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Martinez not prepared to risk Pienaar

by | 05/05/2015  Comments (30)  jump
Boss also prioritises points over experimentation

(Alex Livesey/Getty Images)

Steven Pienaar will not play a part in any of Everton's remaining games this month if he isn't 100% fit as Roberto Martinez looks ahead to making sure the South African is fully ready for next season.

The South African's season has been severely disrupted by a succession of injuries that have restricted him to just 11 appearances and his latest comeback attempt has been curtailed by an unspecified muscle problem.

While Pienaar is working hard to return after his last appearance at Swansea last month and is hopeful of playing some part in the rest of the campaign, his manager isn't prepared to take any risks, preferring instead that he work towards full participation in pre-season training.

"We'll monitor his situation and if he's 100 per cent over the next three weeks it will be great to see him on a football pitch," Martinez said.

"If not, we'll make sure he has a good fresh start in pre-season and make sure he's in the best possible shape to have a good campaign.

"It's a period now where we want Stevie to be fit before the end of the season but, in one way or another, he has to be starting pre-season 100 per cent."

Given the 33 year-old's chequered appearances record this season, it would not be a surprise to see him added to a list of players whose season has already been ended prematurely by injury. Darron Gibson and Bryan Oviedo have already been ruled out, and Martinez does not expect to see Tony Hibbert back in the squad this term either.

"Tony Hibbert and Darron Gibson are still working well but I don't think they're going to make this season," the manager continued.

Martinez has also dampened any expectation that he would use the final three games to experiment with his squad. Everton can still achieve a top-half finish this season, something he says would be an "achievement" based on what has been a disappointing campaign.

With every place worth around 1.5m in Premier League prize money, the manager is looking to claim maximum points from the matches against Sunderland, West Ham and Tottenham.

In terms of experimenting, I think that we are in a moment where there is not much room for it," he said in the Liverpool Echo.

We want to get as high as we can in the table. We were disappointed with the result against Aston Villa, but you saw a real desire to get a positive reaction in the second half, and we have to carry that into the Sunderland game.

Quotes sourced from

Reader Comments (30)

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Steavey Buckley
1 Posted 05/05/2015 at 18:09:29
When Pienaar is playing, it is happy times for Baines, who has someone who can support him.
Darren Hind
2 Posted 05/05/2015 at 18:38:29
Saving him for NEXT season??? HeÂ’s 33 and already admitted to having thoughts of calling it a Doris.

Frank Crewe
3 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:06:44
Looks like weÂ’ll still have the oldest squad in the Premier League next season.
Joe Foster
4 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:20:44
Maybe we can enter a team to play that walking football for pensioners?
Jim Bennings
5 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:20:48
I have loved Pienaar for the last 7 years more or less as a player but even I can see now that holding on to him much longer is like holding out hope for a ex-wife thatÂ’s just ran out and left for a better richer model.

The guy is past his best, great little player in his younger days but heÂ’s finished now, he has had two injury-ravaged seasons and hasnÂ’t scored a goal since December 2013.

How will next season, which is a mere 3 months away, be any different whatsoever to the last 2 years???

Brian Hennessy
6 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:26:34
Imagine how Luke Garbutt or any other young Everton player would feel reading this.

Martinez is basically saying he doesnÂ’t trust any of them to start, unless one of the regulars (who have been shite for most of the season) get injured.

No wonder Garbutt hasnÂ’t signed a contract.

Trevor Peers
7 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:28:41
Another Roberto classic, seems like we get one or two jaw-dropping statements a day now from our spiritual leader.....
Colin Glassar
8 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:29:06
I canÂ’t see Pienaar being a force for us anymore. IÂ’ve admired him ever since I saw him as a kid playing for Ajax but time catches up on us all.

Thanks for the memories, Stephen, but we need to move on.

Kelvin Thomas
9 Posted 05/05/2015 at 19:43:06
I have to agree with you, Jim. Even if he sorted his fitness problems heÂ’d have to be replaced in the very near future.

Rumours of Bolasie, continual scouting of Rafa Silva, and continuous links to Januzai to me means he has identified the need to buy a left-sided attacker.

I have no problem at all with a fit Pienaar being back up to one of these next year.

Ross Edwards
10 Posted 05/05/2015 at 20:01:26
If heÂ’s not fit enough, get rid. DonÂ’t wait until next season. HeÂ’s 33 anyway. We can get a younger replacement like Bolasie or Konoplyanka on a free.
Harold Matthews
11 Posted 05/05/2015 at 20:16:42
He has one year left on his contract at ١.15m. Guess heÂ’s not going anywhere.
Ian Hollingworth
12 Posted 05/05/2015 at 20:42:03
Roberto: under your stewardship, we are in a moment of going backwards.


