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Everton and England starlet Ross Barkley has been ruled out for between three and six weeks with a broken toe – meaning he will miss the Merseyside derby.
The 20-year-old midfielder, a contender for the PFA Young Player of the Year award on his performances so far this season, suffered the injury during Everton’s 4-0 FA Cup third-round win over Queens Park Rangers on January 4.
Barkley missed the Toffees’ 2-0 victory over Norwich City at the weekend and could be out until the end of February.
Everton, who are currently warm-weather training in Tenerife, say Barkley has a “small fracture” and the length of his absence depends on how quickly the injury heals.
The midfielder is now set to miss the Merseyside derby against Liverpool at Anfield in a fortnight, and could also be out of Premier League games against Tottenham and Chelsea in February.
He will also be absent for the club’s FA Cup fourth-round clash with Stevenage next week and their upcoming Premier League match against relegation-threatened West Bromwich Albion.
Everton defender Leighton Baines fractured his toe when Everton and Liverpool drew 3-3 in the season’s first Merseyside derby at Goodison Park in late November, an injury which saw him miss six matches.
Barkley’s injury did not prevent him from travelling with the squad to Tenerife although he will be unable to take part in training for the next two weeks.