Martinez lauds McAleny's impact in friendly win

, 11 July, 46comments  |  Jump to most recent
Roberto Martinez singled Conor McAleny out for particular praise after the crucial role he played in today's 4-0 win at Swindon.

The 22-year-old assisted in the first three goals as Everton took a 3-0 second-half lead in their first friendly of the summer, thanks to a brace from Kevin Mirallas and a strike by Romelu Lukaku, before firing home the fourth himself from just inside the area.

McAleny, who spent most of last season on loan in the Championship with Cardiff City, where he scored two goals in eight appearances, is hoping to play his way into Martinez's plans for the new season and he got off to the perfect start at the County Ground.

The Whiston-born forward has suffered his share of injuries at an important stage of his career but his manager was pleased with what he saw today.

It was very important for Conor to get the pre-season work done injury-free," Martinez told "When you are young and your body is still developing, you can pick up little niggles and injuries which is frustrating for everyone not just for Conor.

Now, he has had a very good run of work and we are hoping he can stay fit because he's got really good low balance. He can turn at pace, he's very strong and his finishing has real quality.

We hope he can push on now and complete pre-season injury-free.

Martinez took satisfaction from the friendly as a whole, the first and only 11-v-11 game before the squad jets off to Singapore tomorrow for the Barclays Asia Trophy.

We've done a lot of volume work at Finch Farm this week and it has been great to see the attitude of the players," Martinez continued.

It doesn't matter who you are playing against, to get a clean sheet shows the concentration levels were very, very good and from a physical point of view, I thought it was a perfect workout.


Reader Comments (46)

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Ross Edwards
1 Posted 11/07/2015 at 21:01:19
Not good enough. He isn't a Premier League level player. A good game in a friendly against a League One side doesn't make him a contender to start in the Prem.

He's a Championship level player who won't get a kick this season other than a half an hour cameo in the League Cup.

We've seen the likes of Chris Long, Magaye Gueye and Francisco Junior make good impressions in pre season and then either never get a kick and get sent out on loan in Long's case, be absolutely terrible and end up at Millwall like Geuye or just rot in the Under 21s like Francisco Junior.

I guarantee that McAleny will not be at this club this time next year.

Andy Walker
2 Posted 11/07/2015 at 21:10:04
Good to beat Swindon, but it was Swindon.

Genuinely does anyone know what 'We've done a lot of volume work at Finch Farm this week and it has been great to see the attitude of the players," means? I'm afraid I don't.

Steve Moore
3 Posted 11/07/2015 at 21:12:53
Andy, the translation is "we have done a lot of work this week at Finch Farm" and "the attitude of the players has been great". English is not the guy's first language, so give him a break. A good start today.
Christopher Wallace
4 Posted 11/07/2015 at 21:16:21

Obviously a lot of fitness work. The pre-season fitness regime is dreaded at all levels of the sport. They are pros though, and get paid a lot of money to do these drills!

Duncan McDine
5 Posted 11/07/2015 at 21:27:53
I was at the game today and I agree with Roberto, Conor was absolutely brilliant. The other lad that caught my eye was our left back... I assume it was Galloway (as I'll admit I mix him up with Browning, who I believe played right-side centre-half).

The only negatives for me were Pienaar (played quite badly) and Besic's injury. Cleverley looked very slow but then got up for it and linked some great passing moves. Gerard did okay and looked a threat.

I also think Ross looked up for it and hungry again... Hope that continues!

Tony Abrahams
7 Posted 11/07/2015 at 21:27:29
Sounds like double, or even treble sessions to me. I disagree with your assessment of everyone hating pre-season, Christopher, especially at the top end of the sport.

It's different now, and the players cannot get too much out of shape anymore, not even during the summer. They've only been back 5 days and are already playing games, shows the players must have a certain programme to stick to, which keeps them fit.

Pre-season, pinging the ball, across the freshly cut wet grass. Good luck to McAleny this season, I hope the kid can make it at Everton,.

Keith Crawford
8 Posted 11/07/2015 at 22:01:56
I think 'volume work' means one or two of the players are in control of Roberto's iPod; they turn the levels up when everyone screams "Buy some players!" and turn the levels down when he's reading his Big Book of Superlatives.... Phenomenal!
Christopher Wallace
9 Posted 11/07/2015 at 22:19:59
I know most stay in shape, but most footballers will tell that they would much prefer doing ball work to running themselves into the ground.

That's what I've always experienced, even though I feel great after the fitness sessions!

Clarence Yurcan
10 Posted 11/07/2015 at 22:47:58
Swindon made the League One playoffs last season, not a patsy.
Ant Dwyer
11 Posted 11/07/2015 at 22:45:47
Conor McAleny could be a useful addition to our squad. From what I've heard, Henen is not Premier League ready and clearly Roberto didn't think Chris Long was last season either... so maybe McAleny is the answer.

After seeing Kone last season, I'm a million miles away from being convinced by him, but he had an awful injury so maybe a pre-season under his belt and some luck and he may add goals from the bench to our total too.

