Everton’s Dominic Calvert-Lewin faces month out with ‘freak’ knee injury

Everton could be without their leading striker, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, for the opening month of the Premier League season because of a “freak” knee injury sustained in training.

Calvert-Lewin, who missed most of last season through injury, sustained the blow on Tuesday and has been ruled out of the club’s opener against Chelsea on Saturday. But there are concerns the striker will be absent for the next month, giving Frank Lampard a major problem to overcome as he attempts to avoid another season of struggle.

Everton have sold their leading goalscorer last season, Richarlison, and, despite signing the winger Dwight McNeil from Burnley, have not replaced the goal threat provided by the Brazilian. That had placed even greater importance on the fitness of Calvert-Lewin after he made only 18 appearances last season.

With Salomón Rondón suspended for the Chelsea game after being sent off against Brentford near the end of last season, Everton will have no recognised and experienced striker available.

A month-long absence would also affect Calvert-Lewin’s chances of regaining his place in the England squad for the World Cup finals tournament in November and December given Gareth Southgate’s side face Italy and Germany in September.

Lampard said: “We are assessing Dom’s injury. No timeframe has been confirmed and we are pretty sure what level it is, so we are hopeful it is not long term. We’ll miss him for Chelsea. He was looking in great physical condition and was training really well.

“It was a freak injury in training, which does happen. It’s a shame but we have to find the solutions to keep ourselves strong without Dominic before he returns.”