Early Team News
John Stones has missed the last two games with a hamstring problem
Both players have sat out the last two Premier League games with respective knee and hamstring injuries but they have resumed full training with the rest of the first team this week and Martinez expects them to both be back either by the weekend or the FA Cup tie against Bournemouth on 20th February.
“Yesterday we had a very productive day in respect [of injuries]," the manager told evertonfc.com. "John had a really good feeling after his work and we are hoping that he can join the group this week leading up to the West Brom game.
“Tim Howard is very similar. He had a very good session on a one-to-one basis.
“We knew that they were problems that could be managed and treated in a short-term and conservative manner. We are very pleased with how their bodies have reacted.
“Now it’s about taking it step-by-step, introducing them to the group and seeing how they react. Hopefully they will be available for the West Brom game, if not at the maximum Bournemouth."
Th return to fitness of both players will present Martinez with a selection headache given the team's form during their absence.
Goalkeeper Joel Robles has recorded three consecutive clean sheets behind the central defensive pairing of Phil Jagelka and Ramiro Funes Mori. So, while Howard and Stones have been automatic first-choice selections for much of this season, the manager has to decide whether or not to break up what has been a watertight back line since the Blues' 3-1 defeat to Manchester City in the Capital One Cup on 27th January.
Martinez insists that he doesn't have favourites in that regard, telling the Liverpool Echo that, “As a manager I have the great advantage of being neutral. What that means is I don’t have any favourites.”
The Catalan has come under scrutiny over the past year for his continued selection of Howard, in particular, despite evidence that his form has been slipping since the 2014 World Cup and of a deteriorating relationship with some fans in the Gwladys Street end.
He recalled the American immediately following injury last season despite Robles's form in his absence and Howard has been preferred in all of Everton's Premier League games this season until he picked up a knee problem in training last month.
"I think there are reasons for it," Martinez continued in reference to the 36-year-old 'keeper's selection. “Sometimes as a manager you consider the partnerships and understanding of certain players, what they bring into a side. We are a very young team that sometimes needs a cool head.
“It’s been very, very important for us to create a strong team and I want to be in that position as a manager.
“I am in an advantageous position because first I can be neutral, and second I work with these players every day so I know what moments of form they have. How they are feeling and what they can bring at the weekend.
“I have to make the best decisions for the team and that’s what I really enjoy."
Martinez stopped short of confirming, however, that Howard would be selected again to face the Baggies if passed fit on Saturday. “At the moment, Tim is injured so it would be ridiculous for me to mention that,” he concluded. “What we want is for Tim to be fit and Tim to be feeling himself and fighting for his position and at that moment I am sure it will be very easy to make the right call.”
Reader Comments (82)
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1 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:03:24
Three three nil wins in a row. You simply don't change a winning team. Okay, so our last three opponents haven't been great but wins are wins.
If he does bring them both straight back then he will prove that he is simply not fit to manage a football club.
Anybody know if the new lad has his paperwork yet? It's gone very quiet on that front. Ought we to be worried?
2 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:03:26
4 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:06:42
5 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:07:54
6 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:08:36
You can't replace Robles with the way he's been playing. Simple as that
7 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:09:32
What sort of message does it send out to the players who would be dropped?
We have two very winnable games coming up so no slip ups this time.
8 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:09:55
9 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:10:33
Never change a winning team; always change a losing team. Didn't do the All Blacks much harm.
10 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:16:20
11 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:18:20
13 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:19:40
14 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:20:25
Lennon has been superb since he came back in, his non stop effort is what we need all over the pitch. If we had 11 players like him we would be challenging for the top.
16 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:27:30
17 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:32:39
18 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:52:44
Bournemouth game after will be one to keep a close eye on.
20 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:58:14
21 Posted 09/02/2016 at 19:59:05
Saying that... someone may get a very convenient 'minor knock' and need a rest...
22 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:02:40
That says it all. The Live Forum will be lively on Saturday. For me at this moment it's very easy to make the right call. Robles In.
23 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:09:00
24 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:14:27
"You want players who work hard to get an opportunity, they wait patiently for an opportunity and when they get that opportunity, they need to be given the chance to keep that place."
Why does he talk such nonsense? I often wonder just how stupid he thinks the fans are. Does he think we believe what he says?
25 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:15:52
Some people like Jim have blind spots when it comes to their compatriots. How's Shane Duffy getting on these days? Shouldn't it have been the end of Moyes too for daring to leave him out?
