Everton midfielder Idrissa Gana Gueye is headed back to the club unexpectedly early after tournament favourites Senegal were knocked out at the quarterfinal stage of the Africa Cup of Nations tournament by Cameroon. The Lions of Teranga were held to a goalless draw in regular and extra time, and then lost 5-4 in the penalty shootout with Liverpool’s Sadio Mane missing the last shot.
Gueye had spurned a chance to win the game with four minutes to play, but his shot was parried by goalkeeper Fabrice Ondoa, and Mane then shot the rebound wide.
The midfielder has been keeping up to date with the progress the Blues have been making, and spoke to evertontv before yesterday’s game -
"I feel good and fresh. The team worked very hard in the first two games and it was important to have a bit of a rest after that because the games come so quickly.
"It’s going to be a tough game because Cameroon are a big team in Africa. We are looking forward to the challenge and we’re working to win the game. We have a good team and we work hard for each other, so there’s no reason we can’t go further in the competition.
"We are confident because we know the quality we have in our team. We don’t feel pressure, the pressure is more on Cameroon.
"The people of Senegal are happy because it’s the first time we have reached the quarter-finals for 11 years and now we want to keep going and keep making them happy."
At the time of Gueye’s departure for the competition, the midfield situation looked bleak for the Blues with Tom Davies yet to make his mark, Morgan Schneiderlin not signed yet and James McCarthy still recovering from his latest injury setback.
However, in the three Premier League games while Gueye has been away, the Blues are yet to concede a goal and have scored eight times. Davies’ energy has revitalized the team and it’ll be interesting to see how manager Ronald Koeman resolves his situation with five fit midfielders and two or three positions to fill.