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Distin's exile a forward-thinking move for Martinez

by | 09/05/2015  Comments (54)  jump
Roberto Martinez says that he can understand Sylvain Distin's frustration at being dropped from the Everton team but explains it was a "footballing decision".

In an interview with L'Equipe this past week, the French defender said that he was at a loss to explain his disappearance from the first-team set-up at Goodison Park ever since a move to West Ham fell through in transfer deadline day.

The 37 year-old, who hasn't played at senior level for the Blues since the FA Cup tie against the Hammers on the 6th of January, said that he feels as fit as ever and has no intention of hanging up his boots.

When asked to respond to Distin's comments today by the Liverpool Echo, Martinez replied that it was simply a matter of transitioning to the younger central defensive partnership of John Stones and Phil Jagielka.

You have a young man in John Stones under the age of 20 who has performed in an incredible manner and has developed a very strong partnership with Phil Jagielka," the manager said.

It has been a football decision. Obviously in January Sylvain wanted to leave and wanted to go to another club and that never materialised.

From that moment we need to look forward to the future and we wish Sylvain the best of luck for the future. But I don't see anything wrong with those situations. It's a natural moment in his career.  

Reader Comments (54)

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Jim Bennings
1 Posted 09/05/2015 at 19:09:12
Sick of the crap talk, the excuses, the "only Martinez sees it, nobody else" interviews.

I honestly think we will go under next season with Martinez still here, itÂ’s a club that looks totally on its knees in terms of positivity and energy.

I will stick my neck out and say Martinez wonÂ’t see out the calender year of 2015. He will be here in August, heavens knows why, but he will be because we are too gutless to move him on but a bad start to the league, and another early League Cup exit should see him ushered out and replaced by a positive hungry manager that will regain the heart and soul of EFC.

LetÂ’s be honest, Martinez has been a lucky man at times this season, he could easily have been sacked after the horrendous Christmas period was capped off by the New Years Day horror show at Hull.

Trevor Lynes
2 Posted 09/05/2015 at 19:31:19
Reasonable answer but Distin deserved to be on the bench before Alcaraz
Ross Edwards
3 Posted 09/05/2015 at 19:27:53
The Europa League has kept him in a job. If weÂ’d have gone out in the group phase, he definitely would have been sacked months ago.

We should get rid of him in the summer, get a new man in for the summer window and pre season rather than giving him 10 games or whatever.

John Keating
4 Posted 09/05/2015 at 19:46:51
So all his decisions are purely "footballing decisions"... Alcaraz before Distin, some "footballing decision"!

We have done to death his imbalanced teams, players out of position, perseverance of playing players when out of form......the list is endless, and every one purely "footballing decisions".

Now I know weÂ’re really in the shit next season if this idiot stays.

Oscar Huglin
5 Posted 09/05/2015 at 19:53:12
Blimey, Jim. Take a chill pill.

I actually think this is a very good decision by Martinez. Distin has been on his last legs for a while, and as well as heÂ’s served the club, Stones is obviously a better choice in the short and long term.

Sam Hoare
6 Posted 09/05/2015 at 20:03:50
I could be wrong but I have a sneaky, slight suspicion that Sylvain might just not be here next season. Possibly.
Guy Hastings
7 Posted 09/05/2015 at 19:58:45
Still better than Alcaraz. What happens if both first-choice CBs are out injured? Agree with JimÂ’s Â’Only Martinez understandsÂ’ line. IÂ’m not yet among the RM out faction but IÂ’m getting very close.
Joe Foster
8 Posted 09/05/2015 at 21:01:28
This man can not be trusted. Martinez out
Brian Porter
10 Posted 09/05/2015 at 21:36:07
Agree with you 100% Jim. Martinez can not be trusted to move us forward and is now far more likely to pull us down into another relegation tussle, with more serious consequences next year, I fear. As you also say Guy, what happens if both CBs are out? Martinez has a nasty, vindictive streak in him and his treatment of Distin has showed it clearly.
Dick Fearon
11 Posted 09/05/2015 at 20:38:50
I have had doubts about Martinez since last year probably from soon after he arrived. His signing at relatively big fees of half a ream of players and backroom staff that had just played a large part in the relegation of Wigan raised a red flag for me.

