One week after seeing Ross Barkley suffer a foot injury, Everton is still unsure how long they’ll be without their attacking midfielder, with manager Roberto Martínez confessing the 20-year-old may be out “a while.” Originally in the picture to play this weekend in Norwich, Barkley is now feared to have a broken toe, an injury that could sideline him for six weeks.
Barkley was brought off late on Jan. 4 against Queens Park Rangers, his team already up 4-0 in its FA Cup third round match. Whereas it was originally thought a week off would allow Barkley to return for league action, Martínez now fears the injury is “a bit more serious” than originally diagnosed.
From the club website:
“Ross had a knock in his toe against Queens Park Rangers and we all felt that it would settle and he’d be able to play [against Norwich],” the Blues boss told evertontv. “As it turned out, I think it’s a bit more serious than we expected and it could be a fracture in his metatarsal and we need to assess it in the next few days …”
From reporting at The Guardian, Martínez went on to compare the injury to one that recently sidelined left back Leighton Baines. If, according to Martínez, Barkley’s injury is anything like Baines’, the midfielder could miss six weeks. If, however, the injury is less severe, he could play “straight away.”
Yet even if Barkley’s subjected to the worst case scenario, Martínez sees a silver lining.
“It is a blow but in the same way, at such a young age, we’re going to use this as a perfect rest for him to come back and be as strong and as sharp as he can be in the second half of the season,” Martínez told EvertonTV.
Barkley has been a regular in attacking midfield since Martínez’s summer arrival, recording three goals and one assist in 19 Premier League appearances.
If he is out for six weeks, Barkley will miss matches at West Bromwich Albion (Jan. 20), Stevenage (Jan. 25, FA Cup), and Liverpool (Jan. 28) before the Toffees host Aston Villa (Feb. 1), visit Tottenham (Feb. 9), and welcome Crystal Palace (Feb. 12).
Everton’s Feb. 22 visit to Stamford Bridge falls just inside the six-week window.