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Everton are coming off a 2-1 defeat to Manchester United last weekend, and manager Roberto Martinez has provided fans with a welcome boost by confirming that experienced centre back Sylvain Distin will return after the international break having leftthe Frenchman out of the team lately, citing that the 36-year-old needed a rest.
"Sylvain needed a bit of a rest, obviously he played a lot of football, in the preseason too. He is someone I needed to manage his amount of games, and his input," said Martinez. "He is fully fit, has trained really well and is now making sure we see him fighting for his place in the team. In Sylvain’s case in the last couple of weeks, he needed to refresh and work on certain aspects and now he is back and ready to fight for his place on the team."
Distin's return is good news, particularly with the revelation that young centre back John Stones will be sidelined for three months. The England international fell awkwardly against United at Old Trafford on Sunday, and will require surgery to repair his ankle injury, leading to Martinez saying he is 'counting down the days' until the 20-year-old returns.
"John will need surgery, which will give us a perfect recovery for his left ankle,” said Martinez. "We expect him to be out for probably the next 10 to 14 weeks depending on how everything goes. It’s a clear injury – not a complicated injury."
"It’s a setback, because you don’t want to lose any players, but in John’s case we were very worried in the moment that it happened because those injuries can become a little bit difficult to treat. But this one is going to be straightforward and we are already counting down the days for him to come back and we’ll make sure he comes back stronger and ready for the final and most important part of the season."
In more injury news, Martinez confirmed that the club are expecting midfielder Ross Barkley to return to training on Monday. The talented England star has missed the entire season so far with knee ligament damage, but his return is drawing ever closer according to Martinez.
"On Monday we expect Ross, with the green light from the medical department, to join the group," Martinez said. "Now it's a matter of getting him match fit and getting him up to speed. Ross has been working really well and I don't expect any setbacks. I expect Ross to have a real clear path to get his match fitness back."