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Saturday 10 December 2016

Everton's Deulofeu to miss opener

Gerard Deulofeu in action for Everton
Gerard Deulofeu in action for Everton

Everton's most expensive pre-season signing, Gerard Deulofeu, is expected to miss the opening Premier League game against Watford this weekend, manager Roberto Martinez said on Monday.

The 21-year-old, who spent the 2013-14 season on loan from Barcelona, suffered a hamstring injury in the Asia Trophy in Singapore a fortnight ago.

"He's already working at 60 percent so I don't expect him to be too far away," Martinez told reporters.

"Maybe the weekend will be too early for him."

Everton also have doubts about another winger, Kevin Mirallas, and the England defender John Stones for Saturday's opener after both were injured in Sunday's testimonial match for former striker Duncan Ferguson against Villareal.

Mirallas will be assessed by medical staff tomorrow.

The 21-year-old has had problems with hamstring injuries before, missing two months of his loan season at Goodison after being stretchered off at home to Fulham in December.

Referee Mike Jones will take charge of Everton's first game of the Premier League season for the second consecutive year.

Jones will be in the middle against Watford next Saturday.

The 47-year-old officiated just two Blues matches throughout the 2014/15 campaign but one was the 2-2 draw at Leicester City on the opening day.

He also did the 1-0 win over Burnley in April - handing Roberto Martinez's side a penalty which Ross Barkley took only for it to be saved.

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