Belfast Telegraph

Martinez keen to cure McCarthy woes

Everton boss Roberto Martinez is determined to get to the bottom of James McCarthy's hamstring issues.

The midfielder returned from a short spell out with a hamstring problem last weekend but limped off after only half an hour of Thursday's Europa League clash against Wolfsburg.

It seems highly unlikely he will feature in Sunday's match against Tottenham at White Hart Lane but Martinez insisted he did not regret playing the midfielder in Germany.

The Toffees boss said: "We're going to get him checked today. The reaction was good from last night but we'll find out exactly what the extent is.

"It's the hamstring that he had a bit of trouble with beforehand and we need to assess it with a lot of intention. It's a serious problem because it's a problem he's had before and we need to make sure we find the root of the problem.

"I would have had regrets if the injury had happened in the 80th minute, because clearly then it's because the tissues were fatigued and you're running a bigger risk.

"Football is a contact sport and you always run the risk of injuries. Yesterday was different. It was after 10/15 minutes, the soft tissues should have been in good condition.

"If you could predict what could happen, obviously you would stop those sort of incidents."

McCarthy has been hugely impressive since following Martinez from Wigan to Goodison Park in the summer of 2013.

"The reason that he's been affected with these sort of injuries is because of the amount of games he's been playing," said Martinez.

"He's a young man and he's played a huge amount of games, I think it's over 160 Premier League fixtures already, which is an incredible figure.

"His body is getting used to the demands of playing European football and international football and the domestic competition, so we need to make sure we find the right balance.

"That could go as far as nutrition, making sure the balance between rest and playing is right, and we're going to help him in that respect.

"But it's one of those injuries that comes for the right reasons. He's whole-hearted and he gives everything in every performance."

Everton's treatment room has been very busy in recent weeks but Martinez is hoping he will have up to four players back on Sunday.

Full-back Leighton Baines and striker Steven Naismith have also had hamstring issues while Gareth Barry has been sidelined by an ankle problem and Steven Pienaar a knee issue.

Martinez is still set to be without Darron Gibson, Bryan Oviedo, John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz but striker Arouna Kone is finally fully fit.

The Ivory Coast international has not played a first-team match for more than a year but was on the bench as Everton beat Wolfsburg 2-0 to book their place in the knockout stages of the Europa League.

Martinez said: "After the exercise that he had with the under-21s against Celtic on Tuesday, he looked really free and he was pain free.

"It's a really good sign for us. Now it's making sure he gets good work in in training and is ready to help the team and enjoy his football. It's been a long time coming."

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