of the Merseyside derby.
The injury-struck Everton winger underwent surgery on Monday for an abdominal tear, which is expected to keep him out for at least a month.
The news comes as a blow for the Blues as they prepare to face old foe Liverpool in the derby at Goodison next weekend, with both Yerry Mina and Jean-Philippe Gbamin already ruled out of the game through injuries picked up in training.
Walcott is understood to have damaged his abdominal muscles in a training session, and scans swiftly showed he would need to go under the knife to repair the damage.
With Morgan Schneiderlin a long term injury absence too, the problem with Walcott has given manager Carlo Ancelotti a real headache as he prepares his side to stop what could potentially be a Liverpool title party at Goodison.
The Reds will have the chance to secure the Premier League trophy there, IF Manchester City lose to Arsenal in the opening game of the resumption of football’s fixtures, on June 17.
But there was at least some good news for the Italian boss, with an injury to midfielder Andre Gomes less serious than first thought.
He picked up a knock in training last week and has been forced to sit out some sessions, but physics have confirmed it is not a long term problem, and he will be able to rejoin full training after this weekend, giving him seven days to be fit for the derby.
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Meanwhile Merseyside Police have urged fans to use common sense and stay away from Goodison Park for the fixture.
Assistant chief constable Rob Carden said: "We would urge supporters to do the right thing – stay at home, enjoy the opportunity to watch every second of the game free of charge on your own TV , in your own living room and keep yourself, your family, friends and neighbours safe.”
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