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International Break Irony
Ross Barkley is fast becoming the main Aston Villa injury concern, when it comes to international breaks, and he hasn’t even been away with England since he joined the club on loan. While some Villa fans have sweated over the rigours of international football on the likes of Jack Grealish, John McGinn and Tyrone Mings, it’s Barkley now that has had issues around both the last two international breaks.
He was touch and go for the 1-0 win away to Leicester City, after picking up an injury in training during the international break the week before. Luckily he passed a late fitness test, as he scored the late winner against the Foxes.
At the weekend, Barkley limped off in the first minute in the 2-1 loss to Brighton, after pulling his hamstring after taking a free kick. An injury, that certainly contributed to the final result of the game. With Barkley’s loan signing going a long way to lift Villa to a different level and helping get the best out of Villa captain Jack Grealish, the sight of Barkley leaving the pitch on Saturday had the alarm bells ringing with Villa facing six games in December alone.
The player himself hinted that it didn’t immediately seem too serious, when he posted on instagram: “Disappointed with the injury, hopefully back very soon”.
‘Very soon’ being the key words here, if it seemed more serious, surely he’d just write ‘soon’?
While Villa haven’t announced the scan results publicly just yet, the Express and Star reported it was likely the club were earmarking a return for the Wolves game, currently scheduled for December 12. Meaning Barkley will miss both Villa’s trip to West Ham and the following visit of Newcastle to Villa Park.
There’s different grades to hamstring injuries and judging by what happened (he wasn’t running for starters) and the reaction of the player, it seems to be in the ballpark of a grade one/lesser two, meaning it’ll be around two to three weeks. A grade two, which is a partial tear, would see a player out for a month or more, while a grade three muscle tear is a longer term situation.
Considering the worst case scenario, a two game miss is certainly something Villa would be content to take on the chin, knowing he’d be back for the four games around the busy Christmas period.
While Villa don’t have the level of personnel in the squad to cover Barkley like-for-like, it’ll certainly give Bertrand Traore or Conor Hourihane a chance to make a proper impression this season, after they have both been largely frozen out of the starting XI, so far.