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Barkley to return next week?

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Midfielder recovering well from knee injury.

Air Barkley!
Air Barkley!
Clive Brunskill

With all the bad news that has been raining down on Everton in the last couple of weeks, Roberto Martinez finally brought the fans some good news today. Ross Barkley, who has not played a game yet this season, will return to full training next week.

"On Monday we expect Ross, with the green light from the medical department, to join the group.

"Now it’s a matter of getting him match fitness and getting him up to speed. Ross has been working really, really well and I don’t expect any setbacks. I expect Ross, from now on, to have a real clear path to get his match fitness back.

"He’ll be like a fresh, new player for us."

- Roberto Martinez

The internationals this week provide Martinez a welcome break to get more of his depleted squad back to fitness. The Blues will play three games in eight days starting next Saturday, home against Aston Villa, away to Lille on Thursday in the Europa League and then on Sunday at recently-promoted Burnley.

When pressed on how quickly Barkley could play, Martinez said -

"Remember, one of Ross’ biggest strengths is his physicality and how strong he is sometimes helps in terms of getting his match fitness.

"But he has been out for a while and we need to make sure we give him the right work now to make sure he is at his very best. His desire and hunger to be in the team is contagious and that is something I want to have with the group.

"From Monday I want him to be part of it and in probably a couple of weeks we should be able to see Ross in the squad."

Everton have sorely missed the youngster's creativity going forward, and hopefully his return could provide the team the necessary spark going forward, especially with some winnable games in their near future.