Saturday 10 December 2016

Everton boss Roberto Martinez lauds rising English talent

Published 04/01/2016 | 04:36

Everton's John Stones was among several young England stars who shone during the 1-1 draw with Tottenham
Everton's John Stones was among several young England stars who shone during the 1-1 draw with Tottenham

Everton boss Roberto Martinez feels his side's 1-1 draw with Tottenham on Sunday was a game that boded well for England ahead of Euro 2016.

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Toffees duo Ross Barkley and John Stones and Spurs' Harry Kane each made notable contributions to an absorbing Barclays Premier League encounter at Goodison Park, while the latter's team-mate Dele Alli was widely seen as the man of the match.

That youthful foursome - along with several others who were involved, including Tottenham's 21-year-old Eric Dier - are aiming to be part of England's squad for the Euros in France this summer.

And Martinez said: "It was a joy to see so many English players on both sides with young ages but big roles in the game.

"You could see players that probably wouldn't get opportunities in other teams in this league.

"It is the best league in world football, but sometimes you need to be a bit patient.

"What you are seeing now is such a variety of good young English players.

"You don't get many opportunities of having generations with players like Ross Barkley, John Stones, Harry Kane and Dele Alli - a large pool of players with something to offer, but very, very different. The options are huge.

"It is important they play in games like this, that they develop and that they can then bring experience, because at the end of the day, the psychological aspect of a player in big tournaments is important."

An England man with plenty of experience who was an unused substitute on Sunday is Toffees defender Phil Jagielka.

The 33-year-old Everton captain was back as part of a matchday squad for the first time since sustaining a knee injury in October.

He is close to a return to action, but Martinez stressed Wednesday's Capital One Cup semi-final first leg against Manchester City at home will not see Jagielka feature in the first XI.

"It was just important for us to have the figure of a captain and that feeling of comfort in the dressing room," Martinez said.

"He will be part of the team in the next few games, but I think maybe the FA Cup third round game (against Dagenham next Saturday) is a more realistic target."

Between both Kane and team-mate Ben Davies hitting the woodwork, Everton took the lead against the run of play in Sunday's match through ex-Spurs man Aaron Lennon's 22nd-minute strike.

Alli provided the visitors with a richly-deserved equaliser in first-half stoppage time, dispatching a fine volley past Tim Howard.

The hosts improved after the break and finished strongly, but Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino stressed his men, seeking a fourth straight win, had not been content with a point.

Pochettino - whose side are fourth in the table, six points off the top and three clear of fifth, while Everton lie 11th - said: "For a lot of the second half we were dominant too.

"They only created some chances, and not too many, in the last 15 minutes.

"The game was open then because we wanted to try to win it.

"While attacking sometimes we gave some space to them in transition. But that was because our ambition was to get the three points."

Press Association

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