Everton’s Leighton Baines to miss three months after ankle surgery

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The 2015-16 Premier League season is off to a fine enough start for Everton, who drew 2-2 with Watford on the opening day of the season last Saturday.

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While Roberto Martinez’s side will take their point following something of a disappointing performance against the newly promoted outfit, they won’t be relishing the next challenge that lies ahead of them: navigating the first three months of the season without their stalwart of a left back, Leighton Baines.

It was announced on Thursday that Baines, who injured his ankle in a training session just before last weekend’s curtain raiser, had undergone “a successful ankle operation” to repair ligament damage.

Before the extent of the injury was known, Martinez called any potential period of time to be missed by Baines, “a real disaster.” … “We were preparing for the Watford game and in training, he blocks the ball and it hits him in exactly the same place where he had surgery (at the end of last season).”

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19-year-old Brendan Galloway started at left back versus Watford in Baines’ absence. Up next for the Toffees is a visit to Southampton this Saturday (Watch live, 7:45 am ET on NBCSN and online via Live Extra).

Baines is also set to miss England’s four remaining 2016 European Championship qualifying games against San Marino, Switzerland, Estonia and Lithuania, though with 18 points already won from six games, the Three Lions have already qualified for next summer’s tournament in France.