Everton manager Roberto Martinez says Ross Barkley has the character to bounce back from his latest injury setback and isn’t at all worried about his recovery.
The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakout season with his boyhood club last term, scoring six goals in 34 Premier League games to help the Toffees to fifth-place finish, while also earning a place in England’s World Cup squad.
Tipped for a stellar 2014-15 campaign, the midfielder, however, was dealt a big blow less than 24 hours before the sides’ top-flight opener last week, when he suffered medial knee ligament damage during a training session.
With rumours that he could miss up to five months of action, Martinez admits he’s unsure how long the Toffees will be without their star man but is adamant that he’ll return stronger than ever.
‘He won't be worried,’ he told the Liverpool Echo. ‘You worry if you've never had the opportunity to make a name for yourself in the first team and then you get an injury which becomes a big setback. Then you’re worrying: “Will I get a chance to show what I can do?” That's not the case at all.
‘Ross will take the time to refresh himself, work in certain aspects and he'll benefit from being away from the football pitches. He knows it's important everyone is eagerly awaiting him.
‘Whatever the season is for him it won't be 10 months and he needs to make sure the time he has is full of quality and the right level of intensity.
‘I've got no worries about finding him in a good frame of mind. He'll give us a boost when he comes back. We won't push him too early but we’ll be looking forward to when he can come back and lift us.’
Having recently re-signed with the club until 2018, reports that Barkley could only be out for eight weeks will serve as encouraging news for fans, who are hoping to see the team build on their impressive 2013-14 campaign to push for a Champions League spot this season.
How big a blow is it for Everton to lose Barkley for the start of the season?