Enough has been said about his Brazilian tour and subsequent diabolical pre-season but not a word from the man himself. We have yet to hear the slightest explanation about that episode. Come to think of it, I have yet to see or hear our lickspittle press query him about it.

Then we suffered months of his philosophical brain-numbing tripe that had us heading in the same direction as his previous club. Thankfully our predicament and growing vocal abuse from spectators forced him to employ a more direct style plus a few very fortunate results helped us climb from danger.

Snippets of gossip surfaced about his mantra that ball possession was more important than attempts at goal. As recently as yesterday we have seen the result of that idiocy.

Practicing corners and free kicks were not on his menu and that also has been exposed as stupid tom foolery. He stands like one of Lewis’s mannequins, alone in his technical area and unlike all other managers neither speaks to or seeks advice from his assistants. With his warped ideas he probably will claim the Sunderland game as another phenomenal success.

Slowly but surely that kind of crap is looking more and more like exactly that. If Kenwright had an ounce of brains or gumption he would rid us of Martinez today. Whoever his replacement a few extra days in the hot seat would be invaluable.

Fran Hawkhead
12 Posted 09/05/2015 at 21:49:07
Am I missing something but what exactly has Martinez said out of turn here?

HeÂ’s been asked by a journo to respond to the comment by Distin and he has answered it with dignity without dragging Everton FC through the mud, turning us into a Newcastle.

If you really believe that what a football manager says to the media is the same as what he says to his staff and players then you are bloody naive.

Denis Richardson
14 Posted 09/05/2015 at 22:53:26
Fran Jamie - if Distin was dropped for Â’footballing reasonsÂ’ can you explain why heÂ’s been training with the reserves and under 21s for the last few months?

Surely with birdman injured a fit Distin would have at least made the bench a couple of times.....

Sorry, bollocks again from the manager. He may have been right to drop/banish Distin but his explanation is obviously utter crap.

Jamie Barlow
15 Posted 09/05/2015 at 23:00:46
Read the last line of Frans post Denis.
Colin Glassar
16 Posted 09/05/2015 at 23:22:28
Excellent reply from Martinez as this nips in the bud DistinÂ’s attempt to cause further disruption in the team.
Michael Penley
17 Posted 09/05/2015 at 23:58:00
SomethingÂ’s not right here. Distin said in his interview that Martinez told him he was very important to the team. So he stayed instead of moving to West Ham. Not playing him subsequently is poor managerial foresight and ungentlemanly conduct, as far as IÂ’m concerned. Play him or donÂ’t play him, but donÂ’t tell him heÂ’s important and then bench him for the whole season for "footballing reasons".
Ant Dwyer
18 Posted 09/05/2015 at 23:55:30
1. Jim Bennings, I donÂ’t think what youÂ’ve said is in accordance to the Distan situation so I will firstly reply to Roberto.
Quite simply I think Distan has been treated awfully, heÂ’s been a brilliant servant and is 100 times the player Alcaraz has ever been. HeÂ’s been made a scapegoat for a piss poor run from a piss poor side. Since heÂ’s not been played we have stayed a piss poor side. Basically a scapegoat. The only thing I do agree with is Distin should no longer be first choice but he should most definitely be first choice back up.

Back to Jim, I could not have put it better, mate. Roberto Martinez is a total fraud, heÂ’s been shown up and should have definitely been shown the door before the West Ham FA Cup game. We need a major overhaul within the squad and I would not trust this idiot to do it. We have a full 11 who could and probably should go, but unfortunately we would be lucky to raise ٤m from them.

IÂ’m not a typical moaning fan, IÂ’m a season ticket holder along with my dad and two young sons but IÂ’ve seen as much of Roberto that I can handle, please get him out.

