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Martinez comes to the defence of his young guns

by | 25/02/2015  Comments (26)  jump

Roberto Martinez has revealed some frustration at what he termed "cheap talk" about Ross Barkley and Romelu Lukaku in recent days.

Speaking to the media alongside Gareth Barry at today's press conference ahead of the second leg against Young Boys, the Everton boss was asked if he thought it was fair that the likes of Barkley had been highlighted for their performances of late.

Barkley has struggled to replicate his headline-grabbing form of last season, particularly under the scrutiny of the expectant home crowd at Goodison Park, while Lukaku has been the subject of many column inches after his missed chances against Leicester on Sunday.

"There's been a lot of cheap talk from the outside about Romelu Lukaku, about Ross Barkley and about our form," Martinez said. "We accept that but we need to focus on winning games and enjoying our football.

"Remember that Ross Barkley is one of the best young European talents and at times you need to find a way to be consistent because at times the opposition will man-mark Ross and make it very difficult. And as a team we should take advantage.

"If you have two players on Ross then we should have a man to spare. I think that's part of Ross's learning curve and the learning curve of us as a team.

"We need to be finding a way to create momentum in the League which is what we've missed this season."

Gareth Barry, meanwhile, was asked what advice he would give to the 21 year-old Barkley as he battles "second season syndrome" after breaking out last term during Martinez's first year in charge.

"I think Ross is obviously still really young and people seem to forget that. He had a fanatatic season last year.

"The big test for any player is to keep performing like that week in, week out, season after season. No player can consistently do that.

Ross still has a big learning curve. His performance away at Young Boys was tremendous; like the team, on a different level to how it has been at home.

"At home in front of our home fans he just needs to relax a bit more, play his normal game and not worry about anything and his abilities will come through."  

Reader Comments (26)

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Trevor Lynes
1 Posted 25/02/2015 at 23:13:00
I fully agree. The fans' reaction, whether positively or negatively, will impact on a young player. Barkley and Lukaku are very young and can react to negativity by loss of confidence and fear of making mistakes. Other players in the side should be taking chances created by the close marking of these two youngsters as they are seen as the danger men to opposing sides.

Only Naismith plays without fear and he is the only other midfielder apart from Mirallas who is chipping in.

I still think we should play just one holding midfielder especially at home as playing two makes us less of a threat up front.

Bobby Thomas
2 Posted 26/02/2015 at 01:14:43
I would say Naismith does play with fear Trevor.

He appears terrified of passing the ball to a blue shirt in the last third of the pitch.

Denis Richardson
3 Posted 26/02/2015 at 01:35:13
I know Naismith's a tryer but I wish we'd stop bigging him up. The guy's a forward and has scored 2 goals in 4 months. He's an average player and the fact that he's been one of our better performers is actually depressing.

On skill he should at best be a squad player on the bench rather than a regular starter.

As for Martinez's comments, I've stopped taking notice of anything the guy says as it's either bollocks, delusional or utterly irrelevant.

Mark Andersson
4 Posted 26/02/2015 at 01:34:37
That was not funny Bobby. Naismith put two good balls through and both times the last man who should have scored didnÂ’t. I have said in other posts that the crowd at the old lady are making matters worse with their negative attitude towards the younger players. Support and encouragement is whatÂ’s needed.
David Chait
5 Posted 26/02/2015 at 04:03:59
It's occurred to me that Martinez himself could be the cause of the negativity. He hypes them so much and so often that perhaps the fans feel that perspective and balance are required which results in negativity.
If he were giving fair assessments of performances maybe the fans would be a bit more patient.
Peter Barry
6 Posted 26/02/2015 at 04:48:56
Peter Barry
7 Posted 26/02/2015 at 04:51:02
It has really come to something when Naismith is being touted as one of 'best' performers.
Rob Young
8 Posted 26/02/2015 at 07:14:44
I bet if you play Naismith in Lukaku's position and he gets as much playing time as the Belgian that he will score more goals. I believe he's a better finisher than Lukaku,
If, as some, we should only judge our main striker on goals Naimsith might actually be the better option for now.

Lukaku will get between 15-20 and that is great, especially considering his age. But, come on, we all know he should have scored a bit more than the 13 goals he's got at the moment.

Rick Tarleton
9 Posted 26/02/2015 at 07:19:33
I agree with Trevor Lynes, but I'm equally worried about the decline in Seamus Coleman's effectiveness. last season he was the best right back in the country. His attacking skill, ability to cross and shoot with both feet made him outstanding. This season he looks lost and when he goes forward he checks back rather than going on.
James Marshall
10 Posted 26/02/2015 at 07:49:40
I wonder if the players are as baffled by his ramblings as we are? Can you imagine his team-talks in the dressing room, waffling on and confusing the hell out of everyone... it's no wonder they're struggling.
Christopher Dover
11 Posted 26/02/2015 at 08:13:12
"we need to focus on winning games and enjoying our football."

