Martinez fears long Barkley absence

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has admitted that midfielder Ross Barkley could be out of action for up to five months after sustaining a knee ligament injury, the Daily Mail has reported.

Barkley was training on Friday when he sustained the problem, and the initial thought was that he would be sidelined for between six and eight weeks. However, a scan has shown that injury is potentially worse than first feared and that he can now miss around half the season.

After the opening day 2-2 draw at Leicester City, Martinez said: ‘He had a scan but it was a bit difficult to determine the extent. With the swelling we don’t really know how bad the injury is. We know it’s a partial tear but that could be anything between seven weeks and I’ve seen injuries like that that take four or five months.

‘Ross Barkley is a phenomenal footballer and we’re going to miss him, there’s no doubt about it. He was so sharp in pre-season, I thought he came back with a different approach. He was very unfortunate to (sustain the injury) through an innocuous challenge in training and now he’s going to be out for a long, long time.’

As well as missing a number of Premier League, Europa League and domestic cup matches for Everton, Barkley is also set to be ruled out of England’s opening three qualifiers for Euro 2016.

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