Paul Hewitt
19 Posted 10/05/2015 at 00:07:14
Distin has gone because heÂ’s told Martinez how shit he is. Simple.
Jack Cross
20 Posted 09/05/2015 at 23:48:02
Fran Hawkhead. You’re right, mate, Martinez, does have two faces but so does every other Premier League manager. Him coming out and telling the true facts – it just isnÂ’t going to happen, regarding Distin or whoever.

I know this 100% with 8 games to go Martinez, told the team anyone can take the penalties until the end of the season disregarding what the score is at the time of the penalty being taken. Now is that good managing or bad?

Eric Myles
21 Posted 10/05/2015 at 00:16:26
Dropping Distin for Stones = good footballing decision.

Playing Alcaraz ahead of Distin = idiocy.

John Daley
22 Posted 10/05/2015 at 00:19:37
"Distin said in his interview that Martinez told him he was very important to the team. So he stayed instead of moving to West Ham"

YouÂ’re mixing two separate components together and coming up with something that tastes of crispy turd, Michael. Distin didnÂ’t decide to stay at Everton on the back of reassurances given by Martinez. The only reason the move fell through was due to the length of contract. West Ham offered six months. Distin demanded eighteen. It was widely reported at the time.

Dick Fearon
23 Posted 10/05/2015 at 00:23:05
Fran, what started as Distin said this and Martinez said that it all comes down to which of them you believe. The one I do not believe is the one who comes out with a daily load of complete and utter bullshit.

Can you guess which of them it is? If you wish to be treated like a mushroom that is your own prerogative.

Jim Hardin
24 Posted 10/05/2015 at 01:49:18

So I am clear, you are saying that everything Martinez says in the press is a lie? Baseless? Or just babble?

Harold Matthews
27 Posted 10/05/2015 at 03:18:05
Dwelling on the past is not my idea of a happy life. My present viewpoint is that the CB partnership of Stones and Jags is nowhere near good enough.
Scott Goin
28 Posted 10/05/2015 at 04:17:54
I donÂ’t get what the problem is here. Distin got worse and was benched. Perhaps some words were exchanged. We donÂ’t know the full story. This kind of stuff happens all the time, especially when a club is losing. I donÂ’t expect Distin to be happy about it. I also donÂ’t expect Martinez to tell us the whole truth because it doesnÂ’t help anyone and Martinez always sugar coats things. This isnÂ’t news to anyone. He did the same thing last season and people loved him (or else just glossed over it because we were winning).

Martinez hasnÂ’t done his best work this season. ThatÂ’s clear. If people want to dislike him for the product he has put on the field, IÂ’m right there with ya. I just want people to judge him on facts and not for things they think he might have done.

David Chait
29 Posted 10/05/2015 at 09:10:32
Distin should have gone ages ago... I felt RM stuck with him too long.
Marc Williams
31 Posted 10/05/2015 at 10:15:18
IÂ’d much rather see a headline of ......MartinezÂ’s exile a forward thinking move by Kenwright!
Steve Cotton
32 Posted 10/05/2015 at 11:13:40
Every team in the prem has a min if 4 players over 6Â’ 2" bar us. so we cant compete from corners, free kicks or if balls are thrown into the box. We need to dominate more in these situations. Time for new taller blood..
Al Reddish
33 Posted 10/05/2015 at 11:40:17
Absolute bollox from Martinez. Footballing reasons! Really!! When the only alternative was Alcaraz who is shockingly bad. If what he is saying was true, why wasnÂ’t Browning, who Martinez said did well, more of a feature in the match day squad.

Why is Gareth Barry getting picked for every game when his form had been terrible, when we have a player in Besic that our manager reckons is a star player and well ahead of schedule, (plus when Gibson played, he was as part of a 3 DM formation!).

For me, Bobby has the potential to do well at Everton, however, it looks to me he will never learn from any of his mistakes and his stubbornness will be his downfall.