Perhaps if they win some games the second part will happen?

Phil Walling
12 Posted 26/02/2015 at 09:46:58
'Cheap talk'? He should know a bit about that - he utters nothing other.

Off topic, but yesterday, his was the only voice welcoming the winter World Cup. Sang the praises of Quatar- even describing the event as likely to be 'a phenomenal success.'

No doubt the prospect of 'another little earner' influences his judgement.

Teddy Bertin
13 Posted 26/02/2015 at 09:43:54
"At home in front of our home fans he just needs to relax a bit more, play his normal game and not worry about anything and his abilities will come through." Key words from Barry. The dressing room is obviously worried that the home fan's reactions to Barkley losing the ball/passing sideways is getting to him. There's so much expectation around him he doesn't know what to do. There are shouts of crap/shite when he loses the ball and groans when he passes sideways. Regardless of age he still hasn't fully discovered his style of play and position. Frustration with results is getting focused on the Barkley because we feel like he's our game changing player but he's having no influence. With him being an Evertonian too I think the presssure may completely destroy his confidence.
Len Hawkins
14 Posted 26/02/2015 at 09:49:40
The shoe shine boy told me the other day that the word on the street is Luvvie Bill is not happy about Martinez wearing brown shoes with dark clothes and wants him to alter things. Expect beige trousers and black shoes to be more prominent.
Charles Barrow
15 Posted 26/02/2015 at 11:18:01
Yes Martinez has come up with some ridiculous comments over the past few weeks - but this time I agree with him. I think the groans and moans over Barkley are completely out of order. In the Leicester game - before Gibson came on - he was the only player that created anything. Not enough granted, but even so we should encourage him to get back to the levels of last season, not constantly berate him.
Brian Hennessy
16 Posted 26/02/2015 at 11:27:45
Phil@12 - I heard Roberto's "Phenomenal" comment about the Qatar world cup on Talksport yesterday, nearly choked on my dinner.

Someone in the PR dept at Goodison needs to have a word with him, its gone beyond embarrassment at this stage

Andrew Laird
17 Posted 26/02/2015 at 11:16:37
David Chait #5 I agree entirely.

Martinez has been way over the top with his praise for the clubs younger first teamers, especially in such an abysmal league season with a pitiful shots/ on target/attempts/goal return:

Barkley "will be best player to ever wear an England shirt" and Lukaku "I would pay £100 million for him" the crowd just wants to see some, anything, just one moment of this hyperbole justified. How exactly can Barkley relax when he is burdened with a tonne of weight on his shoulders by a manager who constantly changes his position? I hope Stones "one of the best ball playing centrebacks in Europe" is not equally affected soon.

Barkley seems a little lacking in intelligence and I have lost count of how many times he stands in a straight line behind Naismith/ Mirallas or whoever else is in the front 3, completely negating himself as an option when Baines or Coleman are in possession, is he hiding?

Barkley is far too eager as soon as he gets the ball, very similar in fact to Lukaku this season. It looks like their brain is a couple of steps ahead of their legs, hopefully this is a nervousness which will settle down but is certainly exacerbated by burden from manager and crowd.

Brian Harrison
18 Posted 26/02/2015 at 11:41:15
I listened to an interview he did yesterday with radio Merseyside were he said much the same things. He said that a lot of teams had put 2 men on Barkley, well I haven't seen that so don't know which game he was referring too. He just droned on and on and very little of the interview made any sense. I would love it for someone to ask did he feel any responsibility for heaping such over the top praise on both these young players, and he still did it in this interview.
So is it any wonder that if our manager tells us we have 2 phenomenal players and they don't perform any were near that level for weeks not just one game is it any wonder the fans show their frustration.
I would also ask RM to have a look across the park at someone the same age as Barkley who has been producing top performances for nearly 2 seasons that's Sterling. Now even the most ardent blue would have to say that compared to Sterling or Kane then Barkley and Lukaku are way behind.
Alan Humphreys
20 Posted 26/02/2015 at 12:20:24
A quote taken from the BBC website from Arsene Wenger in respect of Giroud in the game last night

'He substituted compatriot Olivier Giroud on the hour mark after he missed the target with six efforts: "It looked like it was not one of his best days".'

Now compare that to Martinez and his staunch defence of Lukaku, who scored 3 in the last 2 games but had at least 9 guild edged chances. Yes the lad is 21, but hardly a raw recruit having played 3 seasons in the Premier league and is a full international.

Wonder which player has the better game on Sunday, the one mollycoddled and guaranteed 90 mins every game or the lad hauled off and under no illusion he needs to lift his game?

Colin Grierson
21 Posted 26/02/2015 at 12:44:27
Ross deserves to be cut some slack. He's a home grown talent with a love of the club. His form is poor at the moment but there is a great player in there somewhere.