I must admit, the above talk on Kone is not what I've said previously... but, after a talk with a fellow Blue, he touched on the fact Kone has almost zero transfer value and may be a little diamond at times as an impact sub.

Who knows... but best of luck to any of the Blues who can make a difference this season, especially the young local lads like McAleny and Long.

Peter Laing
12 Posted 11/07/2015 at 23:38:54
Big season for McAleny, at 22 years old it's really now or never in the blue shirt of Everton. It seems an age since Moyes handed McAleny his debut and back then you could see he had the raw talent but, for whatever reason, his progress has seemingly stalled.

Osman made the grade late and has gone on to forge a good career at Everton and there is no reason why Conor cannot do the same. He will need games though and therein lies the problem -- will he get them ?

Mark Andersson
13 Posted 12/07/2015 at 04:30:30
Some good posts . As someone else said on another post, we should play to win every game.

Phil Sammon
14 Posted 12/07/2015 at 04:42:50

'but, after a talk with a fellow Blue, he touched on the fact Kone has almost zero transfer value and may be a little diamond at times'

Was that 'fellow blue' Roberto Martinez by any chance?

'Little diamond'...honestly!

Darren Hind
15 Posted 12/07/2015 at 06:43:35
Tony A

You are right of course. The days of players turning up 2 stone overweight after a summer on the piss have long since gone, but at long last I'm encourage by what Martinez has to say.

Results in the Premier League are often determined by the finest of margins; if our players were only a tiny fraction fitter at the beginning of last season, I believe we would have seen off both Leicester and Arsenal and could possibly have been looking at an entirely different season.

I never at any stage felt Martinez was giving 100% last pre-season, he was corner-cutting and we as a club paid a heavy price.

You can't start the season being too ready and if our Manager has sharpened his focus and is now paying attention to the smaller details, he will be well on his way to winning back the "moaners".

"Volume work" is okay by me. So is 100% effort to the Everton cause

Paul Tran
16 Posted 12/07/2015 at 07:28:46
We won a friendly. It only means something if by August, the manager knows what he's doing, the players are fit, ready, know what they're meant to be doing and have fully bought into it.

The fine margins and sense of purpose he got right in his first season have to come back. We won't know till the start of the season.

Keith Harrison
17 Posted 12/07/2015 at 08:25:46
Young Conor broke his leg horrifically while on loan at Brentford a couple of years ago, which is the sole reason for his progress seemingly stalling. It seems the young man may now be fully over that, and if true, brilliant, as he was very highly rated as an 18 yr old, when Moyes put him in against Bate Borisov.
Eugene Kearney
18 Posted 12/07/2015 at 08:58:46
Keith, #17, Thanks for that reminder to help put things into perspective.

I hope he gets to show what he can do during the pre-season.....

Chris Gould
19 Posted 12/07/2015 at 09:04:08
Let us not forget that Kane was a similar age when he finally broke through.
Bill Farmer
20 Posted 12/07/2015 at 09:41:29
Sorry to correct you, Chris, but Connor (b.12.8.92) is actually eleven moths older than Kane (b. 28.7.93) but, nonetheless, we all hope he is given the opportunity to break through and do as well as the Spurs man.
Darren Hind
21 Posted 12/07/2015 at 09:48:41
Is right Bill, but there are examples of strikers not breaking through until well into their twenties. Ian Wright and Les Ferdinand spring to mind. I've got a feeling Charlie Austin is a late developer too, wasn't he still at Bournemouth in his twenties?

If Conor McAleny is good enough, it's certainly not too late or him to make his mark

Bill Farmer
22 Posted 12/07/2015 at 10:31:11
And, Darren, we do have to remember that Leon Osman had to wait until well after his 23rd birthday before becoming a regular in the side.

All I hope is that Conor is given a real opportunity to establish a place rather than continuing to be about fourth choice for a striking role.

Pete Edwards
23 Posted 12/07/2015 at 11:34:49
Bill, considering Conor broke his leg, being 11 months older than Kane before he hopefully breaks through isn't too shabby. Although Kane had a pretty unbelievable debut season that will be hard for any other player to replicate.
Chris Gould
24 Posted 12/07/2015 at 11:38:31
Bill, I said similar age. 11 months is not too big a difference. Ian Wright is a great example of players breaking through late.

I think players are often thrown to the lower leagues too quickly, and when they don't set the world alight in those leagues, the decision is seen as being justified. But many quality players would struggle in the lower leagues where players are less skillful and possibly more physical.

I hope this lad can push on from here, but it will take a lot of hard work on his part, and a lot of patience and understanding on our part.

Ant Dwyer
25 Posted 12/07/2015 at 11:39:51
Phil (#14);

Haha... I must admit after reading over my post again, the words "a little diamond" may be a bit strong for Kone. My point is, although I don't like Kone, he is a better option for Premier League starts than any of our youngsters if Lukaku was to get an injury.

Yes, he's far from the required quality but he has scored double figures in the Premier League before now. That all said, I've rubbished Kone in the past as he's not good enough for Everton but we have limited funds and we desperately need a keeper, plus some genuine attacking creativity.

