Sunday 25 February 2018

Roberto Martinez wants Everton to push through their promising start

Roberto Martinez's Everton head to Arsenal a week on from the 3-0 home loss to Manchester United
Roberto Martinez's Everton head to Arsenal a week on from the 3-0 home loss to Manchester United

Roberto Martinez has stressed the importance of Everton not letting their promising start to the season go to waste.

Prior to the disappointing 3-0 home loss to Manchester United last Saturday, the Merseysiders' only Barclays Premier League defeat for the campaign to date had come at the hands of Manchester City.

A 3-0 win at Southampton and 3-1 home victory over champions Chelsea had been the stand-out results as Everton collected 13 points from their first eight fixtures.

And Toffees boss Martinez, whose men are currently ninth in the table, said ahead of Saturday's trip to second-placed Arsenal: "The start of the season has been as challenging as we expected, but really, really good.

"I think we have showed signs of a really interesting season ahead.

"But, now, the start of the season will mean nothing if we don't carry on with some consistency.

"I do feel this period until the next international break is a very important one for us."

Martinez thinks his side have done well so far to cope with the demands both of a tough schedule of early fixtures and various injury problems.

Key to that has been the form of some less-experienced squad members who have stepped in, including 19-year-old full-back Brendan Galloway, who was this week named the club's player of the month for September.

After making his senior Everton debut in May, Galloway - with the likes of Leighton Baines sidelined - has gone on to feature in nine out of 11 games for the Toffees this term, as well as being involved with England Under-21s.

And Martinez said of the man he signed from Milton Keynes Dons in 2014: "Brendan keeps surprising everyone.

"His maturity is very impressive and I haven't seen him needing time to rest or a need to take him out of the team.

"You need to measure that week to week and allow football to make the decision. But there is no general rule saying that if someone is 19 and hasn't really played before, there is a certain number of games you have to give him.

"We have been very pleased with the way he has adapted to the demands and clearly we have someone quite special for the future."

With Baines making good progress in his rehabilitation from an ankle injury and soon to be back in contention along with Bryan Oviedo and Galloway, Martinez is pleased healthy competition is set to develop at left-back.

"At the moment he (Galloway) is doing really well," the manager said.

"Bryan Oviedo should be fully fit and Leighton as well back very soon and that gives us fantastic options, which is what you want.

"Brendan Galloway has earned the right of being in the first-team squad and challenging for his position."

Press Association

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