Everton forward Dominic Calvert-Lewin is set to miss the remainder of the season with a back fracture injury.
The 21-year-old, who has been a key contributor at times for the Blues this season, suffered the injury in his cameo during the win over Newcastle United last Monday night.
He is also expected to miss the prestigious Toulon tournament with England’s Under-21s which gets underway at the end of May but will return in time for Everton’s pre-season - which planning is underway for, according to boss Sam Allardyce.
Calvert-Lewin has found the net eight times in 44 games for Everton during this season but has been deployed in a number of different roles throughout the Blues’ turbulent campaign.
To start the season under former boss Ronald Koeman, the 21-year-old forward found himself operating in a right wing-back role which, to no one's surprise, was not all that successful.
Despite performing well as a lone striker at times, the majority of Calvert-Lewin’s playing time has come in the wider areas - covering for Yannick Bolasie when he was out injured to start the season.
The Sheffield born forward ultimately operates better in his natural central role but has performed as well as could be expected from him out wide.
That sort of role has continued under Allardyce where the youngster has found himself winning more physical battles than before and helping take some burden off January signing Cenk Tosun with his work rate.
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Chance for others
With only two games to go, Calvert-Lewin’s injury will offer up some time for others who could be facing a summer exit from the club a chance to prove themselves.
Allardyce, whose future is still undecided, is operating on the basis that he will be in charge at Goodison Park next season and is said to have begun drawing up potential transfer targets.
Oumar Niasse is the player who could ‘benefit’ most with some additional playing time as he is believed to be one of the players potentially headed for the exit door.