Republic of Ireland and Everton midfielder James McCarthy could be back playing football in time for the start of the new Premier League season as he continues his recovery from a double leg fracture.
McCarthy suffered the injury in a Premier League clash with West Brom in January, in what appeared to be an innocuous challenge from Solomon Rondon.
The timing of the injury was particularly cruel on the midfielder who had only just re-established himself in the Everton first team after suffering a series of hamstring injuries and a falling out with former manager Ronald Koeman.
The 27-year-old underwent surgery on the break, which proved successful, and Everton boss Sam Allardyce is now hoping that he could be back in time for the Toffees’ pre-season training.
"It is down to the specialist and them saying if and when James can start moving forward," Allardyce told the Everton website.
"The specialist will guide us on how far we can go and with a bit of luck we can look forward to James starting the next pre-season with us.
"He has had some time back at home. He will probably rejoin us in the next few days on a regular basis to start getting some mobility into his ankle, particularly because it has been in a set position for such a long time."
💪 | James McCarthy could take part in pre-season training this summer. Update 👉 https://t.co/rzcKL74Lml pic.twitter.com/2CAtcLf6zK
March 1, 2018
McCarthy had been at the centre of a club versus country row between former Everton manager Ronald Koeman and Martin O’Neill, with the Dutchman claiming McCarthy had been called up to the Ireland squad while injured.
However, with the arrival of Allardyce, the midfielder gained a new lease of life at Goodison Park and was regaining his status as a first-team regular before his injury.
McCarthy's club and international team-mate Seamus Coleman returned from his own double leg-break in January but is currently out with an unrelated thigh problem.