Two Premier League clubs saw a pair of players return to the field after long spells on the sidelines.
Tottenham revealed that Victor Wanyama took part in training on Monday for the first time since suffering a knee injury in late August, which has kept him off the field since then. Wanyama started in both of Tottenham’s first two fixtures of the season before the injury.
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At the same time in the northwest of England, Yannick Bolasie returned to the field for Everton’s reserves for the first time since suffering a torn ACL last December against Manchester United. Everton manager Sam Allardyce hinted recently that Bolasie could even make the first team subs bench before the end of the calendar year as he continues his rehab.
Among my most quoted coaching lines comes from former University at Buffalo and current Canisius College men’s basketball coach Reggie Witherspoon (and pretty sure it didn’t originate with him).
“It’s more about Jims and Joes than x’s and o’s.”
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So if Everton rebounds from its rough start to the season to reach its preseason potential, there’s a good chance we’ll credit the return of one of the most electric attackers in the game and not necessarily their new boss.
Yannick Bolasie returned to training on Wednesday, and not a moment too soon following a near one-year layoff due to an ACL tear.
There’s no guarantee the 28-year-old Bolasie will have the same burst, of course, but he has the potential to be a season-changer.
Everton was 5-4-4 when Bolasie went down with his injury last season, and improved on the mark the rest of the way, but are a moribund 3-3-6 this season.
On his day, there are few attackers as electrifying as Everton’s Yannick Bolasie.
Toffees fans can be forgiven for forgetting that on occasion, considering the Congolese winger hasn’t set foot on the Goodison Park pitch in almost a year.
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It was about 11 months ago that Bolasie and Romelu Lukaku were promising plenty of fireworks and revealing they speak in Lingala in order to confuse defenders.
Now Lukaku is painting Europe red with Manchester United, and Everton continues to wait for Bolasie’s return from ACL surgery. That could be coming soon, judging by Bolasie’s Twitter.
Don’t get too excited, though, as Ronald Koeman issued this update in his pre-Europa League press conference Wednesday.
“When I watch it I thought maybe he is available for tomorrow! He is doing well, it’s a long period and he’s working hard. What he did is not only football – you need to be stronger and ready to be competition. Maybe not three, four, five weeks until he’s ready to start first-team training.”
This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.
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A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.
Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.
In keeping Romelu Lukaku around and convincing Yannick Bolasie to come to Goodison Park, Everton walked right into a secret advantage.
With apologies to Ross Barkley, Lukaku and Bolasie are the club’s most dangerous weapons. And they are made a bit more mysterious by a common bond few defenses can understand.
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That bond is the Congolese dialect of Lingala, a Bantu language.
The Liverpool Echo’s Phil Kirkbride has the story of how Lukaku and Bolasie use that little spoken — at least in England — dialect to help outfox defenders.
“It really helps when we talk in our language, Lingala, and I know his cousin, who plays with me for DR Congo.
“There aren’t too many defenders in the league who speak it, so that gives us a little bit of an advantage.
“It’s particularly useful because it’s quick.”
That’s a cool little quirk — not to boil a language down to a quirk — for Bolasie and Lukaku.