John Gee
13 Posted 05/05/2015 at 21:42:01
PienaarÂ’s game is based on football intelligence not pace. Like Pirlo. If heÂ’s fit, he improves the team and even if heÂ’s just an impact player, heÂ’s worth his place in the squad.

Brian, 6, a 21-year-old defender isnÂ’t the answer to any of our problems. DonÂ’t turn this thread into another dull "If only that mercenary would... etc" thread. He doesnÂ’t want to commit, so fuck him.

Jim Hardin
14 Posted 05/05/2015 at 22:47:52
John at #13,

The one thing I disagree with RM about the experimentation is in this respect. If each place in the EPL is about ٟ.5 million and we can realistically only move up two places, and maybe down two, and a proven centre-back and striker is going to cost us ٤-12 million each, or more, then why not give some of the younger guys a chance by subbing them in the remaining games? Not so much for Garbutt as he is already a known commodity regarding his strengths and weaknesses. If they show something then perhaps even if we lose out on ١ to 6 million in place money, we make up for it by saving on transfer fees and the risk that RM brings in another dud.

Just a thought but it might work out and besides, given the Villa performance, can it be worse? Does mean though that Kone and McGeady and Alcaraz will have to be left off of the substitutes bench.

John Crawley
15 Posted 05/05/2015 at 23:12:17
Christ if youÂ’re not going to give some youngsters a chance now when thereÂ’s pretty much nothing to play for and loads of senior players have stunk the place out all season then youÂ’re not going to do it.

Regarding Pienaar I loved watching him in his heyday but heÂ’s been finished for a while and we shouldnÂ’t have spent the money we did bringing him back from Spurs.

Danny Broderick
17 Posted 05/05/2015 at 23:57:45
Pienaar is a good squad man now, a bit like Ossie. His legs may be going, but heÂ’s a good man to bring on with 20 minutes left, or to start the odd game.

No need to get rid of him because he is 33. HeÂ’s a good athlete, and as long as he can stay fit, heÂ’s a good asset to the squad. Barkley for one could learn a lot from the likes of Osman and Pienaar.

James Kirrane
18 Posted 06/05/2015 at 00:10:01
Been a great servant for Everton, but his time is up. If he is still with us next season it will be the same old story. Time to call it a day.
John Gee
19 Posted 06/05/2015 at 00:26:09
Jim,14, I meant the contributors. RM is an idiot, heÂ’s had all season to fix things and twice heÂ’s got it right... then reverted to type in the next game. He thinks heÂ’s too intelligent to learn from the last 130 years.

As for our fans, fuck me. IÂ’m not joking, reading some of the posts on here regarding some of the players makes me question the intelligence of posters. Maybe thatÂ’s summed up by the "I donÂ’t watch any other football" brigade. But, seriously, some of you are fucking clueless.

YouÂ’ve all seen the difference Pienaar (and Osman) make to the team and yet you still persist with... well, IÂ’m sure youÂ’re aware of the bollocks (sorry, insights) you sprout so I wonÂ’t remind you.

James Martin
20 Posted 06/05/2015 at 00:40:03
ItÂ’s part of the problem of insisting on playing the world's most boring central midfield. When youÂ’ve got Barry and McCarthy sending people to sleep you need your creativity from the flanks. Pienaar and Osman were great for this but you sacrifice defensively and you canÂ’t play on the counter.

The problem starts when these playmakers retire and you replace them with straight-line runners like Lennon, Bolasie stay etc you end up with zero creativity. The midfield two will never give the wingers the pass they want to free them into space. Instead, they get it on the halfway line back to goal. Add in a Number 10 like Barkley or Naismith who donÂ’t create anything either and you have the current team, one of the most boring in the league.

With Pienaar and probably Osman going soon, and Gibson never fit, Martinez needs to find his new Arteta to play in the middle. When you have that natural footballer in the centre, they can make any run-of-the-mill winger look good. The current midfield isnÂ’t good for anything though.

Jim Hardin
21 Posted 06/05/2015 at 03:18:58

I agree about Pienaar and Osman. I would keep them on the squad literally until their legs fall even if they canÂ’t play full games or back to back games. The impact of each is significant. I watched when Osman (who is not even close to Pienaar in foot skills) came in versus Villa and he was surrounded by three defenders at the top left of the box and he dribbled the ball around and away and was able to get off a pass to an open player (because his man was trying to stop Osman) who then, of course, did nothing with it. The calmness and vision of both players amaze me along with the skill.

