By Jonty Banks

3rd Dec, 2022 | 7:10am

Everton: James Garner may now be out until February after latest news - Injury Expert

Everton midfielder James Garner may not return from injury until February, leaving Frank Lampard precariously short of options in the middle of the park, according to Ben Dinnery.

The 21-year-old was subbed off against Bournemouth with a suspected back injury and was subsequently absent from the squad that travelled to Australia for the Sydney Super Cup.

The youngster is yet to start a Premier League game this season since his deadline-day move from Manchester United, and the injury comes as a blow to an already disappointing season.

The Athletic’s injury expert Ben Dinnery believes that despite the initial prognosis suggesting a short-term lay-off awaited, contrary news has now arisen from Goodison Park.

He told Give Me Sport: “So, this was an update from Frank Lampard again, [Garner suffered] an injury picked up in the Carabao Cup and missed out on game week 16. Subsequently, he didn’t travel on the club’s mid-season tour of Australia.

“The initial sort of prognosis was relatively okay, but subsequent evaluations and testaments reveal that it’s probably going to be towards maybe the end of January or even early February before Garner is back in contention.”

From bad to worse

Garner’s start to life on the Merseyside couldn’t have gone much worse.

The midfielder has yet to fully establish himself in Lampard’s plans since his move from Old Trafford, despite fans feeling the youngster had the passing range and ability to thrive in the middle of the park for Everton.

In his absence, the door could be left ajar for Isaac Price to barge through following two promising performances for the first team during the Sydney Super Cup.

With Price chomping at the bit for game time and Lampard likely to bring in fresh faces to his paper-thin squad in January, Garner could suddenly find himself a long way down the pecking order.

From an Everton perspective, the injury comes as a huge blow to Lampard, who will have to shuffle his troops diligently over the festive period in order to come out unscathed.

It’s bad news for the club, but an even worse diagnosis for the player.