Colin Malone
34 Posted 10/05/2015 at 11:52:48
We could all see the tippy tappy football at the back was fucking us up and Distin told him that. RM seen he,s arse and dropped him. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Ray Robinson
35 Posted 10/05/2015 at 12:53:56
Whether Distin was dropped for sound footballing reasons or not, he deserved to be treated with a little bit more respect. Not even being included on the bench smacks of vindictiveness. Distin is the only centre back on our books that could have competed with Benteke last week, by the way.
Keith Harrison
36 Posted 10/05/2015 at 13:04:13
Very fair point Eric Myles. But even Unsy should have been considered before Alcaraz!
Colin Glassar
37 Posted 10/05/2015 at 13:26:32
Fergie "froze out" players all the time who challenged his authority and big players at that e.g Stam, Keane, Van Nistleroy, Beckham etc..... Distin has been a great servant to the club but if he fell out with the boss then, in any walk of life, the boss always wins.
Tony Abrahams
38 Posted 10/05/2015 at 17:28:30
I could believe Martinez, if Barry hadnÂ’t partnered Alcaraz on New Year's Day, at Hull City.

Jamie Barlow
39 Posted 10/05/2015 at 17:40:55
As soon as Distin said he wanted to join another club, he shouldnÂ’t have played again. He more or less put in a transfer request.
James Stewart
40 Posted 10/05/2015 at 17:44:36
More doublespeak from Martinez. Dropping Distin for Stones – fine, no-one argues with that, but that wasn’t the case, was it? Alcaraz and Barry should have got nowhere near playing CB when Distin was an option.

Distin is a model pro and deserved a bit more respect. If he wasnÂ’t in first team consideration he should have been given a free transfer in January not left to rot in the youth team. DoesnÂ’t sit right with me that.

I don’t watch postmatch interviews anymore – I can’t stand the hyperbole he constantly spouts.

Dave Williams
41 Posted 10/05/2015 at 18:36:07
Agree with Harold - the CBs were shaky yesterday and struggled to cope with the man-mountain Conor Wickham. Jim Bennings has advocated Shawcross and we do need a big physical CB who will make opposition strikers uneasy and will boss the centre of defence. Stones will be great once he eliminates his basic errors but he will need an aggressive player alongside him. Galloway looks very good but we canÂ’t play 2 youngsters together as CBs.
Mike Childs
42 Posted 10/05/2015 at 18:39:09
Question to RM if replacing Distin is a forward thinking move why did Barry and Naismith get 3 year contracts? WhereÂ’s the forward thinking their mate?
David Barks
43 Posted 10/05/2015 at 18:47:30
Good question there Mike. Thinking toward the future while not really playing any of our youth players at all, other than when completely forced. Meanwhile Barry was awful for most of this season but was an automatic selection all seasons. Martinez is just a joke.
Trevor Peers
44 Posted 10/05/2015 at 18:48:43
Roberto has had a severe falling out with Distin, but that hasnÂ’t earned him any respect from the players. Roberto is a about as aggressive as a dead sheep IÂ’m afraid.
ThereÂ’s no fear factor at all, heÂ’s just a nice guy. Unlike Fergie who commanded respect and got it.
Fran Hawkhead
45 Posted 10/05/2015 at 19:08:27
Jim, hi mate, yes I think youÂ’re right. I passed paying attention to what Martinez said post match since after the Chelsea game at home - which was the last time I thought he gave an honest assessment.

I wouldnÂ’t go as far as to say everything Martinez says is a lie just for the sake of telling a lie. But as a manager of people, one of his responsibilities is the morale and motivation of his staff.

As performances this season have been somewhere between tedious and utter crap, to publicly call them crap every week will damage that morale unless you have mentally strong characters. But many of our players are not winners and need their hands holding.

Christine Foster
48 Posted 11/05/2015 at 06:46:34
If Distin had slagged RM off for his decision-making and was dropped as a result then thatÂ’s fair enough, a manager has to show strength and leadership; but to exclude him from the team when he is needed or to play Alcaraz and Barry in important must-win games, is vindictive and smacks of not just stubbornness but personal vindictiveness.

RM has put his ego ahead of the club's welfare; whatever went between them both should have been put aside in the face of crying need. It wasn't and as a result we lost games, disrupted the team and cost the club income.

Footballing decision? Give me a break, if the fallout was that bad, Distin would have been let go, paid off and shown the door. It wasn’t a footballing decision made for the good of the club – it was made out of malice.

