Everton manager Roberto Martinez has announced that winger Steven Pienaar has returned to training and is close to making his return from a knee injury, ESPN has reported.
The South African has not played for the Toffees since December 15, when he featured in the 3-1 victory over Queens Park Rangers. During his three and-a-half months out of action, Everton have won just three Premier League games, and have arguably missed his partnership with Leighton Baines on the left.
It has been his second lengthy lay-off of the season, having been out for a month with a groin problem sustained against Arsenal in August. He is now back in training throughout the international break, and will hope to play a part in Everton’s upcoming match at home to Southampton on April 4 as they look to continue their recent upturn in form.
Martinez stopped short of confirming that he would face the Saints, but revealed Pienaar is in contention. He said: “We had very good news on Steven.
“He’s going to join the group on Monday and we’ll take it from that point on, making sure that slowly but surely we give him the right path to being fully fit and being able to enjoy his football again. We’ve missed Stevie massively throughout this season and it’s important we’ll be able to see him on a football pitch before the season ends.”
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