Everton's Ross Barkley admits surprise at starting so soon after injury

Ross Barkley says that he was not expecting to start for Everton so soon after returning to full fitness.

Ross Barkley says that he was surprised that he was given a start against Aston Villa upon returning from injury.

Barkley made his long awaited return in the middle of October, in a 3-0 victory over Villa, and he says that he was surprised that he was handed the opportunity to start the match by Roberto Martinez.

The England international midfielder had been out since pre-season, but Martinez did not break him in gently - favouring the opportunity to throw him straight in at the deep end. 

“It was a bit of a surprise to start the game against Aston Villa, to be honest," Barkley admitted to the Liverpool Echo. "I had only had a week’s worth of training but to go straight back in was great. I felt like I played well."

It turned out to be a good decision from the Spanish boss, as Barkley starred in the match, and the attacking midfielder would undoubtedly have been pleased to make such an impact.

Barkley's return to fitness has come at a good time for the Toffees, who had struggled over the initial period of the season.

Expectations are high at Goodison Park this season, after an excellent showing last year, and their opening few performances were concerning.

The side are unbeaten since Barkley's return, though, and they have picked up seven points from the last nine available.

It is a run which has pushed them into the top-half and they will be looking to continue their rapid ascent up the leagues in the upcoming weeks.

Barkley is likely to play a vital role as they try to climb the league, too, and he says that he is delighted to be back in the team. 

"I am buzzing to be back," the 20-year-old said. "It was frustrating at the time being injured and it was hard to be in the stands watching all the lads out there playing. I am relieved to now be back out on the pitch.”

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