Martinez hails Barry influence
Published 04/10/2013 | 14:16
The calming presence of Gareth Barry may be missing against Manchester City but his influence has already rubbed off on team-mates, according to Everton manager Roberto Martinez.
Barry has slotted seamlessly into the Toffees' midfield since his loan move late in the transfer window, but he is ineligible to play against his parent club at the the Etihad Stadium.
It is a match when the former England international's vast experience would have been in demand, but Martinez is keen to focus on the positives and how the Barry effect has filtered out to the rest of the squad, particularly the impressionable youngsters.
"There has been a lot of talk about his 500 appearances in the Premier League (chalked up in Monday's win over Newcastle) which is an incredible stat and shows the experience he has," said the Spaniard.
"But the way he is as a human being is an incredible influence for players like James McCarthy, Ross Barkley up to a point - players who can look up to someone who has been through many experiences and can give some sort of calm influence.
"On the pitch I thought James McCarthy developed a good chemistry with Gareth.
"In the second half against West Ham he did that straight away and he grew even bigger against Newcastle.
"Players like James and Ross are going to get stronger and better and learn so quickly from someone like Gareth - he adds to the development of our youngsters, which is invaluable really.
"I was always aware (of his ineligibility against City) so we need to accept it will be a period when he can recover, have a breather and get ready for the next game.
"What matters is not that you are going to miss with Gareth, it is the opposite: (it is) what he is bringing already and the influence he has had in the dressing room and the games and how excited we are to have him for the rest of the season.
"It will be a great opportunity for someone else and I think as a team you welcome those opportunities.
"I think we have enough experience to do that but obviously Gareth has been very influential and it seems he has been at Everton for a long time - that is how comfortable he looks with the team."
Martinez watched City get taken apart by European champions Bayern Munich in midweek with some admiration.
However, he does not think it will have any effect on their game against Manuel Pellegrini's side.
"Bayern are European champions for a reason and they have gone to the next level now," he said.
"For anyone who plays against Bayern it is going to be the biggest football test at club level and you have to admire the way they are playing.
"They are taking possession football into a new degree and I thought they were magnificent.
"There is never a good or bad time because when you play a top side you know they are going to be ready on the day, they have a really good squad and can make changes and refresh it if they need to.
"We know we will have to be at our best but we will embrace that challenge, and we look forward to facing Man City in their own backyard because, in my eyes, they are title challengers this season.
"We need to look to ourselves. Only the best can be a good enough performance against Manchester City."
The fixture is the first time Martinez has faced City since beating them in the FA Cup final with his Wigan underdogs, but he does not expect to reference that game in his pre-match planning.
"In many ways it is very different because you have a different manager with different ideas and different players. But then, in the same way, you have a lot of the important players who have been at the club for a long while and that means there will be similarities," he said.
"It is a completely different way of playing and, in that respect, it is going to be a different side."