Everton manager Roberto Martinez has revealed record signing Romelu Lukaku may not be fit enough to feature in the club's Premier League opener.
Lukaku, 21, joined the Toffees from Chelsea last month for 28 million pounds following an impressive loan spell at Goodison Park last season.
The striker represented Belgium at the World Cup this summer along with club teammate Kevin Mirallas, and Martinez has conceded the duo may miss the trip to Leicester City next Saturday as a result.
"When you have players coming back from the World Cup you have to decide if you want the players straight away or do you give them a bit of time to refresh and be ready to play for 10 months?" Martinez is quoted as saying by the Daily Express.
"It will only be Kevin Mirallas and Rom [Lukaku] who might not start the season. For Romelu, it will depend on how he adapts to work from now until Aug. 16."
Given their World Cup exertions this summer, Martinez opted to leave Lukaku and Mirallas out of the squad for Saturday's preseason friendly against SC Paderborn.
"There is a degree of risk if you put them into a situation so early. They've been training really well and are accumulating a lot of work," Martinez said.
"Playing in a game would have stopped them being able to get in a lot of that extra work and we didn't want to do that.
"They're not going to be a part [of the team] but they will get three sessions in while we're out here [in Germany].
"That will accelerate the process of them being ready as quickly as possible."