By Rob Holder

Everton caretaker manager David Unsworth has targeted a November return for midfielder Ross Barkley.

The one-time talisman for the Toffees has not featured at all this season due to a nagging hamstring injury.

Unsworth has stated it will be at least three more games before Barkley could be considered for Everton first-team action.

“We hope Ross is three or four weeks away from being in the squad,” the temporary Toffees boss told the club’s official website.

“The long term injuries are as they were, but Ross is closer to coming back.

“They are all still working really hard in the gym. But with Yannick Bolasie and Seamus Coleman, you are talking months not weeks.”

The 23-year-old looked odds-on to leave his boyhood idols in the summer having been closely linked with both Chelsea and Tottenham Hotspur. It is widely reported that the Everton man turned down a move to the Premier League champions on transfer deadline day.

Barkley blazed onto the scene at the top level as a precocious 17-year-old in 2011 and quickly established himself as one of the outstanding young talents in the game. His raw mix of power, pace and eye for goal drew many plaudits and ultimately resulted in a place in the 2014 England World Cup squad in Brazil.

Post Brazil he went on to suffer a gradual decline in form and lost his place in the national squad soon after.

The arrival of former Everton boss Ronald Koeman in 2016 saw Barkley’s game dip even further as he struggled to adapt to the Dutchman’s style of play.

This would lead to the playmaker being dropped by the Dutch coach at the turn of the year and eventually led to him being frozen out of the Toffees squad altogether.

Everton are in major need of a lift after their abysmal start to the season. The recent dismissal of Koeman could signal the resurrection of Barkley’s Everton career and provide the boost his club so desperately need.

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