Martinez praise for Irish quartet

Stevenage 0 Everton 4

Martinez praise for Irish quartet

The Toffees boss handed a first start to new recruit Aiden McGeady in the comfortable success over Stevenage. McGeady has joined fellow countrymen Seamus Coleman, Darron Gibson and James McCarthy at Goodison Park and the former Celtic winger fitted in immediately with a lively performance at the Lamax Stadium.

Martinez, who signed the 27-year-old winger from Spartak Moscow, reckons Everton will reap the rewards of having several players from the same country.

“I like that sort of core in dressing rooms,” Martinez said. “I think it really helps with Darron Gibson, James McCarthy, Aiden McGeady and Seamus Coleman.

“It helps when they go away on international duty, they can support each other. I think it helps when you get a few players who share the same demands at international level.

“I speak with Roy [Keane] because we had a great experience at the Euros working on television, but I haven’t had the opportunity to speak with Martin [O’Neill]. But they are very talented players and they all share an incredible attitude and appetite for the game. They are the type of ambassadors we need in our dressing room.”

With McGeady now pushing for a regular start in Martinez’s exciting Everton line-up, the Spaniard reckons tomorrow’s Merseyside derby will be all-out attack once again.

High-flying Everton and Liverpool played out a thrilling and pulsating 3-3 Premier League draw at Goodison Park in November. And Toffees boss Martinez, fresh from his side’s convincing display in Hertfordshire, believes it will be more of the same positive approach at Anfield.

Martinez, who will be without Coleman because of a hamstring injury, said: “I don’t think it will be a cagey game. I was watching Liverpool in the FA Cup and they had a very strong line-up.

“I don’t think we have two teams who are too worried about defending. We are going to try and impose ourselves on each other, control the football and it will make it an open game.”

Despite Martinez’s bold prediction, Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard was keen to issue a case for the defence.

“I’m sure people on the couch would want a repeat of the game at Goodison but no one inside Anfield will,” he said. “We are not hoping for that, something ridiculous like six set-piece goals. You could never fathom that. I don’t think it will be that way.”

Everton, buoyed by already winning at Old Trafford this season, travel across Stanley Park in confident mood despite the absence of Costa Rica star Bryan Oviedo, whose season and World Cup dream seems over following a horrific double leg fracture.

Howard added: “It was horrible and hard to see. It turns the stomach. It’s tough for him and for us as well as a group because he has contributed so much.”

Gareth Barry produced another midfield masterclass at the League One outfit as Steven Naismith’s first-half double gave the visitors a healthy lead before efforts from substitutes Johnny Heitinga and Magaye Gueye sealed the win.

Yet Martinez claims he is relaxed about the long-term future of the on-loan Manchester City star.

Martinez added: “He’s a unique footballer. We wanted Gareth to be very important for Everton, to enjoy his football and to show everyone that he should be helping England at the World Cup.

“He’s an incredible leader and I want him to carry on until the end of the season. He knows he can stay at Everton for as long as he wants.”

Another loanee, Lacina Traore, has joined from Monaco and links up with his new team-mates today, but Martinez sounded a note of caution over how quickly the giant striker will be introduced to the English game.

“We’ll assess him. It’s hard to tell. I’m not too worried about him making Tuesday or not I’m more worried about having him fully fit for the remainder of the season.

“I see him being very important for the last nine games. Lukaku can’t play against Chelsea so it’s important he’s fully fit for that.”

STEVENAGE: Day 6, Ashton 5, Jones 6 (Parrett 72), Morais 7 (Andrade 81), Charles 6, Akins 6, Zoko 7, Heslop 5, Freeman 6, Smith 5, Hartley 5.

Booked: Smith, Hartley

EVERTON: Robles 6, Hibbert 6, Stones 7, Jagielka 6 (Heitinga 46, 7), Baines 6, McGeady 7, McCarthy 7, Barry 7, Oviedo 5 (Osman 22, 6), Mirallas 7 (Gueye 81), Naismith 8.

Booked: Naismith

Referee: Anthony Taylor

Attendance: 6,913.

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