Why Roberto Martinez could be the ideal man for the current Everton squad

by   |   20/06/2021  36 Comments  [Jump to last]

Remember Roberto Martinez’s first season? That 72-point haul and some of the best football we’ve seen in over 30 years. Well, look back at how he did it….

He came into the club and had that famed Moyes defence. He had a steady, if not ageing, goalkeeper. He had 2 solid attacking full backs and 2 good centre backs. He brought in Barry and McCarthy, a defensive shield and a box to box midfielder. We had Mirallas, a pacy direct player, on one wing and either Osman or Pienaar on the other. Barkley was our number 10 creator and Lukaku poached the goals. Brilliant team, entertaining football and a record points haul.

What do we have now?

We have a good goalkeeper. We have 2 solid full backs, albeit one is getting on a bit, who like to get forward. We have an abundance of decent centre backs. We have a defensive shield in either Allan or Davies and a box to box support in Doucoure. We have a pacy winger in Richarlison, Bernard or Gomes can fill the other side like Osman and Pienaar once did, James as the creative number 10 and DCL as a poacher. The similarities between the teams are striking.

Is there a better alternative to get the most out of the current team?

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Reader Comments (36)

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Barry Rathbone
1 Posted 21/06/2021 at 10:55:13
Instead of "famous" I would use "notorious"and "fragile" for Moyes defence given the entire unit of 11 outfielders were set out as a holding unit and still managed to leak enough goals in important games to ensure we challenged for fuck all.

Martinez did well because of a combination of luck in the loan market the unshackling of a couple of decent players from the stiffs allied to a few reasonable buys. But the idea of a strategy depending on luck with loanees and a constant supply of reserve players is utter folly.

Bobby was the perfect fit for us IF we had had decent monies and I see the temptation of saying "well, we have it now get him in" but the truism of "never go back" holds sway particularly given how many hate him.

The good ship Martinez has sailed. The first and biggest mistake of the Mosh regime was not having the insight to see his potential and support him.

Danny O’Neill
2 Posted 21/06/2021 at 11:09:56
Thanks for the article Kevin. Always good to see different people put their perspective up.

I'm afraid I'm with Barry. I wouldn't say famed, more solid and on many occasions, hoped for the best.

In my lifetime, Liverpool's defences of the 70s & 80s were famed. Our defence of the mid 80s was famed. United's x several of the 90s & naughties were famed. Probably the most famed, again in my lifetime, if you purely want to focus on defence, was George Graham's Arsenal. They all won the league and other honours.

Moyes' built good and solid defences, but not good enough to enable the team to challenge or win anything.

Dennis Stevens
3 Posted 21/06/2021 at 14:49:55
I'm very much in the "never go back" camp. Tbh, surely Martinez would have more attractive offers if he decides to quit the Belgium job - & I'd be surprised if he didn't fancy a crack at the next World Cup before moving on, anyway.
Tony Abrahams
4 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:03:04
To Carry on with the headline: BECAUSE WE ARE FUCKN DESPERATE. Can people not remember the phone lines after games? Evertonians were desperate to get rid of Martinez, because he went steadily downhill after his first season.

I didn't mind Roberto, but he had to go imo, and if we weren't all over the place now, then I'm not sure his name would be getting mentioned

Jay Harris
5 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:10:01
The pproblem with MArtinez is his arrogantl ego.

He dismantled everything Moyes had painstakingly built over 11 years and Within his first year the cracks were showing.

We were nailed on for 4th that first season but the team were in decline and ended up 5th.

The next season and a half we were a total disaster and would have been relegated if he was left in charge.

Peoples memories are very selective.

Andrew Ellams
6 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:19:54
Anybody who saw Belgium defend in the first half vs Denmark and didn't have flashbacks to nights like the one in Kiev has a heart of stone.

Not for me, wasn't first time either.

David Pearl
7 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:20:07
Moyes went back to West Ham and did well. He could have come back here but was made to feel unwelcome so Mosh got Anceloti.

Matinez? I agree with Kevin. He would do well with the squad we have. Better than Carlo did anyway. He wouldn't change the shape every other match and we have players this time around more suited to a possession based game. The defence are all young, apart from Seamus, plus we also have 2 of the best young left backs in the country. Do you think he would leave Nkounkou on the bench to gathet dust?

