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Returning Everton midfielder a welcome sight in training

In a position that demands aggression and fearlessness, how will Gbamin cope with the demands on his body?

Jean-Philippe Gbamin Continues Rehabilitation With Everton Photo by Tony McArdle/Everton FC via Getty Images

There has been setback after another, pushing out his timeline for a return to training by weeks at a time, but it’s looking like an eventual appearance on the pitch for Jean-Philippe Gbamin is close.

Even as recently as mid-February Carlo Ancelotti was anticipating that the midfielder would be playing soon -

“He is working, he is training individually. Everything is going well, we have to start to think about when to start training with the team in the next fifteen days, and to start playing within one month.”

However that got pushed out by another fortnight or so but pictures released by the club during this international break now confirm that the 26-year-old has completed the solo part of rehabilitation and is in contact training with his teammates.

There remain some concerns about Gbamin’s durability, though his injury history before coming to Everton did not indicate any cause for worry. However, if anything, Ancelotti will attempt to ease him back into the game after such a long layoff for mental reasons as much as physical.

With Abdoulaye Doucoure out likely for the rest of the season, his energy and workrate is desperately being missed in the Everton midfield. Ideally Gbamin will be able to step right in and perform the same role that the French midfielder has fulfilled so well in his debut season with the Blues. However, it will be necessary to heap so much expectation on Gbamin especially after such an extended period without playing competitively.

Will he play ‘afraid’, especially in a position where aggression is almost required? It felt like Andre Gomes is still cautious at times and he is months removed from his own horrific injury. Never a quick player to begin with, Gomes’ lack of speed in the middle often bites the Blues defensively with him losing his man or vainly fouling an opponent in dangerous areas.

However, Gbamin will have the perfect role model to learn from at Everton. Club Captain Seamus Coleman suffered his own traumatic injury while on international duty a couple of years ago, but has maintained his fiery temperament and shown immense courage in returning to the game when many thought he would retire. Indeed, even James McCarthy has done well to recover from a horrific leg-break while at the Toffees and continues to be a fierce competitor on the pitch for Crystal Palace.

We wish Gbamin well on his return to the squad, and can’t wait to see him in action for the first time in the hummel-Cazoo blue shirt!