26 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:22:10
27 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:24:56
From what I have seen, Joel seems to have a much much cooler head than old flappy Howard.
Plus West Brom already know how to score past Howard. Didn't Dawson score a free header from 2 yards out at The Hawthorns while our Tim was busy doing star jumps?
29 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:28:47
30 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:34:28
31 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:35:40
However, I get your point and believe me I know exactly where Jim is coming from. I love to see Irish lads do well at our club and, however how silly that is, I make no apology for it.
32 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:35:56
33 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:40:51
34 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:48:56
I think he will ease Stones back in via the sub's bench. Or alternate between Jags and FM as did Moyes with Jobo and Weir at one stage.
35 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:54:08
OK. But who the fuck is Mrs Harding when she's at home??
You have to larff don't you!!
36 Posted 09/02/2016 at 20:54:20
37 Posted 09/02/2016 at 21:01:11
38 Posted 09/02/2016 at 21:04:28
However, when it comes to Howard I think some people saw it a bit black and white and Roberto was give undue criticism.
I understand why people wanted Robles last season but to be fair Howard came back in and performed well after his injury. Last season a judgment call and I think as in Europe he backed Howard - fair enough.
This season a different kettle of fish. Howard's been poor. However, we had Galloway at left back, Mori playing, Browing at right back at times and young John Stones being asked to be the leader. I can understand why Martinez kept Howard and gave him a vote of confidence. I actually agreed with if and would have been very risky, perhaps unfair, on the team and Robles to then drop Howard and put Robles under that pressure.
I have no doubts Robles will keep his place now in the league unless he has poor performance(s). What will be interesting is when Tim is fully fit, who will play in the cup games?
Personally, I just hope Robles plays in all games whilst he is performing and long may it continue. Clean sheets bring massive confidence to the entire team.
39 Posted 09/02/2016 at 21:25:33
40 Posted 09/02/2016 at 21:27:20
As already pointed out Jim Hardin is Mrs Hardin's son but he is also an American toffee and a staunch defender of Tim Howard.
I am sure he will introduce himself to you at some point.
41 Posted 09/02/2016 at 21:29:58
The man talks in riddles.
He explains leaving Bainesy out by saying how well Oviedo played when covering for Bainesy injury and no doubt he will put his other hat on when he wants to bring Howard and JS back in.
42 Posted 09/02/2016 at 21:38:03
43 Posted 09/02/2016 at 22:01:27
44 Posted 09/02/2016 at 22:03:01
Well, that's what should happen if Howard and Stones walk back into the team... walk out! I'm going on Saturday and I will walk if he does it.
45 Posted 09/02/2016 at 22:41:38
46 Posted 09/02/2016 at 23:10:59
47 Posted 09/02/2016 at 23:23:03
Really? Have you checked the birth certificates of Jags, Baines, Coleman, Barry, Mirallas, Lennon & Kone?
Last time I looked they're all over 25 and most if not all have kids...
You do talk shite Martinez.
48 Posted 10/02/2016 at 00:10:18
Would like to see same 11, hopefully we're winning and around 60 minutes we bring on Geri for Lennon and Niasse for Cleverley or give Barry a rest. Who knows, try a Baines or even Stones in that role. Anyone know when Besic is back?
49 Posted 10/02/2016 at 00:18:07
1) Keep with the same starting 11 - include them on the bench, along with Baines if he's good to go.
2) Play 1 or both from Howard and Stones...and pray to all the gods past present and future it doesn't bite you in the bum.
3) Give them a run out Vs Bournemouth
3a) Does that then make Howard the 'Cup Keeper' and Robles starts in the next League game?
All eyes will be on option 2 if it is chosen.
50 Posted 10/02/2016 at 00:50:27
I really couldn't care less as long as we win. Jags and Howard have been playing together for years, and are well capable of shutting teams out on their day. Howard is petrified in front of the home fans, he won't get over that being on the bench will he?
I'd go with Robles next match but I hope Howard comes back and puts in a few of his virtuoso performances before the end of the season, so that he can leave Everton ( a club he loves) on a high and with some pride.
Who cares as long as we win and keep momentum. We want the confidence of every player back up to what it was during Martinez's first season (especially at home) then we'll get a run together and get ourselves back up the table
54 Posted 10/02/2016 at 03:09:08
If he does bring Howard and Stones back in, then he'd better be damn certain we are going to win the next few games because, if we don't, all hell will deservedly break loose.
