Andre Gomes is available to feature for Everton against Arsenal on Sunday, with Carlo Ancelotti open to starting the midfielder.
Gomes has been out of action since November after suffering a serious ankle injury in a 1-1 draw with Tottenham at Goodison Park.
The playmaker’s absence, along with injuries and suspensions to Morgan Schneiderlin, Gylfi Sigurdsson and Fabian Delph, has left the Toffees lacking in midfield options at times in the intervening period.
However, the former Barcelona player returned to training in January and, after completing a 60-minute training match this week, has now been passed fit to return for Sunday’s clash with Arsenal at Emirates Stadium.
Everton sit two points ahead of Mikel Arteta’s side, with both clubs chasing European qualification, and Ancelotti is prepared to start Gomes if the player feels he is ready.
“Andre is available to play. He trained well, properly, with confidence and without problems,” Ancelotti, who added Theo Walcott is likely to miss out through injury against his former club, told a news conference.
“My opinion is he is ready to play. Before the game we are going to speak together and decide whether he can start the game or if he goes on the bench.
“We have very important games. Now we have to focus on Arsenal, then we have Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool. After we can see what is going on for Europe.”
Everton are in search of a third successive Premier League win, with the Toffees having lost just one top-flight match since Marco Silva was sacked in early December.
Goals from Richarlison and Dominic Calvert-Lewin ultimately sealed a 3-1 win over Crystal Palace last time out, though Jordan Pickford’s mistake had allowed Christian Benteke to cancel out Bernard’s opener.
Ancelotti, though, has complete faith in the England international goalkeeper.
“To be England number one is a big responsibility,” Ancelotti said. “He deserves this because, in my opinion, he is the best English goalkeeper.
“In the game against Crystal Palace he made a mistake but then a fantastic save. You can have a mistake, but you need the personality to move on quickly.
“Jordan is really important for us, he is a complete goalkeeper.”
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