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Martinez content with more 'balanced' squad

04/02/2015  Comments (47)  jump
Roberto Martinez believes his Everton squad is stronger and has better balance following the deadline-day acquisition of Aaron Lennon from Tottenham.

The manager lost Samuel Eto'o to Sampdoria but brought the 27 year-old winger in on loan for the remainder of the season. And he feels that in combination with the return to fitness of Arouna Kone and Darron Gibson and the pending returns from injury of Tim Howard and James McCarthy, the Blues are now in good shape.

"We have now brought in Aaron Lennon who has got incredible experience and is at the peak of his powers as a player, at the age of 27," Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.

And we have got Arouna Kone fully fit and Romelu Lukaku is fully fit and in great condition. So I feel the squad is well balanced and strong everywhere.

Now we are just trying to help Tony Hibbert, Leon Osman and Steven Pienaar to regain fitness and get back to where they can be pushing for a starting spot.

That is a very strong squad for me from now until the end of the season.  

Reader Comments (47)

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Phil Walling
1 Posted 04/02/2015 at 08:23:59
Good. So no reason we can't go out and hammer the enemy this weekend. No excuses allowed.

And nobody cares if we only have 30% possession... and win!

Christopher Dover
2 Posted 04/02/2015 at 08:51:04
Have to say this guy is so positive, if he had six fit and 18 ill, he would still say his team is Incredible!!
Ant Summers
3 Posted 04/02/2015 at 09:00:49
Glass is always half full with RM. I don't much care for we have this and that.. .what I do worry about is results, performances are what people see differently. Results are Black and White. Beat Liverpool, get something at Chelsea, and I won't doubt him again this season.
Paul Kennedy
4 Posted 04/02/2015 at 09:28:39
So how does he differ from McGeady?
Derek Knox
5 Posted 04/02/2015 at 09:38:53
If Aaron Lennon is at the peak of his powers, how come he hardly got considered for Tottenham recently? Hmm.

He wouldn't have been my choice I admit, but now he's here, I will get behind him 100%, stranger things have happened, he could be the catalyst we need.

As long as he he gets MotM on his first appearance and scores a couple of goals. That'll do for me cocker!

Now, who are we laying next? :-)

Andrew Ellams
7 Posted 04/02/2015 at 10:34:40
It's one thing Roberto never criticising a bad performance, but do people really want him to come out and say that he would love to be able to afford better players than Aaron Lennon and he isn't going to move improve the team one iota? (not my opinion by the way)
Tony Hill
8 Posted 04/02/2015 at 11:10:48
I would like to see Kone get going for us now. I think he has proper talent and could yet be an asset. I'd written him off so if he comes good he would be a big bonus. Where and how to play him though? I'd be tempted to try him instead of Naismith from the start of games.
Phil Sammon
9 Posted 04/02/2015 at 11:15:39
I wouldn't disagree with you there, Tony. However, for me, Naismith is the sort of player I want in the Derby. He gives his all which will get the fans up for it. He scores important goals too.

I like Kone though. I hope he can make an impact in the second half of the season.

Adam Luszniak
10 Posted 04/02/2015 at 11:56:49
Not the most inspiring signing ever, but could be a good one nonetheless. Lennon doesn't have to be a world beater, all he has done do is run at the oppo defence with the ball at his feet, beat his man and put in a decent cross. Lukaku has shown he will score if he gets the service.

If we can get back to dominating teams in the middle of the park, and using the pace of Lennon Lukaku and Mirallas, we could get back to winning ways. MCarthy and Besic in the middle for me in the derby. Only problem with that is Besic is lively and risks getting sent off....

Andrew Ellams
11 Posted 04/02/2015 at 12:09:16
What is this obsession with Besic and red cards? He hasn't come close to one in his time at Everton, unlike Barry.

If he does pick one up at some time will there be a rash of posters on here telling us they always knew he was a liability?

Denis Richardson
12 Posted 04/02/2015 at 12:33:23
I am more worried by the rumours that we'll be signing Cleverly in the summer on a free.

Given the system we play, where exactly is Cleverly supposed to fit in? He'd be our 5th (yes 5th!) CDM, assuming Gibson ever makes it back on the pitch.

In Besic and McCarthy we already have two young decent CDMs – or is the plan to cash in on McCarthy and get Cleverly in as a 'free' replacement?