59 Posted 10/02/2016 at 08:15:12
A chance to make it four 3-0 wins in a row against the woeful baggies? Stick with a winning formula, we have such a strong attacking bench to change things if required.
Gotta love the RS falling apart at the seams too!
60 Posted 10/02/2016 at 09:21:17
As for Howard it was a disgrace when he was brought back in last season (he wasn't even fit when brought back) and if he's brought back now then, well words fail me!
63 Posted 10/02/2016 at 10:49:17
I'm not suggesting that Robles is a great goalkeeper, we just don't really know because we haven't seen enough of him but there is no doubting he has done very well over the last few games and deserves to be replaced only when Howard can be reasonably assessed to be playing better than him at any given time.
Two things are beginning to annoy me about Martinez.
Firstly, his tendency to tell supporters in so many words that he sees players in training whereas supporters do not and that accordingly he knows better when to pick or drop a player. Maybe that's fine in theory but training is not the same as playing a game, under pressure, in front of 39000. 'Under pressure' are the operative words here, because that's when Howard lets you down.
Secondly, he (Martinez) seems to suggest that Howard has a 'cool' head and is a boon in the dressing room as well as on the pitch. Well, from what I see game in and game out is that cool-headedness is the last thing you could accuse Howard of.
To be fair, I have never liked Howard. To me he flatters to deceive because he has far too many weaknesses as a goalkeeper to be reliable.
I'm not too bothered about Stones. The lad is class and he will come good again. He just needs to clear his head of the hype around him and remember that it doesn't matter how good some journo thinks you are, it's what you do on the pitch that counts and that it is not his job to show everybody how technically good he is but to stop the ball hitting the back of our net as regularly as it has been doing until recently. He needs to think about how 3 goals at the moment mean we win easily. Three goals a few weeks ago could still mean we drop points! And some of that was down to him.
64 Posted 10/02/2016 at 11:01:23
Stones' problem is that his confidence is shot and, being a very skillful and arrogant player, it's hit him harder than it would say a Coleman, who appears to take the more phlegmatic view that sometimes you aren't as good as at others, but hard work will go a considerable way to make up for a bit of poor form.
65 Posted 10/02/2016 at 11:32:59
Well, we saw for Chelsea's first goal recently how they are capable of shutting teams out, when that idiot came charging out of his goal in a panic after Jags let the ball go over him. As for Howard being petrified in front of the home fans, he's not half as petrified as the fans when they see him in goal.
You seem to think that the fans have made Howard some sort of scapegoat for the poor results, but the fact is the man is not good enough to keep goal. He has no positional sense, no anticipation and most of all he is terrified of getting into a situation where he might get hurt. I find it disgusting that you name Jags, who has been a tremendous servant to Everton in the same sentence as that useless bigheaded clown.
66 Posted 10/02/2016 at 11:39:18
67 Posted 10/02/2016 at 11:57:50
Things move on, at the moment neither are good enough to start.
68 Posted 10/02/2016 at 12:05:32
69 Posted 10/02/2016 at 13:39:58
71 Posted 10/02/2016 at 13:53:46
This is very different though. Howard has been a disaster waiting to happen for a good while now. I realise the opposition Robles has faced have been pretty limited but so were Swansea and Nowrich and Bournemouth... A clean sheet is a clean sheet and Robles is delivering them while Howard is not. I don't know if I'm projecting my own feeling on the situation but the defence seems so much more calm with Robles.
Stones should also be made to work for his place, if we allow him to stroll back into the team while he's been performing as he has then we'll be paying for this for a while. It's likely he would take Funes Mori's position (unfairly in my opinion) to go alongside Jags. All well and good for the short term but what if Stones disappears in the summer?
Funes Mori is likely to think he's second choice and would have missed out on half a season's experience. He's a fantastic player in the making Stones but anyone who understands picking a team means you don't necessarily pick your best eleven players. Sometimes you overlook a better player if you know a partnership between two is greater than the sum of the parts. At the minute the two young lads need Jags alongside them to guide them through the game
72 Posted 10/02/2016 at 14:56:53
No player should be guaranteed an automatic place at any club. They have both bin absolute shite of late especially Tim Howard. Never change a winning team they say. Pick them both and he will feel the wrath of the crowd. And rightly so.
