Sunday 22 October 2017

Roberto Martinez plays down speculation linking Ross Barkley with £50m Man City move

Rumoured Manchester City target Ross Barkley is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury
Rumoured Manchester City target Ross Barkley is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a knee injury

Eleanor Crooks

Roberto Martinez shrugged off reports linking Manchester City with a move for England midfielder Ross Barkley.

City were said this week to be lining up a move for the 20-year-old, one of Everton's prize assets, next summer.

Martinez is well used to being asked about potential bids for Barkley and insisted there had been no contact from City in connection with the player.

The Toffees boss said: "It's a rumour and we'll leave it there. We've spoken enough in the past about potential interest and I always mention the same - we take it as a footballing compliment and we'll move on.

"All we want from Ross now is to be able to get him fully fit and get him ready to enjoy his football and help the team. We are looking forward to that day."

Barkley suffered a knee ligament injury in training just before Everton's first game of the season against Leicester and had been expected to be ruled out until November at the earliest.

Martinez revealed his recovery is ahead of schedule but is reluctant to put a date on Barkley's possible return to action.

"Medicine and football don't go hand in hand because the football, you want the player to be fit tomorrow, and medicine always wants an extra day," said the Spaniard.

"But he's doing really well. He's starting to run, which is something we didn't expect until next week. Now the next bit will be introducing the ball.

"I do expect that he's going to be a few weeks still but he's well ahead of what we expected and it's all positive."

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