The wheels fell off last time but l think, if he has learned from last time, he could be a breath of fresh air. He would also not need too much to build his team. Would he stay at Belgium to try for the World Cup or would he try again here on 4 times the salary?

Who else is there? Actually l don't think it will happen but thin pickings. Conte won't come here, and even if he did it would be for 18 months again. Benitez and Nuno would have been appointed by now wouldn't they?? Who knows.

Mike Gaynes
8 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:24:37
I've seen lots of reports about Everton being interested in Martinez. I've seen exactly nothing about Martinez being interested in Everton.

Can't imagine why he would abandon the #1 team in the world and the chance to coach Lukaku, de Bruyne and the Hazard brothers in the World Cup... to manage Iwobi, Holgate and Bernard in the mid-table Prem.

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:26:25
Come on Kevin there are three pages to Roberto's story, you only printed page one, which was very good until near the bottom of it, the next two pages went from bad to worse and he finished up in the dunces section, mind you the dunces section paid very well and he walked away with £11M.
James Flynn
10 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:32:52
Interesting given the title of the OP, that the writer couldn't give one reason why Roberto would be "Ideal". Which is proper as there is nothing ideal about him. Unless you consider preening for the cameras and sprinting towards any microphone he sees, "ideal".

Anyway, No. Nonononono. It's shocking to me that anyone wants this managerial fraud back.

However dull, drab, boring, or zombie the football was this season (and it was), no manager could have wrung another point more than Carlo squeezed out of this weak squad. And we're getting calls for "Go get em boys. I'll explain it all away in the post-game press conference." Roberto to take over this bunch?

God help us.

Mike Gaynes
11 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:37:39
David #7, so after exactly TWO starts against Prem opponents -- one against Hammers in in the league cup and one in the November loss to Newcastle -- you've decided that Nkounkou is one of the "best young left backs in the country"?

I'd say you're about 20 games early on that assessment.

As for Carlo leaving him on the bench, we didn't see the young man in training -- Carlo did -- and I'd say that the brilliance Godfrey displayed in Digne's absence showed Carlo's decision to be a wise one.

Thomas Richards
12 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:39:34
Beat me to it Mike.

David, in how many games have you watched Nkounkou?

Tony Twist
13 Posted 21/06/2021 at 15:40:11
It needs to be sorted, whoever the new manager elect is. Just a thought but may be there is more to it regarding the Nunes transfer. Nuno comes along for his interview with his wingman Mendes and he talks the talk. Brands says do you walk the walk? Mendes says I can get you Nunes, I can get you Rafael Leao. Prove it says Brands. May be that is why we wait?!
Conor McCourt
14 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:08:51
Mike it's quite ironic that for the last two campaigns most Evertonians believe that we have the worst squad in our history and now you are suggesting that perhaps Belgium have the number one team in the world.

Despite you asking why he would leave them to join us I could only see Castagne, Tielemans, DeBruyne, Hazard and Lukaku as absolute certainties to get a game in a combined first eleven with our Everton.

Many Blues mightn't remember Bobby as a player but he was quite tough, a leader of men and a niggly little so and so. He is considered Swansea's, Wigan's and Belgium's greatest ever manager but there is still one place which he has described as "unfinished business". Many Blues view Bobby as a failure based on his final season despite being statistically one of our best managers and with a fifth place, two cup semis and European last sixteen to his name. I have a feeling underneath Roberto's nice guy demeanour there is a fierce competitor who would love to prove a few of the doubters wrong and this time he will get the tools to do so.

Personally I feel Belgium's squad is in decline and they have little chance of winning the Euro's let alone in another year when very few will be at their peak.

David Pearl
15 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:10:52
Mike, Thomas? Really? You don't see the potential... you think he deserved those splinters in his arse all season till the final 10 minutes of the season? And l was also taking about Smalls. We seem to have a couple cracking young left backs there who l would like to see more of. Its what good managers do. They find a way to get young players some minutes. Unless you think you get that just by the smell of the grass. I want a manager not scared to play youngsters if they deserve it and Niels really kind of did. Carlo shit himself. "Bring me Sunshine"
Robert Tressell
16 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:12:11
Given that our squad is really much better than 10 other clubs, I don't think a matured Martinez would do the sort of damage people are predicting. He has his weaknesses, but he has the courage to have us behave like a big club in games and with proper financial backing could do very well. There was such a lot to like about his first spell as you outline Kevin.