John Keating
49 Posted 11/05/2015 at 09:21:24
Spot on, Christine.
Tony J Williams
50 Posted 11/05/2015 at 12:23:17
It was clearly his last season with us but he hadnÂ’t lost any of his pace and he was the only defender that can actually win a header in the box.

As stated above, he would have fared much better against Benteke and wouldnÂ’t have been bullied (fouled) as much by Wickham (didnÂ’t realise he was so big....)

As already said, the 'footballing reason' excuse goes out the window when you play Alcaraz alongside Barry.

Scott Goin
51 Posted 11/05/2015 at 14:34:58
I donÂ’t know if I can trust a guy to give 100% and be fully focused when heÂ’s asked for a transfer and may have had disagreements with the manager. ItÂ’s not always as easy as saying Distin is better than Alcaraz so Distin should be playing. ItÂ’s also hard to blame either party when we donÂ’t know exactly whatÂ’s been going on.

I still hope Distin gets a run-out in the last match. He deserves it.

Tony J Williams
52 Posted 11/05/2015 at 15:23:55
It is easy to say that Distin is better than Barry at centre-half, though, Scott.

Footballing reason? My arse!

Jim Hardin
53 Posted 11/05/2015 at 15:29:26
Scott, why would Distin be requesting to play elsewhere cause you to never play him and distruct him? In this case, you have years upon years of Distin proving his professionalism. Plus he would be trying to impress possible employers. I trust loan players less since they have no ties to the club at all.
Scott Goin
54 Posted 11/05/2015 at 15:51:21
CanÂ’t remember Barry playing much centre-half. I know he played there at Krasnodar but that game was meaningless. If BarryÂ’s other appearance at centre-back was during the January transfer window, Distin may have just asked for a transfer, making it difficult to choose him.

Jim, I think itÂ’s natural for someone who wants to change employers to lose a bit of their edge, concentration and motivation at their old job. ItÂ’s not really a conscious thing, it just happens. Once a player has made it known that they want to leave, most managers will try not to pick that player going forward. They donÂ’t know what his mindset will be like and they also want to concentrate on the players who want to be at the club.

Brian Harrison
55 Posted 11/05/2015 at 16:04:09
I will leave my opinion of RM out of this post, but what I would suggest is that as seems likely Distin is not in the squad to play Spurs. Then, seeing his squad number is 15 then on 15 minutes, we have applause for him, to show him that we appreciate all he has done for us.
Terence Leong
56 Posted 11/05/2015 at 16:11:12
Managers have different ways of dealing with players whom they feel are no longer contributing, or disruptive. In this case, it seems that Martinez has felt that Distin is no longer able to contribute positively (or is being a negative influence).

When you read SouthallÂ’s and SharpÂ’s books, they both tell of KendallÂ’s ruthless and callous approach towards his the glory team of the 80s. The way he chucked aside Gray, Ratcliffe, Sharp, Southall etc. He made them play in the reserves for some; for others, he wouldnÂ’t let them come near the first team.

If a manager feels that the playerÂ’s presence is disruptive (rightly or wrongly), then to the manager, that is a footballing decision, because the manager sees that as having a direct impact on the footballing outcomes.

So, fact is, thatÂ’s how the manager would see it, IÂ’m not saying that itÂ’s right or wrong, but itÂ’s how the manager interprets it.

James Flynn
57 Posted 11/05/2015 at 17:33:36
Distin - "There was no clash [with the manager]"

The playerÂ’s statement.

As been mentioned in the running discussion on this situation, when Distin came back from his "exile", Roberto put him back in the squad. He played. How bad a bust-up could it have been?

Now, Alcaraz playing before him? Pissed off at that, I could see. Wonder how Jags, Baines, and Coleman felt about it, too?

IÂ’m ready to accept that Distin not moving in the window was enough for the decision-makers. Roberto was told to park him for the rest of the season. Those situations happens. Look at the flip side, the terrific position Garbutt finds himself in. It happens.


HeÂ’s lost a yard of pace (Oh boy).

