Martinez Offers Injury Update On Key Duo Ahead Of Arsenal Game
Arsenal take on Everton at Goodison Park this weekend with both sides looking to give their top-four hopes a major boost. Here’s the latest Everton team news.
Toffees boss Roberto Martinez has been speaking at his weekly press conference on Friday morning and gave the Liverpool Echo the latest news regarding the fitness of key duo Ross Barkley and Phil Jagielka ahead of Sunday’s clash with Arsenal.
Jagielka has been on the sidelines for over a month with a hamstring injury and thankfully it looks like Martinez isn’t going to rush the defender back this weekend.
The England international is yet to return to full training and the Everton boss has confirmed they are going to be cautious not to throw him back into action too soon, meaning he’s highly unlikely to face Arsenal.
Martinez told reporters:
“We need to be very, very careful with the injury and need to be aware that we don’t get a re-occurrence.
“He is doing his individual programme but the medical department are not ready to allow him to join the group and be in the squad.
“I don’t think he will be available for the weekend.
“We need to play it safe with Phil. He has played a lot of football so we need to be careful with him.”
“The well being of the player is the most important thing. I rushed him back in one game (Liverpool at Anfield) because we had to. Sometimes you can make controlled gambles but at this stage of the season it could be a ‘fatal’ gamble.
“We want Phil Jagielka to be 100%. That will help the team and that will help him.” Martinez is quoted as saying by the Liverpool Echo
It will be a major loss to Everton if Jageilka does end up not playing and of course be a boost to Arsenal’s hopes of taking something away from the game. In his absence, John Stones is expected to deputise and while the youngster has shown huge promise this season, he’s no Jagielka, so the Arsenal attack may want to target him this Sunday.
Martinez also gave an update on Barkley after the midfielder was forced off at half time during last weeks win at Fulham with a calf injury. The 20-year-old has trained this week and it seems he’s winning his race to be fit in time to feature this weekend.
The highly-rated midfielder will be assessed over the next couple of days, but Martinez is confident he will be available. He continued:
“Ross has had two very good days since incident on Sunday,”
“We will assess him today and I hope he can join the group between today and tomorrow. We are very much positive and he should be available for the squad on Sunday.”
Barkley is a supreme talent and was hugely impressive in the FA Cup game last month, so he’s certainly one we’ll need to keep a close eye on if he does end up starting the game on Sunday.
We head into the match sitting just four points clear of Everton with the Merseysiders holding a game in hand, so defeat on Sunday would put us in serious danger of missing out on a top-four place. On the flip side, if we could come away with all three points it would go a long way to securing Champions League qualification and might even kick-start a late push for a top three finish.
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