Martinez hails 'sublime' Deulofeu

, 2 December, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent
First option for Everton if Barca loan teenager next year

Updated Roberto Martinez was thrilled with the performance of Gerard Deulofeu as the Spanish winger played a starring role in the demolition of Stoke on Saturday, hinting at a greater involvement for the Barcelona loanee now that he has found his feet in the Premier League.

Deulofeu scored the opener in the 4-0 win at Goodison Park, provided assists for two more and could, with a bit more composure, have added to his tally in the second half.

His continuing adaptation to the English league adds another string to his manager's bow at a crucial time of the season, to the extent that there is talk of him starting at Old Trafford on Wednesday when the Blues take on Manchester United.

"His quality is sublime," Martinez said of the 19 year-old. "He can open spaces up by trying things.

"I want him to continue to express himself. Engaging with players in one-v-one situations dislodges good defences. To have that raw talent is not selfish."

While Martinez hinted earlier in the season that there was scope for extending Deulofeu's loan to a second season, it is being reported that a clause does exist in the loan contract with Barcelona concerning just that scenario.

As an incentive to play the Spain U20 international and speed his development, the Catalan giants won't collect a loan fee from Everton if Deulofeu plays in more than 50% of the Blues' games this season and the same thinking could see him play another year with the Blues before returning to La Liga in 2015. Everton will have first option to loan Deulofeu again if Barca decide to send him out on loan again.

The praise for the prodigious forward wasn't restricted to Goodison this weekend, either. Stoke's Marc Muniesa, who played with Deulofeu in Barca's academy and could, according to Mark Hughes, have been playing alongside him this season as well had Martinez not stepped in, said after the game:

"He is so fast with a lot of talent. In time, I'm sure that he will be one of the best players in the world. We speak to each other every day and are great friends. But after what he did in this game, maybe we are not such great friends for the moment!"

We are going to go to Old Trafford and [will] be ourselves.
— Roberto Martinez

Martinez, meanwhile, is hugely encouraged by the mix of options that he possesses in his squad.

"We have got a really good blend of experience and youth," he said. "The youth needs a bit of direction and the experience needs a bit of fresh legs. To see young players coming on and making real statements is important."

That bodes well for Everton's prospects going into what has historically been their worst fixture in the Premier League era.

"This group of players go the extra mile for each other," Martinez continued. "I always felt that there is something special in the group.

"If you want to achieve something over the course of the season you need to be yourself, whichever ground you visit and whoever you face. We are going to go to Old Trafford and [will] be ourselves."

"This squad hasn't reached its full potential and that's something to be excited [about]."


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