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Phil Jagielka's imminent return set to boost Everton's defensive options

Published 14/12/2015

Phil Jagielka is closing in on a return from injury
Phil Jagielka is closing in on a return from injury

The imminent return of captain Phil Jagielka has persuaded Everton manager Roberto Martinez that he does not have to bring in cover for Tyias Browning in January after the youngster was ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Browning, who has made six first-team appearances this campaign as cover for Seamus Coleman at right-back, underwent surgery on a knee injury earlier this month.

Martinez revealed the 21-year-old will be out until the summer but with Jagielka, sidelined since the end of October with a knee problem of his own, due to make his comeback in the next couple of weeks and Bryan Oviedo edging closer to fitness after a hamstring injury, the manager feels his side can cope even though they only have two senior centre-backs in John Stones and Ramiro Funes Mori.

"We always look at how the squad is in every window but if you are going to have three injuries in your goalkeeping positions you are not going to keep four goalkeepers just in case," he told the Liverpool Echo.

"I think we need to be realistic. Our squad is big enough, our squad is strong and we have a great balance of experience and talent.

"We are going to have Tyias Browning out for the season but we are going to get Phil Jagielka back very, very soon and we have got Bryan Oviedo to come back as well so the players are at the football club.

"On the plus side is that we have performed really well having five first-team defenders out of the line-up.

"It is a real sign of the development of the young players here and I wouldn't bring players here just for the sake of it."

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