Everton defender returns with squad after nasty injury

Ian Watson

Everton’s Cuco Martina was able to fly back from France with his team-mates on Thursday evening after undergoing scans at hospital.

Martina was taken to hospital having been carried from the field on a stretcher with a neck brace on in the 43rd minute of the 3-0 Europa League loss at Lyon.

The right-back had landed awkwardly following an aerial challenge with Maxwel Cornet and received treatment on the pitch for several minutes before being carried off.

Amid fears of Martina having sustained serious damage, the Toffees sent out a message on their official Twitter feed which said he would be kept in hospital overnight for observation.

But it subsequently emerged that following scans, the 28-year-old had been cleared to travel back to Merseyside with the squad.

The news about Martina was a bright spot at the end of a thoroughly miserable evening for Everton that saw them crash out of the Europa League with two more Group E games still to play.

The Toffees conceded three times in the final 22 minutes, and had Morgan Schneiderlin sent off as they suffered a fifth straight loss in all competitions.

Three of those have come under caretaker boss David Unsworth, who said: “I’m really disappointed with the result. For nearly 70 minutes we were nearly perfect with our game-plan.

“The effort was there, the commitment was there, in periods we showed some nice touches and created a couple of opportunities against a very good team.

“But we just can’t cave in the way we did when we concede a goal, and that is something we need to rectify very quickly, going into Sunday’s game.”

On Sunday Everton face Watford at home in the Premier League.

They are currently 18th in the table, and the game is the last before an international break in which the club are expected to name a permanent successor to the sacked Ronald Koeman.

Unsworth – who has expressed his desire to take the role full-time – added when asked about his job prospects: “It’s not about me – it’s about the football club, and what will be will be, I’ve said that all along.

“Other people will decide whoever gets the honour of being Everton manager.

“It’s not about me, it’s about getting over this result, taking the positives and trying to pick a team to try to go and win a massive game on Sunday, a cup final for me.

“It’s about the club and what is best for the club.

“We need to start winning games, particularly on Sunday, where I think it’s a huge game for me and a huge game for the club, and I’ve left the players in no uncertain terms that it is a huge game for them as well.

“I’m sure they will respond and the Goodison faithful will get behind us all, because we need them. We need three points on Sunday.”