HeÂ’s leaking goals. (No. Alcaraz did and Stones still is.)

Distin + EtoÂ’o = Unrest (in hushed voice, "They speak French to one another . . . . nuff said").

His right foot is shit (my current favorite).

WhatÂ’s done is done. Just hope the starting 11 out of the tunnel last game includes Sylvain Distin.

Barry Jones
58 Posted 11/05/2015 at 19:13:43
Distin was not chopped for "footballing reasons". Martinez obviously thought that he was disruptive and even though I have no time for Martinez, this is what most managers would do, even though I find it a ruthless move to someone as professional and dedicated as Distin has been.

If we analyse it from the "footballing reasons" explanation, it makes no sense whatsoever. Even though Distin is past his best, I still believe that he has plenty to offer. He still has pace and his "put us all on a line" comment signifies that. He has always had good positional sense and he is arguably the best CB in the air when dealing with crosses. Does Alcaraz tick any of these boxes?

I would definitely play Stones and that is not in question, but Distin should be at least on the bench for every game. Also, I wonder how the rest of the players view the treatment of Distin, who has been an honest, hard working and reliable colleague to many of them for several years. These kind of actions can have an effect on team morale, particularly when the alternative is Alcaraz, who some of the players appear to place little faith in. I have seen Stones bollocking Alcaraz on several occasions.

This is not Man Utd, you cannot jettison a player for non-footballing reasons if you lack the quality to replace him.

Christine Foster
59 Posted 11/05/2015 at 21:26:02
Personally, I think one of the reasons for DistinÂ’s "lack of form" this season was actually because he was being forced to play a game he is not suited to. Playing out of the back four is not a comfortable exercise for any of our current defence. He was left vulnerable, as was the rest of the defence and eventually it had to change.

The team no longer played to its strengths, and it had to change, it did but I suspect Distin was the scapegoat for RM pride. He didnÂ’t like it. Rather than use Distin when he was needed he let his ego get in the way of a "footballing decision".

I like that Roberto tries to play football but he has a lack of common sense and a bullshit overdrive button (only to be pressed at media interviews) which frankly, is cringe worthy. We donÂ’t have the money to buy the quality that is required to deliver a consistently high quality footballing team. Without the consistency we continually make mistakes that many of our team have been coached out of at an early age.

Remember, "DonÂ’t play around with it at the back"? or "if in doubt get it out" or the classic, "donÂ’t try to play football in your own box"
We are no Barcelona... Lukaku is no Messi, Distin is just a good honest Pro... Roberto is not as good as he thinks he is.

Jim Hardin
60 Posted 11/05/2015 at 22:32:22
Scott at #54,

Over here we have the term "contract year" where guys play their last year looking for a contract elsewhere. It is usually one of their better years because they are trying to impress. I donÂ’t buy for one moment a professional player who is looking to play elsewhere, not retire, would lose his edge and certainly not enough of one to warrant anywhere near the treatment and exile that Distin has received.

At the very minimum he would be better than Alcaraz who continues to make the bench and couldnÂ’t possibly be responsible for more goals than Stones. I understand playing Stones. Plus it would be nice to see an Everton CB outmuscle an opposing player on set pieces.

Daniel A Johnson
61 Posted 12/05/2015 at 19:34:09
I find this puzzling.

If you see Distin trying to turn and react to a speedy striker running off his shoulder you can see Distin is clearly not a first choice starter anymore. So the blooding of Stones was the correct choice.

However, why freeze him out completely when the alternatives after Jags and Stones is Alcaraz?

Dustin has always struck me as a model pro: he's fit as a butcher's dog and he obviously looks after himself, so training wouldnÂ’t be a problem. HeÂ’s forged close friendships with Howard and Jags and when we have been beat in the past he clearly seems to give a shit.

It strikes me he may have been one of the senior players to actually question Martinez face to face. Nothing else can explain why he's been frozen out. Martinez has obviously got a problem with Distin, saying the right thing and toeing the line with the press can't ever hide that.

It's a shame but he won't be the last footballer to be frozen out by a manager; Alex Ferguson was notorious for it.

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