By Philip Duncan
Everton have been dealt a major blow ahead of the new Premier League season after manager Frank Lampard revealed Dominic Calvert-Lewin will be sidelined for six weeks.
The 25-year-old England striker sustained what Lampard called a “freak” knee injury in training ahead of Everton’s fixture against Chelsea at Goodison Park on Saturday.
Calvert-Lewin’s injury leaves the Toffees short on options up front after Richarlison was sold to Tottenham, while Salomon Rondon is suspended for the visit of Lampard’s former club.
“Losing a player of Dominic’s quality in the week going into the first game is obviously going to affect you,” said Lampard.
“We are looking at around six weeks.”
The latest on Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s injury…
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“We are probably looking at around six weeks for the injury. It has been assessed over a couple of days and that is where we are at.
“It comes with the territory of having a squad and training at this level. We will have to work around it.
“Other players will have to step up and do the job and hopefully that six weeks passes relatively quickly and we get Dominic back.”
Calvert-Lewin missed four months of last season with a persistent muscle injury and was restricted to just 17 Premier League appearances, scoring five times.
Lampard added: “Dominic was looking great, really fit, really strong.
“I took him out of one pre-season game as a precaution but through pre-season we were constantly commenting on how good he looked, seemed, and we were very positive.
“It is a knock for everybody, particularly him, because I know the feeling as a player when you are getting pumped up and ready for the new season.
“I feel for him, but we will support him, as we always do, and as a team and squad we just have to look at the games in front of us.”
Everton, who narrowly avoided relegation last season, are set to be without Calvert-Lewin for their opening seven league fixtures against Chelsea, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Brentford, Leeds, Liverpool and Arsenal.
Asked if he needed to bolster his attacking options with a move for reported target, Chelsea’s 20-year-old striker Armando Broja, Lampard replied: “I wouldn’t speak about other targets individually, but in that area of the pitch, yes, we are obviously aware of what we have.
“We have lost Richarlison who was versatile across the front. I know we have bought in Dwight [McNeil] but we are very aware of areas we want to strengthen.
“Going into the first game with Salomon suspended as well makes it pretty clear that might be one of the areas we look at.”