No-one in my period of supporting has shown anything like his vision and ambition and built such a high quality squad.

BUT... I just don't like the idea of going back (same feeling with Moyes).

I have begun to be resigned to a Benitez appointment although still hope it's Santo.

My issue with Benitez is that without the squad or kitty to compete, his reign would be much more mid-table than top table. Like it was at Newcastle only a bit better, because the squad here is better. In fact, very much like more of Ancelotti's reign which many supporters obviously detested.

I said on another post that appointing Benitez with expectations of the Champions League is like going on the pull with a rich, handsome mate and expecting to go home with a stunner just because you're wearing his old moth-eaten designer shirt.

With Martinez, there's a chance he could pull off something tremendous because he is so ambitious to do it, albeit sometimes naively ambitious.

Dave Abrahams
17 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:12:48
Mike (11), ‘ We didn't see the young man in training': We didn't see the young man anywhere, he never played for the U23's, hardly played for the first team, I don't think he was injured so it was a mystery why he wasn't selected,even Thiery Small, aged sixteen, got a few minutes, although that was cosmetic.

We did see, Gomes, Bernard and Iwobi plenty of times so they must have been terrific in training, not so much when they actually played.

Winston Williamson
18 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:36:22
I agree Dave, 17. Would it of made much difference putting Niels on from the bench, on the left wing, as opposed to watching Iwobi try to play football? Iwobi cannot really show that much more quality in training than he does on the actual pitch!?!

I actually like Bernard. He's lightweight but you get a sense of something might happen with him. Thought he played well back in the days when our fullbacks crossed the half way line with intent to attack. Think his confidence has been massively smashed!

Gomes hasn't returned since his injury. Not that he was ever consistently good before it. Handsome chap though.

Only way I'd want Martinez back is if he hired Alan Stubbs or Alan Irvine as defensive coach.

Ray Roche
19 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:41:35
Barry, once again, after reading your post I disagree with your conclusions regarding Everton's defence under Martinez. What cannot be denied, and I make no apologies for repeating this, is that under Moyes Everton were as fit and well organised as they had been for years, and they have not been as fit since. Yes, his departure was insulting and sly, but that has been done to death on this website. What also cannot be denied is that Moyes was a miserable fecker, to such an extent that he'd be a star on the Live Forum.

But Martinez...hmmmm. Remember when he first arrived? The office staff at FF and GP, as well as the kitchen staff, cleaners etc said he was like a 'breath of fresh air', people weren't 'afraid to be seen laughing' and his behaviour, his manner, lit the place up. People were happy again, which shows what a wet blanket Moyes was, a reflection of his personality. Another quote was that the 'Bring Me Sunshine' Christmas video would not have been allowed under Moyes.
Would I welcome Martinez back? The office staff would, but I'd only allow Martinez back if he left the fitness training to a bone fide fitness trainer, someone who could get that sad sack of drifters performing to Leeds standards. ( I've just slipped into a parallel universe where that could happen..) He'd also have to have a defensive coach, a guy who can see the benefit of practicing defending corners for a start. It would be phenomenal,

Regarding Thierry Smalls, I have been told by someone close to the family that he'll be gone.


Raymond Fox
20 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:45:04
Those with a decent memory will remember that I was Roberto's biggest supporter though thick and thin.
With a team of top four players he would do very well as he is with Belgium, but I don't think he would return even if he was wanted.

Our trouble is not principally managers - although some are better than others- its a lack of enough top quality players, we have two or three now I would say, we need more.

The only way I can see us escaping this 7-10 ish position each season is for Moshiri to throw a ridiculous amount money at the trasfer market, even then will the very top players sign for us, I don't know!

Jim Bennings
21 Posted 21/06/2021 at 16:48:28
We'll probably end up with Steve friggin Bruce!

The Benitez thing seems dead now.

They clearly weren't impressed with the Nuno talks because that would and should have organically developed into a contract offer two weeks ago, so that one seems dead.

They've clearly spoken to Duncan Ferguson, he either doesn't want the job full time yet or we aren't convinced of him in the role, again if that was likely then it would have been done already.

