Toffees manager Roberto Martinez has told Goal that he could be without Romelu Lukaku and Kevin Mirallas following their World Cup involvement.
The Belgian pair reached the quarter-finals of 2014 World Cup in Brazil before being knocked out by Argentina. Just over a month later and neither Lukaku or Mirallas have played any part in pre-season.
Lukaku completed his permanent move to Goodison Park a week and a half ago, smashing Everton’s transfer record but his debut in the number 10 shirt looks to be delayed further when he was expected to play some part last Saturday against SC Paderborn 07.
Mirallas suffered a hamstring injury at the end of last season against Manchester United but did recover in time to play and impress at the World Cup.
Less than a week to go before Everton’s opening game of the season away to Leicester City and neither are match fit or even fully fit.
The Toffees manager said; "When you have players coming back from the World Cup you have to decide if you want the players straight away or do you give them a bit of time to refresh and be ready to play for 10 months?
"It will only be Kevin Mirallas and Rom who might not start the season. For Romelu, it will depend on how he adapts to work from now until August 16th.
"There is a degree of risk if you put them into a situation so early. They’ve been training really well and are accumulating a lot of work."
In terms of results it hasn’t been a successful pre-season for the Blues, who were without a win and Martinez now saying he could be without two of his best attacking players only adds to the anxiety amongst Evertonians for the start of the 2014/15 campaign.
Seamus Coleman and Luke Garbutt suffered injury in the first two games of pre-season, respectively and with a further two players lacking in fitness the Spaniard may look into dipping back into the transfer market.
However the recoveries of Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo determine the level of Everton’s involvement in the transfer window from now until deadline day.
Martinez went on to say; "Towards the end of last season I said we needed six more players, but it wasn’t six new players, it was six players.
We have added Barry, Lukaku and Besic and we also have Tony Hibbert who re-signed. We still need one or two, depending on how quickly Arouna Kone and Bryan Oviedo recover from their injuries."