Norman Merrill
13 Posted 04/02/2015 at 12:35:32
In my humble opinion, Besic is a must for the derby, the lad has great skill, but also he is not afraid to go in, where it hurts. Having watched him mark Messi in Brazil, he showed his close marking skills, without falling foul of the referee.

Too many times the RS have dominated the middle of the park, so let's hope we deny them on Saturday. We need to be up for it, all over the park. COYB.

Dave Pritchard
14 Posted 04/02/2015 at 12:58:15
I think we will be getting Cleverly in the summer. Is he a free transfer? If so then have him. Not saying he is outstanding but Gibson is hardly ever fit, Osman and Pienaar could be out of here so as a free it seems a no brainer. He did do well when with RM at Wigan and you have to believe there is a decent player in there still.
Colin Grierson
15 Posted 04/02/2015 at 12:52:46
Lennon has had quite a few managers over the past few years and that alone is enough to unsettle anyone. The personnel at Spurs has changed considerably too. I remember Lennon getting the ball and driving at defences with pace. He also got his fair share of assists (I had him in my FF team a few years back and he was near or at the top of the assists) while being played regularly. I hope he re-ignites his career with us... he's worth a go on loan at least.

Incidentally, when I saw the press photos I thought we'd signed Lord Sugar! If he is delighted he needs to let his face know!

Michael Winstanley
16 Posted 04/02/2015 at 12:42:25
I hope the Cleverley rumour is true, having Barry, McCarthy, Besic and Cleverley would be an ideal four to pick from for the CDM spots for next seasons challenge for the top four and our continued European adventure (we will win the Europa League).

It's our attacking wide play that has been so poor this season, it's great we've signed Lennon but we still need one more, Delboy would be a great addition in the summer.

BTW, a great link on the OS (the Ambassadors Blog) to a Beacher Report link and an interview with Unsy and Ledson.

Nigel Munford
17 Posted 04/02/2015 at 13:48:25
Well it seems like heÂ’s sold a striker that he used to play wide, and has signed a winger, so hopefully AL will fit into RMÂ’s plans nicely as he will have a winger to play as a winger.
Raymond Fox
18 Posted 04/02/2015 at 13:40:21
I like Besic, but his rash image seems to be well known among the commentators and presumably the refs as well.
It doesn't take much for a red card to be flashed nowadays.

The hard men of yesteryear wouldn't be on the field 5 minutes with the rules we now play under, the day of the hard man has gone for good.

Clive Rogers
19 Posted 04/02/2015 at 14:22:17
Phil #9,

Naismith has scored 2 league goals in 5 months since August, and hasn't provided a single assist all season in any competition. He's not had a shot on target for months and plods about but never gets a tackle in. He's a first division player IMO.

Sam Hoare
20 Posted 04/02/2015 at 14:32:55
Not sure bout Cleverley. Seems a downgrade on Besic and McCarthy to me. If he's on a free I guess it makes sense though would almost rather give the likes of Ledson some time.

Still the position we really lack is a proper number 10. Someone with immaculate touch and vision able to make things happen in the final third. A silva/eriksen/oscar/mata/cazorla type. Not sure if Barkley is the answer but I know that Naismith isn't. Great lad and fantastic work rate but not sure we'll ever reach top 4 with him in that pivotal hole role....if that's still the aim?

Jay Harris
21 Posted 04/02/2015 at 14:36:25
That's strange Clive I could have sworn Nais had an assist against CP last Saturday.

Funny old thing the memory. Should get it checked out.

Andrew Ellams
22 Posted 04/02/2015 at 14:46:39
Sam. Cleverley not so much a downgrade as surely he would be backup. And, if did sign a quality number 10, what happens to Barkley?
Ant Summers
23 Posted 04/02/2015 at 14:54:39
Mo Besic is the most exciting player in our squad, if he don't start Saturday, we don't win. Simple. He has now worked out what the Everton crowd want, and just like great midfield players of our past he is willing to get stuck in. If that means he is in that group that walks a fine line, im ok with that. A far better player than Barry imo.
Tony Hill
24 Posted 04/02/2015 at 15:24:46
Ant I agree and I think he is a player who could be at the heart of our team for a long time. Rough edges of course but he is one of ours all right. I've seriously criticised Martinez but the purchase of Mo was a brilliant piece of business.
Colin Grierson
25 Posted 04/02/2015 at 15:51:39
You're right to point that out Tony. I've also been critical of Martinez recently but it is important to remember that he has done some good. I hope that Besic plays on Saturday and has a real impact with his no-nonsense style. He managed to put the shackles on Messi which is no mean feat. Likewise I hope Lennon repays the faith Martinez has shown in him and pops up with an assist (like the one NESSI provided for Lukaku at the weekend! Clive #19)
Brian Cleveland
26 Posted 04/02/2015 at 16:14:35
All this talk of Lennon... what the heck have we got Atsu for? Isn't it for the same position? He'll be back soon and as RM said, we're going to see the best of him second half of the season.... so why the need for someone in the same position?

