Roberto Martinez insists Conor McAleny will emerge as a stronger player once he has fully recovered from a broken leg.
The 20-year-old was due to spend the first half of the 2013/14 season on loan at Brentford but suffered the injury in just his fourth match for the League One club against Walsall two weeks ago.
McAleny’s loan agreement was subsequently cancelled and he has now returned to Merseyside to begin the road to recovery.
Speaking to evertontv, Martinez revealed that the academy graduate is already making progress in his rehabilitation programme.
“It was very bad news unfortunately but now everything is positive,” Martinez said. “He had the surgery and everything went really well and now it is counting the days until Conor is back playing.
“We need to make sure and we will make sure as a football club that we use this time to carry on developing Conor on many aspects away from the pitch.
“I think Conor will become a stronger person and footballer after his experience. It’s not something that you want to see players going through but once it happens you have to use it as an important exercise where Conor can mature and get ready for the future because he has fantastic ability and great potential.”
Martinez admits he is unsure when McAleny will be back in action but stressed that he has been impressed with the attitude shown by the youngster since suffering the setback.
He continued: “We don’t think he will be ready before the end of the season but, knowing Conor, that will be his target and he wants to work hard towards that.”