Kilbane may need ankle op

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Everton want Kevin Kilbane to skip international duty with Republic of Ireland to ensure he clears up a nagging ankle injury.

The midfielder has been suffering with an ankle problem for several months and Everton are determined to remedy the situation before the start of pre-season training.

The Toffees are hopeful that rest will resolve the issue, with Kilbane currently enjoying a month off in a bid to avoid surgery.

Toffees boss David Moyes hopes an operation will not be necessary and feels missing Ireland's summer friendly programme will boost Kilbane's chances of being fit for next season.

"He has been playing with the pain for some time and we would rather he got it sorted out before pre-season," said Moyes.

"Kevin may require a minor ankle operation because he is in pain when he strikes the ball. That could mean he would miss games for the Republic."

Everton physio Mick Rathbone expanded on Kilbane's injury and admits the former Sunderland ace will require surgery if rest fails to clear up the problem.

"Kevin's got a chronic ankle problem, which has developed over the past three or four years, whereby when he really strikes a ball hard - and over-strains his foot in doing so - he gets pain deep in his ankle," said Rathbone.

"There's a couple of little pieces of bone which have grown in the past few years and they may need fishing out in the summer.

"What we're going to do is give him one month's complete rest and re-assess the situation, so it's 50-50 whether he needs an operation.

"Having said that, the four weeks' rest was going to start at the end of the season but because he injured his hamstring against Blackburn Rovers and he's unlikely to play again this season, he's already into his month's rest now."