Ross Barkley Injury: Updates on Everton Star's Status and Return

Ben BlackmoreFeatured ColumnistJanuary 9, 2014

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  Ross Barkley of Everton celebrates with Bryan Oviedo after scoring his teams first goal during the Budweiser FA Cup third round match between Everton and Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park on January 4, 2014 in Liverpool, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Everton have been dealt a blow after Roberto Martinez revealed Ross Barkley might miss the weekend’s Premier League clash with Norwich.

Martinez held his pre-match press conference on Thursday, during which the club’s official Twitter account noted:

The Everton boss elaborated on Barkley’s fitness issue, per the club's official website, hinting he should be fine for the Toffees’ next game on Jan. 20 at West Brom:

We are going to assess Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines and Ross Barkley who got a knock against Queens Park Rangers. Those four players are the ones that we have got a question mark over.

Ross had a knock on the toe in his right foot. It’s a bit swollen but we are hoping that he is going to be fine for the weekend.

Everyone else is fine.

Everton will be keen to ensure Barkley misses as few games as possible, given his magnificent form this season.

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - JANUARY 04:  Ross Barkley of Everton celebrates with team mates after scoring his teams first goal during the Budweiser FA Cup third round match between Everton and Queens Park Rangers at Goodison Park on January 4, 2014 in Liverpool,
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

Playing just behind Romelu Lukaku, the youngster has offered genuine dynamism and pace to the Everton attack.

Barkley has scored three times in 16 Premier League starts, per WhoScored, but his overall impact is not accurately reflected by the numbers.

Teammate Gareth Barry rates Barkley so highly that he insists the youngster would light up the World Cup for England:

Everton played Norwich on the opening day of the season, during which Barkley netted a sublime long-range strike and stood out as the game’s outstanding player in a 2-2 draw.

In truth, if Everton are serious about their prospects of finishing in the top four this season—currently one point behind Liverpool—they must prove they can dispose of teams like Norwich without Barkley.

His injury setback arrives at a bad time, should it rule him out of the weekend’s fixture, given that Gerard Deulofeu is also sidelined.

Martinez would likely be forced to decide whether to use a second striker to replace Barkley, or field Kevin Mirallas in a more central role close to Lukaku.

Victory would lift Everton back above Liverpool in the table ahead of the Reds’ trip to Stoke on Sunday.