74 Posted 10/02/2016 at 16:06:59
I too express the wish that Timothy joins the mighty Columbus Crew and I will start a crowd -funding website to pay for his airfare so he can get there sooner rather than later.
Keep it up Pal as I always enjoy meeting a Yank whom has developed a sense of humour as it as rare as rocking horse shit :)
75 Posted 10/02/2016 at 16:43:01
76 Posted 10/02/2016 at 18:10:05
If Roberto has no favourites WTF is traffic Kone doing anywhere near the squad let alone first team as he for all his effort and hold up play he's scored only 5 goals all season and that includes his hat-trick against Sunderland.
77 Posted 10/02/2016 at 18:18:21
If Martinez put out Stones and Howard now he is a complete moron and a totally useless manager.
78 Posted 10/02/2016 at 18:48:22
I'm fully aware that you guys over there leap like a dog to catch any scraps coming from the EPL table, but you need to keep your expectations real.
Baines would not touch your "crew" with a shitty stick, You might wanna take a look at Joey Barton or maybe even Phil Neville, he should be available soon . .Him and spoonfeet get on like a house on fire
79 Posted 10/02/2016 at 18:51:02
80 Posted 10/02/2016 at 19:02:41
81 Posted 10/02/2016 at 20:28:51
83 Posted 11/02/2016 at 00:11:59
A little caustic perhaps? Besides, we don't need Barton and his phony French accent over here. We already have the original Pepe Le Pew.
What happens when the Americans buy Everton and also start the MLS franchise in San Diego? What if young Everton players are then sent over here to learn how to play the game of soccer properly before being returned to the mother ship? Think how much better Stones would be if this system already was in place.
BTW, I was only joking about Baines coming over, unless you know people who know people who might be able to get it done on your end?
84 Posted 11/02/2016 at 00:32:36
86 Posted 11/02/2016 at 02:31:06
What planet do you live on Jim 'cos it's not this one. The USA a world football power house it is not.
87 Posted 11/02/2016 at 02:40:01
We need these Americans, if ever a club needed sweeping with a new broom, its ours.
If - and it still is an "If" - they are successful in this bid, then I'm already on side, because they will have gone where many have feared to tread.
It gonna takes balls and a clear vision to put us back where we belong and by stumping up 200m I think they will have passed the first test.
I just think you have an over inflated opinion of the standard over there. Americans have hardly taken football (the real football) to their hearts, sure you have many who are passionate about the beautiful game, but you are very much in the minority. This is reflected in the standard of play and players.
I really don't see how anybody could "learn how to play the game properly" in a league which would really struggle to reach Division one standards over here.
Look forward to our new owners making a load of dosh, because that would almost certainly mean they have made a good fist of it here. However, my support and trust will be tested to the limit f they start sending any of our young lads over there to learn how to play the game.
90 Posted 11/02/2016 at 03:54:08
Send the 3 clubs going up the end of this season or the 3 going down and send them to MLS next season, instead of the Prem or the Championship. MLS is, indisputably, a minor league, no doubt of it. The 3 going up or down will fit right in over here. Minor league.
Good fellow, Darren. I love a blowhard proving it. Unless I'm wrong because you were born in England. No, no credit in that accident of birth. You're just a blowhard.
The minor leagues are the minor leagues for a reason, the players aren't good enough for the Bigs. All around the world. For instance, a random choice, the horseshit Championship in England's professional game.
91 Posted 11/02/2016 at 04:01:50
Who said I was born in England ?
92 Posted 11/02/2016 at 05:11:34
When - if ever - an MLS team buys - like China - a top Euro player in their 20s (they do the 30's too) I might take notice.
But when, Jaysus, the current shipwreck that is 36 year old Howard is - am I wrong, I'm not sure how this works - the first pick going to Colorado then sorry, get real.
93 Posted 11/02/2016 at 05:18:53
94 Posted 11/02/2016 at 10:03:12
95 Posted 11/02/2016 at 10:16:51
99 Posted 11/02/2016 at 11:24:26
105 Posted 11/02/2016 at 21:46:20
106 Posted 11/02/2016 at 22:12:43
109 Posted 12/02/2016 at 09:29:27
110 Posted 12/02/2016 at 09:35:09
111 Posted 12/02/2016 at 09:44:48
Leave it to the experts, I say !
116 Posted 12/02/2016 at 12:44:53
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