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Everton blow as Barkley faces six weeks on sidelines

Everton face an anxious wait to discover the extent of a knee injury sustained by Ross Barkley in training.

The England midfielder received a knock yesterday when preparing for today's Premier League opener at Leicester.

Barkley will undergo a scan in the next couple of days to assess the damage.

He was a key player for manager Roberto Martinez last season and earned a place at the World Cup on the back of his club performances.

However, the 20-year-old could be facing several weeks out and that would be a significant blow to Everton.

It has been reported that he could miss between six and eight weeks, meaning he could be out until the middle of October, missing Everton's opening seven fixtures of the season in the process.

Barkley made 34 league appearances in the league in a breakthrough 2013-14 season, scoring six goals, with his performances earning rave reviews.

An academy graduate, Barkley had been linked with a move away, with Manchester City and Chelsea rumoured to be interested in the youngster, but he outlined his commitment last month by signing a new four-year contract to remain at Goodison Park.

Meanwhile, Everton manager Roberto Martinez begins his second season with a long-term plan not only to win trophies but also to lay foundations for a successful future. One of the Spaniard's key words during the summer was "stability" and that has been achieved by tying down pivotal figures to lengthy deals.

Martinez himself agreed a new five-year contract in June - an example followed by defenders Seamus Coleman, after arguably his best season for the Toffees, and John Stones while Barkley signed for four more years.

But he is also planning for the longer term with improvements to the club's academy to help more promising youngsters break through. "You need to manage the club as if you are going to be here for the next 100 years and you need to make decisions in the younger age groups where you develop them even if you are not going to see them - although the club will eventually get the benefit," Martinez said ahead of today's Premier League opener at Leicester City.

"Every manager should work in that manner. You are not looking at the short-term doing everything and anything to win a trophy and then move on.

"I have never got satisfaction from that, I get satisfaction from trying to build clubs and philosophies that last.

"Whatever happens with the manager, for good or bad reasons, you want to have the long-term continuity and vision that is shared by everyone."