By Joe Ellis

23rd Jan, 2022 | 4:40pm

Blow for Everton as Doucoure suffers groin injury v Aston Villa

Everton have been dealt a major injury blow with influential midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure suffering a groin injury during the 1-0 defeat to Aston Villa.

The Frenchman was forced off with roughly 25 minutes to go on Saturday and was replaced by academy product Tyler Onyango.

The Toffees confirmed that Doucoure, who was once described as “like a marathon runner” by Jamie Redknapp [Daily Mail], would undergo rehab at Finch Farm but didn’t confirm how long he would be out for.

“Everton midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure sustained a groin injury in Saturday’s Premier League meeting with Aston Villa and will begin treatment under the care of the Club’s medical staff at USM Finch Farm,” Everton’s statement read.

Crucial loss

This is the absolute last thing Everton or Duncan Ferguson will have wanted given the importance of Doucoure to the Toffees midfield.

The 29-year-old has missed just four Premier League games this season, none of which Everton came out on the winning side.

His tenacity and energy in the centre of the park will have surely been vital to Ferguson’s plans to be aggressive and fight hard for every ball.

Now though, he may be forced to change those plans with Allan, the likely replacement to partner Andre Gomes in the middle, a more reserved, defensive midfielder rather than the box-to-box nature of Doucoure.

Aston Villa’s midfield certainly looked more comfortable once the persistent presence of Doucoure had been forced off and that helped them manage the game to the end and take all three points back to the Midlands.

The winter break will give Doucoure a week to relax and an FA Cup tie against Brentford the following weekend is another chance for recovery so he may not miss as many games as first feared thanks to the quirks of the fixture list.

In other Everton news, Gabby Agbonlahor has raved about one particular player after Saturday’s game.