Not that I have anything against Lennon, I used to rate him, can't judge at the moment as he has hardly played recently....

...but looking increasingly likely that loaning Atsu for the season was a waste of time and money (for us, not for Chelsea!)

Phil Walling
27 Posted 04/02/2015 at 16:15:04
Cleverley is the most accurate square passer over three yards in the Prem. He will fit into Bobby's plan perfectly having learned his unique art in loan spells with Super Wigan.

All we can hope that a new manager will be in place come summertime in order to avoid another no mark signing to go with the rest of this bloke's disasters.

Col Wills
28 Posted 04/02/2015 at 16:25:12
What about playing Lennon just off Lukaku? a bit of pace higher up the pitch might work wonders for us and allow Mirallas to stay wide with Atsu/ McGeady on the other side.

My guess however is that it will probably be Lennon on the left and Mirallas on the right with Naismith just behind Lukaku.

Ant Summers
29 Posted 04/02/2015 at 16:32:43
Col, that would be great if he had proper game time behind him. I can't see him starting, last 20 at best he will get on. That does not mean he cant have an impact in 20 mins if it was still tight.
Ant Summers
30 Posted 04/02/2015 at 16:36:07
Phil, im no lover of RM and his rhetoric, but I just want us to improve in the last 1/3 of the season, maybe 10th, maybe a Europa semi.

Put it this way, if we are out of the Europa and in the bottom 4 post Arsenal game... surely he has to go then?

Steven Telford
31 Posted 04/02/2015 at 15:22:51
You can have the best squad in the world, but if the tactics are shite and predictable................

A season of great potential transformed,I hate seeing this great squad we have be put to waste, and the bite in the tail will be that if things continue as they are, come the summer we wont be able to hang on to out best players.

Les Fitzpatrick
32 Posted 04/02/2015 at 17:34:42
Clive at 19..... You might care to make an appointment at Specsavers.. I for one think Naismith is one of our best players. Massively underrated imo.
Dave Lynch
33 Posted 04/02/2015 at 18:05:52
The "bite in the tail" Steve is if we stay up he will be given another season.

We will then have to go through the whole fucking scenario again aka Wigan.

Paul Tran
34 Posted 04/02/2015 at 18:17:02
Phil, that's a beautifully accurate description of the most inappropriately named player ever.

We could have had a balanced team all season if he'd picked one.

If he picks one now and gets them going forward with pace, we'll pick up the points. Big if, though.

Tom Bowers
35 Posted 04/02/2015 at 18:14:47
So far this season RM has not been able to get the best out of what heÂ’s got and apart from some promise here and there the season has been a bust. The advancement of Besic, the return from injury of Oviedo and the last minute wonder goal by the Derby are just a few things we have to savor.

For the most part inconsistency and tactics have been a big part of the problem. The early warning signs were there after the first two games but RM has been unable to get things right after all this time.

He obviously has to show his confidence in the players and what he is doing but I think he has not shown anything that bodes well for the future.

I think most of us guessed it was going to be a last minute loan deal if anything in the transfer window and so it proved. Lennon will not be a saviour as he has been out of favour at Spurs but as he has experience, speed and trickery I think he will be a decent option but maybe just off the bench given the injury problems that Mirallas seems to get.

McGeady is a flash in the pan and Atsu hasnÂ’t really been given a run so why he was brought in is beyond me.

I am surprise Pienaar is still with the club but perhaps he will be gone in the Summer along with Alcaraz and Gibson.
These players havenÂ’t made a dozen appearances between them so why keep them on the payroll?

Having said all that, I am sure that if they beat the shite, all will be forgiven and forgotten.

Clive Rogers
36 Posted 04/02/2015 at 19:45:12
Jay #21,

No, the goalkeeper fumbled it to Lukaku so that is not an assist. Zero all season, all competitions from an attacking mid. That's a major reason why we're not doing well.