Galtier is going to Nice.

Potter and Dyche are both tied down and would command compensation and both are laced with risk for the compo to actually be worth it.

Roberto Martinez wouldn't really leave Belgium to rejoin a club where the fans turned on him quite horrendously in the end so that won't happen.

Eddie Howe clearly they don't fancy which is probably not surprising.

Fonseca doesn't want to com to England, if he didn't join Spurs he won't join us.

Favre doesn't even seem to be in the offing, clearly another we don't fancy.

Rangnick has been touted but he's hardly managed clubs throughout his career and coming to Everton right now probably wouldn't be a benefit to his career.

So there's not much left is there?

It wouldn't even shock me if we reappointed Sam Allardyce, this is Everton isn't it.

Mike Gaynes
22 Posted 21/06/2021 at 17:05:06
David #15, Dave #17, of course I saw his potential (against lesser competition) and of course I'd have liked to see him play more. But to describe him as one of the best young left backs in the country strikes me as ridiculously premature. Again, he was playing behind Digne and Godfrey. Hopefully this season he'll see more of the pitch and we'll see for sure what he's got.

Conor #14, I'm not "suggesting" that Belgium is the #1 team in the world. I'm stating it as a fact. Check the FIFA rankings. They've been #1 for a couple of years now and it's not even close. As to your other comment about the combined lineup... well, you're welcome to your opinion, but I think you're orbiting another planet. Only the increasingly creaky Vertonghen would fail to start for Everton ahead of anyone in our starting 11.

And I'm still picking Belgium to win the Euros, although Italy's performance has made me less confident in that prediction.

Conor McCourt
23 Posted 21/06/2021 at 17:12:53
Mike being ranked number one and having the best squad are two entirely different things. They are ranked number one because of Martinez in my opinion. Look at the quality in the France,Germany,Portugal and even England ranks compared to Belgium.

If Southgate managed Belgium they would be 20-1

So Hazard 2 is better than Digne

Carrasco is better than Rodriguez

Alderwireld now is better than Godfrey

Mertens is better than Richarlison

I would take all our boys in those match ups

Robert Tressell
24 Posted 21/06/2021 at 17:38:01
You might be right Jim although I certainly wouldn't rule out Santo and Benitez yet - it's more likely them than anyone else. There are wildcards like Cocu and Van Bronkhorst and others too.
Paul Swan
25 Posted 21/06/2021 at 17:48:49
Incredible that this clown is still being discussed. He seemed to get the Everton job on the back of the FA cup game where Wigan tore Moyse's team apart. The same Moyes, if you believe the stories, who was out meeting Ferguson and Man U the evening before that game. Pandered to and massaged the ego of Kenwright who was presented with an overview of how his red headed golden child was tactically outthought in that game. I'll agree the mood on and off the field lightened during his time here and this coincided with the club beginning to get things right off the field with themed match days etc. but once the thin veneer of seeming to know what he was doing started to peel away, it was plain to see he didn't have a clue.
Colin Glassar
26 Posted 21/06/2021 at 17:53:05
What about Gareth as our next manager? I'll get me coat!
Rob Dolby
27 Posted 21/06/2021 at 18:01:27
I loved Roberto's first season. The positivity, the attacking football. Giving Wenger a lesson at our place.
Lukaku, Gerry and Barkley flying.

Even the Christmas Morecambe and Wise song was like the sun had started to shine after 11 years of abject misery under the underwhelming, dour, miserable, expectation lowering spell from Moyes.

If he could bottle that feel good factor I would have him back like a shot.

The best ever, phenomenal signings of people like cleverly, besic, kone, alcatraz and the defensive coaching shambles added to his downfall.

A real big danger of him coming back would be to try and turn the usual suspects into proper players by which time he would probably be sacked.

I wouldn't bother taking a gamble on him coming back and changing his philosophy.

The longer the wait goes on the more likely it is that we will appoint someone who is already in a job or managing in the euros. The longer the wait the more chance of another average season with these very average players.

Barry Rathbone
28 Posted 21/06/2021 at 18:01:51
Ray 19

I'll just have to agree to disagree with you on the strength of the Moyes defence.

