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Everton captain Phil Jagielka has been ruled out for up to four weeks because of a hamstring problem, but he could return for the Merseyside derby.
Toffees manager Roberto Martinez confirmed the loss of Jagielka for most of his side’s January fixtures after the defender missed Everton’s 2-1 Premier League home victory over Southampton on Sunday.
“With this soft tissue injury it could be up to four weeks. Knowing Jags he will be back earlier,” said the Goodison Park boss, who revealed that Jagielka suffered the injury at the end of Everton’s 1-0 defeat to Sunderland on Boxing Day.
“It is just the accumulation of games and the demands of this month – November into December is high-risk in terms of injuries to the players.
“When you have the number of games we play, it is understandable.
The 31-year-old England international had started Everton’s 18 previous Premier League matches as the Toffees have established themselves as a genuine top four contender.
Jagielka had also played in both of the club’s Capital One Cup matches and all four World Cup qualifiers for England.
Martinez will be keen to get his captain back for the Merseyside derby at Anfield on January 28th with Everton currently sat one place higher and one point better off than rivals Liverpool.