Darron Gibson could be sidelined for the rest of the season
DARRON Gibson's injury-cursed season appears to be over after the midfielder suffered a training-round injury over the weekend.
And that is almost certain to rule the Derry native out of Ireland's June meetings with England and Scotland as well as the Premier League run-in with Everton, Toffees boss Roberto Martinez dedicating Saturday's win over Southampton to Gibson.
He missed Ireland's Euro 2016 draw with Poland last month due to a groin injury but he had been making progress with the club's medical staff. But boss Roberto Martinez has revealed that an ankle injury, picked up in training on Friday, will see Gibson sidelined for some time.
"We don't know yet how long Darron will be out because, obviously, the specialist needs to give us an answer as to how we are going to treat the injury," said Martinez.
"It is disappointing and very unfair. Darron had to work extremely hard from a long-term injury, the cruciate ligament injury he sustained a long time ago and now I thought he was back at a very good level.
"His performances against Newcastle and Queens Park Rangers showed he was ready, that he was full of enthusiasm and full of energy. On Friday, in a very innocuous action just in the box, he rolled his ankle and didn't realise anything was wrong.
"Then (on Saturday) morning, it was swollen and when we checked it he has a fracture in his metatarsal which is really devastating and our win is for him.
"It's such a tough period, we need to support him and make sure we get him back as quick as we can." Gibson has started just three Premier League games this season.
Meanwhile, Gibson's Ireland and Everton team-mate James McCarthy has sung the praises of Ross Barkley after Saturday's crucial Premier League win over Southampton.
The 1-0 victory, courtesy of captain Phil Jagielka's fifth goal of the season, saw Barkley at his best. In the first half he produced a brilliant piece of control and skill to skip past three opponents and launch an attack from deep inside his own half which brought Goodison Park to its feet.
Then, to cap it all, manager Roberto Martinez's decision to replace him with 20 minutes to go - a requirement to help shore up a tight game - was greeted with disagreement and boos.
But McCarthy is confident the youngster can deal with the complexities and confusion which appear to surround most of his performances.
"I think Ross was different class," he said.
"I thought he worked really hard for the team and was a real nuisance driving at people. Ross is a good lad and has his feet firmly on the ground."