Regarding fitness the Moyes crew were out on their feet every season till the rigours of over-training pre season shook off, normally around xmas. If we did look unfit my response would be I've never seen a team in a tail spin (which we were) ever look anything but leggy and disinterested. Mental attitude contributes to fitness

It went downhill for Martinez for the reasons I've outlined reasons that now don't apply but I still think he would be nuts to come back.

Ray Roche
29 Posted 21/06/2021 at 18:07:03
Barry, I actually agree.
with your last sentence.
Danny O’Neill
30 Posted 21/06/2021 at 18:09:51
Without looking into it, we generally did seem to follow that pattern under Moyes most seasons Barry.

Go into the season on the back of a good finish to the last one with anticipation and high expectation. Cue awful or lacklustre start with a typical "Everton October" thrown into the mix to knock said expectation out of us.

Once the expectation was lifted, have a good run finish to the season on a high and finish 6th or 7th. Go into the summer with high expectation.

Repeat cycle.

Kind of sums up the Moyes era for me.

Tony Abrahams
31 Posted 21/06/2021 at 18:31:20
I really enjoyed the very last season that David Moyes, managed Everton, up until January, because they started the season very well and maintained that form for the first few months, until they ultimately fell away. I remember losing at Norwich in the February, and the players were shattered, and then that Wigan game, which was the final straw for me.

Maybe it was his smallish squad, but in his last season, his last league away victory came at Newcastle on the 2nd of January, but I personally thought he left Martinez a decent enough squad.

Roberto made it better with Barry, McCarthy, Gerry and Lukaku, and was unlucky not to get into the top 4, but the only other decent player he signed was Aarron Lennon, and maybe it was having a small squad that also done Martinez, in the end, because the mantra seemed to change towards conserving energy, and it didn't take the crowd long to become restless, which in turn began to affect the team.

I remember him taking off a midfielder (Lennon) who had done the work of two men, and replacing him with a centre forward, when his team were down to ten men, I remember him gifting Man City a semifinal, when he replaced Deleafoe, with Kone, keeping Lennon on the bench, and totally exposing John Stones, and I remember him keeping his two wide players pushed up, hoping to hit Arsenal, who were chasing the game on the counter-attack, but conceding two late goals himself.

I worry about the squad size again, because it was fairly low towards the end of last season, and modern day football is definitely a squad game.

David Pearl
32 Posted 21/06/2021 at 19:11:48
I agree with your post. On the subject of the squad size l think we still have too many. Too many injuries and we can't rely on fitness. Too many centre mids Of course we have no other right back (apart from Kenny) and no other wide crossers of the ball. Little pace.

Bernard isn't as bad as not to be played. When he was played it wasn't with Digne, he was on the right or floating. Surely someone might have told him 'hey Carlo, them two work well together."

We have so many questions about the squad. Who can stay fit. Who can be a squad player and still fight to get a start. What younger players deserve a spot on the bench that can come on and make a difference.

In fact... who wants to actually be here? James, Dom, Richy, Allan have all been linked with moves away. We need to trim some as much as we need to buy some in those obvious areas. Just so the shape and tactics jump out for the new manager. You look at our squad and wonder how lwobi, Siggy and James can play together but it shouldn't even be an issue.

Jim Bennings
33 Posted 21/06/2021 at 20:55:46
Seems Lucien Favre is in talks with Crystal Palace tonight.

I'm not sure what to make of that really, doesn't say much for your standing when you are considering a job offer from Palace and on closer inspection Favre has only won one trophy (in a major European league) in his career I believe?

Jamie Crowley
34 Posted 21/06/2021 at 22:36:47
Why Roberto?

Sunshine and laughter. Need more of that around the place quite honestly.


Jerome Shields
35 Posted 22/06/2021 at 12:16:34
I know that the Belgium team are No 1 and playing well. But I do notice a certain slackness in their play. Martinez is great with a overall tacticial p!an, but it's in the detail he gets exposed and better teams will have noticed this and will apply more pressure in those areas.

If he came back to Everton it would be the same story. His way of playing has not changed that much, but Kompany was a master in defence and it is noticable.

Thomas Windsor
36 Posted 23/06/2021 at 08:57:28
If it was a choice Martinez or Benitez I would try Martinitez again, maybe he has learned how to defend better.

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