Roberto Martinez has confirmed that John Stones is nearing a return from injury.

Martinez said: “He is ahead of schedule, probably two or three weeks, but I would expect that.

“He’s such a quick healer and he hasn’t stopped for one second trying to win those small margins to get back early.

“He’s trained once with the team and he came through that really well. Now it’s just a matter of making a good measurement of allowing him to be involved into a competitive game at the right time.

“I’m really pleased with his comeback.

“John is desperate to get back onto the pitch. I know he doesn’t want to hear this but I said to him maybe it’s a perfect way for him to divide his season into two clear spells.

“I thought he started the season really well. Sometimes at that age it’s difficult to maintain your level for 10 months.

“Now he’s got a clear period from January until the end of season to try to, if anything, step up the level.

“He’s ready to do that. He’s a phenomenal character and we all know he’s an impressive footballer. It’s great to have him fully fit and ready to participate.”

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