CanÂ’t imagine how much of an asset they are at training in educating the younger players, even if those players donÂ’t get into the game day squad. I donÂ’t see Leicester complaining about 34?-year-old Cambiasso being too old and he is a master general on the field and at training and makes everyone around him better. That and he still has amazing skills.

ps: I agree with the assessment of some posters, especially those who want Baines to play a midfield role, when he is the freaking starting England left back!

Brian Porter
22 Posted 06/05/2015 at 06:05:04
John Gee #13, talks a great deal of sense. Both Pienaar and Osman have a role to play for us as impact players. Example? Osman came on when it was too late (thanks Roberto), against Villa and we immediately looked a better team. He and Pienaar bring a level of footballing intelligence to the game that is sadly lacking in some of the younger players. If Martinez had sent Osman on with at least half-an-hour to play against Villa, we might have clawed the two-goal deficit back.

Likewise in the game against Swansea, you could see a greater valance in our play on the left during PienaarÂ’s time on the pitch. ItÂ’s ability and fitness that count, not age, and both these players have the ability to change a fame for us if their skills and contribution are utilised correctly. Martinez does need to learn that they require more than ten to fifteen minutes in order to influence a game, then we might be getting somewhere.

Richard Lyons
23 Posted 06/05/2015 at 06:25:14
Just a few headlines down on the home page, you can read "Martinez looking to build around young core". Am I alone in thinking this is somewhat at odds with the notion of "prioritising points over experimentation"?
Jim Bennings
24 Posted 06/05/2015 at 08:41:37
The only trouble is though, Brian, you say that Pienaar and Osman both have a part to play but the reality is, age has brought about almost endless injuries for both men.

My question is, what about next season when both are older again? It is possible but probably highly unlikely that all of a sudden, after two injury-ravaged years that Pienaar will become available more often, if he was 25/26 when the body recovers more yes, but even Darron Gibson is struggling to put more than 7 games together at a younger age than Pienaar.

You are correct, both he and Osman are intelligent players and yes we have missed what they once could do, but perhaps are no longer capable of doing.

I love Pienaar and Ossie, we donÂ’t have other players to replace the type of style they offer, but thatÂ’s where Martinez needs to come in and start showing his ability in the transfer window, much like Moyes did.

Christopher Dover
25 Posted 06/05/2015 at 09:03:30
Not the time to experiment? When is?

If we are in fifth place pushing for top four? Fourth or fifth from bottom trying to stay up? Mid table not going up or down in places by much?

Answers on a postcard to RM

Shane Corcoran
26 Posted 06/05/2015 at 10:25:50
Depending on our last three results of the season, thereÂ’s a difference of about ٤m to be won/lost if the figure mentioned in this piece are to be believed.

Therefore I reluctantly agree with his point on experimenting.

LetÂ’s win the next two and see where we are.

Chris Gould
27 Posted 06/05/2015 at 11:07:01
Very well said, John Gee. My thoughts exactly regarding Osman, Pienaar and Garbutt. Everton are a far better team when either Osman or Pienaar play. Garbutt is not good enough to replace Baines, doesnÂ’t want to sign a new contract and stay and learn from the best left back in the league... so he can do one.
Andrew Ellams
28 Posted 06/05/2015 at 11:21:38
Osman can probably play out next season and then walk away at the end of his contract, Pienaar maybe not. His body has caught up with him and unfortunately we just donÂ’t have the squad size or resources to carry passengers. Nothing to do with his ability as a player, we just need to look more long term.
Tony J Williams
29 Posted 06/05/2015 at 12:18:12
Ossie and Pienaar are the two of our most skillful players, itÂ’s a pity they are old in footballing terms.

Our pedestrian midfield need players like this to move it about instead of the tippy tappy chuckle brother "me to you, to me, to you" shite we have had to suffer for about 85% of the season.

60 minutes here and there at the start or 30/35 at the end and this will pay dividends and protect them somewhat from injuries occurring too often. Keep em both and play them when fit.

I love how we turn against players, we call others mercenaries but as soon as some think a player is past his best, itÂ’s all, "Fuck him off, heÂ’s a drain on our resources" ..... whoÂ’d be a footballer eh? (me)

Bill Gall
30 Posted 06/05/2015 at 14:01:51
After getting fit, he plays in one game and is out for the rest of the season to prepare him for next season, does not sound like we have, not only any faith in our youth system, but still a fitness problem at the club. We need a quality midfielder and Pienaar has the skills but we need one that will last the 90 mins and not one that is good for 40-50 mins and who will end up on a treatment table for the next game.
Minik Hansen
31 Posted 06/05/2015 at 18:41:41
Steven Pienaar is our Leon Osman next year. Still important to the team as an impact player, or when FULLY fit as a starter. He knows our team, spirit and a good role model for the youngsters.

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