“Phil is really important for the squad as well, his spirit and his mentality – he’s a real leader and we’re definitely going to miss him.
“But there’s no point crying about it. That’s football, it’s the way it is and we’re going to have to do without him.”
Now Distin is calling on his Everton teammates to provide extra leadership while their 35-year-old captain is sidelined.
David Moyes admitted his side missed Neville during their 2-1 defeat by Reading on Saturday, and his injury setback coincides with a tough run of forthcoming fixtures against Norwich, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham.
But Distin believes it is crucial that others shoulder the extra responsibility. He said: “It’s for us now to find a solution on the pitch. If one leader is missing maybe each player has to be a leader on their own and try to fill the gap. We can’t use it as an excuse.
“It’s a shame but it’s part of football - you’re always going to have injuries.”