Everton manager Marco Silva has said midfielder André Gomes could still play a part in the remainder of the Blues’ season despite suffering a horrific injury last weekend.
Gomes, 26, was the victim of a late challenge from Tottenham Hotspur’s Son Heung-min during a 1-1 home draw with Spurs on Sunday, and was released from hospital on Tuesday after surgery on a fracture dislocation to his right ankle.
Son Heung-min is sent off for a tackle on Andre Gomes, who is stretchered off with a horrifying injury, with both sets of players are visibly distressed.— Sky Sports Premier League (@SkySportsPL) November 3, 2019
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And speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s trip to Southampton, Silva would not put a time scale on his recovery, but said Gomes’ return before the end of the 2019-20 season is a possibility:
"It's not easy for us to give a date about when he will return. The feedback I had from our medical staff is that it's possible we'll see André play again this season.
"Of course, all of us saw that moment. It's a really serious injury, but everything went really well and we hope we can see him playing again this season. It's not something we are 100 per cent sure on, but we are in a good position to do that."
Thank you for your unconditional support!— André Gomes (@aftgomes) November 6, 2019
Obrigado pelo vosso apoio incondicional!
¡Muchas gracias por todo vuestro apoyo! pic.twitter.com/KEz31pvWD2
Silva added that Gomes, who will now continue his rehabilitation with Everton’s medical team, should be aided by having this target set for him, but knows he has a long way to go yet.
That said, he did not doubt Gomes’ mental fortitude, and reiterated the support he has from the whole club:
"It [the target] will help him, of course. That moment was really tough, but it was good for him to be with us at Finch Farm on Tuesday, to spend some minutes with him, and for him to feel our support as well.
"André is strong, he will stay strong, for sure, and will become stronger as a player. But it's always a tough moment for all of the players when something like that happens. It was really bad luck, but now is the moment for us to support him."
Though Son’s rash challenge precipitated the injury, it was the subsequent collision with Spurs’ right-back, Serge Aurier, which seemed to cause the extent of the damage Gomes has suffered.
Both players, particularly Son, looked visibly distraught immediately after the incident, and the Korean, who appeared to offer an apology to Gomes during his goal celebration in Tottenham’s Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday, has also texted Gomes to say sorry, Silva revealed.
"He received a text message from Son. Of course, that moment was toughest for André, but it was also really tough for Son and Aurier.
"Now is the moment for us to understand the situation, but most importantly to give all our support to André."
Instead of celebrating after scoring, Heung Min-Son sent an apology to André Gomes. Classy. pic.twitter.com/r6KygBidOW— FutbolBible (@FutbolBible) November 6, 2019
The red card Son received from referee Martin Atkinson on Sunday was also then appealed by Spurs and controversially rescinded on Tuesday.
But Silva would not be drawn into debating whether he agreed with this decision, and said he would only talk about it in depth when he and Everton are in the same position as Spurs have been this week:
"I'm not the right person [to ask]. I'm here to respect all the decisions made. I'm not going to make any big comments about that.
"In some countries, you could appeal it, in others you cannot. It's one of the type of rules that is changing in some countries. But if the rule is there and the club can do that, if they feel it is a moment to do that, then let’s see in the future if the same happens with us and we have to decide. Then, I will talk about that."
When asked if the punishment should have stood given Son seemingly had no chance of winning the ball back, he answered:
"Difficult question. Of course, it was a strong tackle. I was the first one after the match to say that Son doesn't have a bad intention.
"He wanted to stop André straight at that moment. After that, it's for the referee to decide."
Elsewhere on the injury front, Everton will also still be without other long-term absentees Jean-Philippe Gbamin and Bernard, while fellow midfielder Fabian Delph, Silva said, is a major doubt.