Dave Abrahams
37 Posted 04/02/2015 at 19:51:30
Phil. (27) take it you didn't like Carsley then.
Clive Rogers
40 Posted 04/02/2015 at 21:16:21
Actually just checked on a stats site and Naismith has provided 3 assists in the 3 seasons he has been with us, but none this season.

Just what you want from an attacking mid who doesn't score many goals.

Michael Kenrick
41 Posted 04/02/2015 at 23:01:08
Clive, perhaps we're too generous at TW but that goes down as a goalmaking effort from Naismith.

Without his ball in...

Clive Rogers
42 Posted 04/02/2015 at 23:50:53

I think that is too generous, the cross wouldn't have got to Lukaku without the goalie. Anyway that would be 4 assists in the last 3 seasons - a shocking statistic.

James Marshall
43 Posted 05/02/2015 at 06:06:51
I tend to agree with Clive – that wasn't an assist from Naismith. You can't wriggle the facts to fit your agenda, because then they're no longer facts, are they?

I like Naismith and he should play against the RS purely because he runs about a lot, which most of our players tend not to do. We'll get over run in midfield again if we're not careful, which is why Macca not playing is such a blow. Barry can't run so Besic is going to have a busy afternoon, as is Baines if the girl from Coming to America plays down his side – if not then Coleman will have plenty on his plate.

We're made for the RS – it's not just that they're better than us, we're just ripe for the way they play. Barkley does fuck all defensively, Barry is too slow and with our full backs pushed up it leaves our centre halves wide open to Coutinho, Sterling and the silly dancer. It'll be by the skin of our teeth if we get a result this weekend and Robles is gonna have to have a blinder.

Phil Sammon
44 Posted 05/02/2015 at 09:25:39
A shot on goal parried by a keeper goes down as an 'assist' in the Premier League's official fantasy football game.

Fair enough if you don't rate him, Clive, but I'm struggling to see a better option for Saturday.

Paul Burns
45 Posted 05/02/2015 at 10:24:39
James Marshall #43, spot on, them lips!
Clive Rogers
46 Posted 05/02/2015 at 10:36:54

After reading his stats, I have made a point of watching him closely fro the last few games, and have been appalled at how poor he is and how little his contribution. People are reduced to saying, yes but he runs about. Not sure that's true, but the idea is to do something with the ball, and the stats tell us he isn't.

Jay Wood
47 Posted 05/02/2015 at 11:48:49
James @ 43 "... that wasn’t an assist from Naismith. You can’t wriggle the facts to fit your agenda, because then they’re no longer facts, are they?"

How very true ... that "you can’t wriggle the facts to fit your agenda." And it is exactly what you and Clive are attempting to do in denying that didn’t count as an assist for Naismith because of your own ’agenda.’

That was Naismith’s assist all day long and only the most niggardly of person would deny that.

Sam Hoare
48 Posted 05/02/2015 at 12:24:27
Was definitely an assist for Naismith on the weekend. Only pedants would deny that. Having said that I do think the fact that he is our starting no 10 at the moment is an issue. It's a pivotal role and though his movement and work rate are very laudable he has neither the touch and passing nor the skill and pace to really make things happen in a crucial role.

Perhaps his hard work is useful for matches where we expect to be under the cosh but too many times we have struggled to break down teams due to the lack of a genuine playmaker in that role.

Jimmy Kelly
49 Posted 05/02/2015 at 12:46:50
Sam, I agree with that.

I've said for a while that Naismith is ideal in the really tough games. He's a workhorse, a pest, and he has the occasional goal in him, all of that is invaluable when your backs are against the wall. When you're trying to break a side down though, I think he can sometimes look really poor. His touch and passing are pretty woeful a lot of the time.

I think some fans (of all clubs) have a tendency to see players as black and white. People used to say Naismith was absolutely awful, now they say he's our best player. The truth is he was never as bad as people made out and once they realised it everybody started going on about how underrated he is, perversely making him rather overrated. The same sort of thing is happening with Joel now, people made out like he was some sort of sunday league keeper and now that he's shown he's a reasonably capable professional you've got people making out he's Lev Yashin.

Clive Rogers
50 Posted 05/02/2015 at 13:47:55
Steven Hawking would do a better job than Naismith!!

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