Lukaku has made some ill-advised 'cheap talk' of his own and therefore needs to put his money where his mouth is or accept the grief which inevitably comes with strikers missing sitters.
I wouldn't mind his all-round play being poor if he keeps getting the winner. We all want him them both to achieve and maybe our reactions and hopes are at cross purposes. Its hard not to moan and groan at the moment though.

Tony J Williams
22 Posted 26/02/2015 at 13:02:04
Sorry Colin, my sympathy is jaded somewhat when I consider this fragile minded youngster is picking up in a week what it takes me years to make.

The lad is doing what all of us here wish we could do, we would even pay for the opportunity.

But, No! let's cut him slack as he is having a bad time of it of late.

The lad is a "professional" footballer who is seemingly not "doing" his job properly at the moment.

Blames also lays with Martinez too because he is trying to shoehorn him into any position just to get him on the pitch.

So no, I can't cut him some slack, as he needs to grow a set and perform as we all know he can.

Tim Wardrop
23 Posted 26/02/2015 at 13:10:47
I get so fed up with the chat about how young Lukaku is. Age is almost irrelevant to me, what is key is experience. Lukaku might be "only 21", but heÂ’s played 2.5 years of first team Premier League football, has trained with Chelsea, played for Anderlecht when he was 16 and has won 40-odd caps for Belgium (including playing in a world cup quarter final). When you have that much experience under your belt the age issue shouldnÂ’t be a determining factor.

Contrast that with someone like Osman, or Coleman. These players broke into the first team when they were 22ish, off the back of zero top flight / international football. They were - to use a horse racing term - unexposed. You could completely understand why they would suffer dips in form, possibly even until they were 23 / 24 as they were still learning their trade. They were "young" in terms of experience. Lukaku isnÂ’t. When Rooney was 21 were people talking in this way? No - he was not far shy of the finished article. Michael Owen? He was in his peak having spent three years in the Red Shite first team.

Sick to death of this excuse being made for Lukaku. I can understand it more for Barkley (only just over a year in the first team, 50 Premier League appearances, a lot from the bench, only two starts for his country). But Lukaku? Not for me. Too many excuses being made for him.

And by the way, IÂ’m a Lukaku fan! HeÂ’s got the raw materials, but I just canÂ’t be having the "heÂ’s only 21" excuse for his poor form. Play a different record Roberto!

Steven Telford
24 Posted 26/02/2015 at 13:24:51
Well we were indeed treated to a 5 minuet cameo of Barkley brilliance in the derby.
Alas, the managerial genius of Martinez felt a semi-concussed Naismith was a better option.

Colin Grierson
25 Posted 26/02/2015 at 15:42:54
Tony,this is not about bleeding hearts mate. Its ridiculous what these lads earn but it doesn't make them any less human and it is what it is regardless of form. They don't get performance related pay (more's the pity!)

When interviewed, Ross comes across as quietly spoken and relatively shy. He doesn't try to hog the limelight like some others and his comments never show him to be arrogant. The lad is a Blue through and through but as Teddy #13 says his confidence is shot.

My point is that Ross's form may benefit from the crowd getting behind him rather than moaning at him. If he turns out to be as good as his potential indicates then what is the point in slagging him off to the point of him looking to move elsewhere and realising his potential there. I don't feel sorry for him, I'm just trying to protect an asset.

Lukaku has talked of playing for a top club so when he shows top form then someone can come and pay top money and take him off to the top of wherever it is he wants to be top of!

When players like Mirallas come out in the press and state their intentions of moving then they deserve what comes their way. Likewise, the manager has hinted at his displeasure at the home crowds mood after making substitutions etc but when it goes wrong he deserves to get flack as that is part of his role.

You can slate Ross all you like. Maybe it makes you feel better. The evidence suggests, however, that it will only hamper any resurgence of good form for young Ross and regardless of the crowds reaction to him, his bank account and our bank accounts wont be any different.

James Marshall
26 Posted 26/02/2015 at 16:28:57
I would suggest that the type of people who hurl abuse at Barkley during games, probably struggle to read & write, and therefore don't use TW or the Internet.
Bobby Thomas
28 Posted 26/02/2015 at 20:53:41
Rob #8

Are you honestly saying that if Naismith played up top regularly he would score over 20?

Have you seen him try to lead the line? He has no pace. So he's no threat in behind. He has no physicality. He couldn't play up front on his own as he has none of the tools required. There's no, I mean zero, burst or penetration to his game.

He's clever with his positional play, and picks up space well. He is also good at ghosting into areas and makes crafty late runs. He is also a more than decent finisher. And he is a grafter. However his link, combination play and passing can be shoddy. Ironically all the graft may not help that. If you're fucked, your touch can be off.

The thought of Naismith playing Lukaku's role and bagging over 20 is absurd. It's up there with the fella on here who reckoned a totally, blatantly finished Saha was going to bag 20 league for Spurs when he left here.

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