End to rumours for Everton, relief? - Midfielder injury ends any Manchester United pursuit

Everton boss Roberto Martinez confirmed that midfielder Ross Barkley has sustained a broken toe and could miss up to six weeks.

The injury occurred during the Toffees' 4-0 FA Cup win over Championship side Queens Park Rangers, and the Everton manager Martinez confirmed that the timescale could be similar to that of Leighton Baines, after the left back was sidelined with an almost identical injury.

"It looks like he's going to be out for a while.” said Martinez. “It could be (broken) and that's what we're worried about. It's a very similar incident to the one Leighton Baines had. Some can go a couple of weeks and others a bit longer like Leighton. Because it was a bad one it took six weeks."

Whilst the loss of such a key player is an undoubted blow to Everton's hopes of breaking into the top four, the news will almost certainly put an end to the recent rumours linking 20-year-old Barkley with a move to Manchester United in order to reunite with manager David Moyes.

A January move for Barkley would've been very unlikely anyway, but speculation had suggested that Moyes, who gave Barkley his debut at Everton, was lining up a whopping £50m bid for the England international, whose great season has him in contention for a place in Roy Hodgson's squad for the 2014 World Cup.

Now, with his injury keeping him sidelined until at least February, all the talk surrounding Barkley's immediate future can stop. It may start once again in the summer, but Everton fans can be safe in the knowledge that their young star is set to stay at Goodison Park for the time being, at least.

Another bonus for Everton fans is that Barkley can now take a spell out of the team to recuperate, having played the majority of the team's games this season. Young players can suffer from burnout if they play too many games, and whilst the healing process from the injury will take some time, it gives Barkley a good opportunity to recharge his batteries ahead of the second half of the season, where he will be looking to guarantee his place in Brazil this summer.

Martinez is no doubt ruing the loss of such a key player, but there are positives to take from the news. Additionally, with Leon Osman waiting in the wings they have an adequate replacement until Barkley returns, though his absence includes the Liverpool game at Anfield on the 28th of January – which is a game Martinez will be looking to win as he seeks European qualification.

image: © Ben Sutherland

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