Monday 5 December 2016

John Giles: Everton boss Roberto Martinez talks too much for his own good

Published 29/01/2016 | 19:50

Everton boss Roberto Martinez
Everton boss Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez must start delivering soon or all his fine words will mark him as a talker and not a winner. If his team was as fluent as he is in a press conference, he would have no problems at all.

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But I've always thought that he talks too much for his own good and uses words to bat away reality.

After losing to Manchester City in the midweek League Cup semi-final, it was all about the Raheem Sterling cross and the fact that everyone else watching the game saw the ball go out of play and the officials didn't.

Of course I understand how much that must have hurt Martinez and his players. But there were other moments in the game which caused self-inflicted damage.

The problem for Martinez is that his flow of words cannot hide shortcomings in his defence and more generally, in his team's ability to capitalise on a winning position.

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He focuses on bad decisions but the real problem lies closer to home. It's a defence mechanism which is acceptable from a winning manager because he usually corrects the faults which cause a poor performance or an individual player to play badly.

But it becomes an irritating whine if a manager is constantly blaming everything but the obvious for bad results.

Martinez has not been shy about selling himself or the group of players he is working with and predicting great things for his team. But that sounds like an election promise to Everton supporters, who see a very talented young squad but no sign of progress.

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They are a tolerant bunch, the Everton faithful. They gave David Moyes (pictured above) as much time as he wanted and gave him an ovation when he was leaving because they knew what he had done for the club.

I think it's fair to say that Martinez has improved the squad but he is also enjoying the benefits of Moyes' careful stewardship of the club at all levels and particularly the academy.

Martinez has bought carefully and quite well to add to the home grown stock of players like Ross Barkley and John Stones but he has also made costly mistakes.

Aiden McGeady is clearly one of them but you'd never guess that from the way the Everton manager talks and it is this part of his personality which worries me the most and will trip him up eventually, as it did Brendan Rodgers.

He is far too willing to insult everyone's intelligence by painting a rosy picture when all I see is thorns.

In Ireland, we have watched McGeady for years. We know he has an independent streak which sometimes comes into conflict with authority but we also know he can do truly wonderful things with a football.

For me, unfortunately, he has never done it often enough and to be honest, I don't think he ever will which is a great, great pity.

There are moments when he does things with a football which lift your spirit and a few seconds later, he drops you back down on the floor like a deflated balloon.

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I don't know why McGeady cannot be more consistent and I don't know why his time at Everton has been so disappointing, apart from the injury issues he had to deal with.

But he has been fit for a number of weeks now and it is very telling that he cannot even make it into a match day squad.

And yet Martinez speaks about McGeady as if he will be the star turn next season for Everton.

He has spoken about finding a loan move for McGeady and helping him out in his quest for regular football to prepare for Euro 2016 so that he can come back to Goodison refreshed and ready for pre-season. That's a load of old nonsense. If he was straight about McGeady he would tell us that the player has been a huge disappointment and the big salary he is earning could be used elsewhere to greater effect.

Of course he can't say that but why say anything at all? People are not stupid. Managers in England with a few quid to spend and an eye on McGeady know that he's available and will take the appropriate steps without Martinez spinning like a top.

But he ploughs on with nicely crafted sentences which read well but mean nothing.

There is another item of circumstantial evidence which makes me believe that Martinez is now swimming against the tide and that his reputation as a top coach has been inflated.

He's had James McCarthy for seven of the lad's nine seasons as a professional footballer and that's a long time; long enough to identify, talk about and work on weaknesses in his game.

I believe that McCarthy has the talent within him to be more than he is and I would see it as Martinez's duty to help him achieve his maximum potential.

The fact that he hasn't implies some element of failure of management and coaching and Martinez prides himself as a coach.

I don't say this to attack McCarthy. Perhaps his personality makes him the player he is and I don't know him well enough to know either way.

But I do know that the small changes in McCarthy's game which could make a huge difference should be easy to explain in a half hour with a few videos and a chat.

That's the job of the coach and Martinez has had seven seasons to work on it without any noticeable change.

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