Boss: We Can Cope Without Stones

by Rob Urbani

Roberto Martinez insists Everton’s first team squad is strong enough to cope without the injured John Stones.

News broke on Thursday that the England defender is expected to be out of action until December at the earliest with ankle ligament damage which requires surgery.

Martinez, however, is reluctant to dwell on the negatives and has stressed that Stones will return stronger from his setback.

Sylvain Distin is back in contention after a short period of rest, while the experienced Antolin Alcaraz and emerging Tyias Browning provide extra options for the Everton manager.

Summer signing Muhamed Besic is also capable of playing in the middle of defence.

Martinez said: “We want to see John reaching that level again. We know John will come back stronger and as a better player going into the second part of the season.

“But Antolin Alcaraz is working well and so is Tyias Browning, who can play that position.

“We’ve got another two young players who have been doing really well. I don’t want to lose any players who are doing well but injuries are part of the game.”

Meanwhile, Martinez says he will not be switching off from football this weekend and is planning to get out to a game to watch one of the Blues’ international contingent.

“I will be following all the games - I always try to watch the games of our players,” Martinez added. 

“I will maybe try to get one live game. It’s not decided yet but I will be watching the games because nowadays you get a great opportunity to do that.”

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