Darron Gibson picked up what looked like a serious knee injury on international duty for Republic of Ireland, and will most likely be out of action until the new year.
It has been a miserable couple of months for Everton midfielder Darron Gibson, who has suffered another injury setback that looks set to keep him on the treatment table until next year.
The former Manchester United man has just recovered from injury, with only one Premier League substitute appearance this season so far for the Goodison Park outfit.
With Gibson seemingly back to fitness and returning to the national set-up following Giovanni Trapattoni’s exit, things were starting to look up for the 25-year-old.
However, Gibson was stretchered off the park in the 37th minute of his side’s 3-1 win over Kazakhstan on Tuesday night.
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez was in attendance to see his midfielder injured, in what will be a blow for the club.
However, despite the Merseyside club traditionally struggling when key players are unavailable, the Spanish boss has strength in depth in his midfield to neutralise the impact of Gibson’s absence.
With loanee Gareth Barry settling into life at Goodison almost immediately, and Leon Osman displayed as good form as at any time in his career, Everton have two experienced central midfielders at their disposal. These two can be the driving force of the team, and will certainly benefit youngsters playing alongside them.
Barkley would most likely play regardless of Gibson’s availability, but for McCarthy the injury could mean an extended run in the side, or certainly less competition for time on the pitch.
The former Wigan man has been eclipsed by the early season form of Barkley, but under Martinez has the ability to be a real star at Everton.
McCarthy is a more rounded footballer than Gibson, but the more experienced man may well have been selected for his bite in the tackle and work-rate if fit.
With his countryman on the sidelines, McCarthy now has the necessary platform to acclimatise to his new club and prosper. His range of passing, energy and footballing intelligence have been on show in spells of his short time at Everton, but he needs a run of games to show his full ability.
Similarly, for Everton fans, this newfound strength in depth should be an encouraging sign for the season ahead.
image: © isirya