Ant Dwyer
27 Posted 12/07/2015 at 11:48:46
Also Phil (#14);

If I had it my way, Kone, Osman, Hibbert, Oviedo, Naismith, Pienaar, Howard, Robles, McGeady and possibly Gibson and Barry would all be out on their ears to be replaced by better younger fitter players.

Unfortunately the fact is we would be lucky to receive transfer fees £10-15M which would only buy us about one decent addition to our squad.

Lee Courtliff
28 Posted 12/07/2015 at 12:03:22
Even with injuries, 22-23 is very old these days to still be waiting to make an impact.

The game has changed since Ossie became a first team regular back in '04, let alone Ian Wright back in the late '80s. Pointless comparison.

Hopefully Conor will be the exception to the rule and prove to be a valuable addition to the squad.

Paul Tran
29 Posted 12/07/2015 at 12:01:27
Big thing is that he needs a run in the team to let us know if he's good enough. If he cuts it, we and especially Martinez, need to cool the hype. By the same token, let's let him make some mistakes. Can he be any worse than Kone or last season's Naismith?

I'm not banking on us bringing in a quality striker, so why not give him a chance?

John Malone
31 Posted 12/07/2015 at 14:17:38
McAleny's got bags of ability going forward but, in a similar way to when Ossie came through, he has to prove he can hold his own physically in the Premier League and be able to make an impact!
Geoffrey Risebrow
32 Posted 12/07/2015 at 14:21:41
I disagree, Lee. His terrible leg break will have severely hampered his development and he could still prove to be a Premier League player at nearly 23. I certainly hope so.

I was saying on another thread, that the last two Everton managers haven't played him and I wondered if it may be because he isn't good enough but I wasn't taking into account his broken leg. This pre-season is surely make or break though.

Good luck Conor!

Tony Abrahams
33 Posted 12/07/2015 at 14:29:09
Only a fool would not have us bang ready after last year, Darren. I just hope you're not right again, regarding our pre-season transfer policy.

I think, with the right additions, we could have a really good season... but, if we don't, then negativity and frustration will again be the order of the day.

Tom Bowers
34 Posted 12/07/2015 at 17:45:27
The good word on McAleny may be just what we all need.

Kone is an old head but in truth is just a late sub for Lukaku now and again so a younger, hungrier player may be just the tonic to assist or push Lukaku.

Dick Brady
35 Posted 12/07/2015 at 17:46:34
Conor McAleny is not a youngster. He'll be 23 by the time the season kicks off and the problem is he has nearly no first team football experience. It's actually quite shocking how he's got to be 23 with such a low number of first team appearances.

McAleny doesn't even boast any loan experience because all he has there is 3 appearances for Scunthorpe, 4 appearances for Brentford and just 7 last season for Cardiff. Moyes played him a couple times and Roberto only used him once so McAleny's entire career consists of just 17 appearances, most of them were as a substitute.

I'm sorry but the club has let McAleny down. Why hasn't he been given more chances? Why hasn't he been sent on loan to play a full season in the lower leagues?

I'll never understand why Roberto doesn't give youngsters more chances. Over the course of the last two seasons, there have been games where Everton have been leading comfortably by a couple of goals, why not bring McAleny on for the final 10-15 minutes? Let the lad get some game time under his belt.

But that didn't happen and now McAleny is a 23-year-old with no experience. There are teenagers in the Premier League who have more experience than McAleny.

Michael Kenrick
36 Posted 12/07/2015 at 18:20:08
Dick, the truth is I don't think he's really impressed anyone before, when he's been given those chances. Certainly not like he did yesterday... nowhere near.

Plus the bad leg-break probably set him back by at least a year... maybe two. So think of him as being only 21 rather than 23. And there's no set rule on exactly how fast players develop.

Young players have to grab their chances with both hands and really make an impression on those rare occasions they get selected. But, even then, with Roberto, the senior player he's replaced will always have priority and the risk simply will not be taken. That's really the mistake being made, I think.

Trevor Peers
37 Posted 12/07/2015 at 18:22:57
Dick, the lad looked promising, but throwing him in against top class Premier League performers might be expecting too much, which is why we need to invest £12 million in a proven creative midfielder.

Hopefully there's still time...

Raymond Fox
38 Posted 12/07/2015 at 19:04:07
The biggest barrier for young players getting experience in the Premier League is that managers are under that much pressure to succeed that they're much more likely to go with the experienced player.

I don't think we can criticise Martinez for not taking chances though; he's picked Barkley, Stones and to a lesser extent Garbutt in the last two seasons. Barkley was a big disappointment to me last season I must say; he needs to impress this season.

We're three £20m class players short of a serious team now: without them we're looking at 7th-10th place once more.

Dick Brady
39 Posted 12/07/2015 at 19:55:54
But the point is McAleny has not had any chances to impress. He's played 3 times for Everton and only one of those times was under Roberto Martinez.

I'm not suggesting we throw players in the deep end but if Everton are coasting 2-0 or 3-1 up then why not give the likes of McAleny, Browning or Grant 10 minutes at the end? I mean sure if we are losing and need a game changer then use Osman, Pienaar or Kone as a substitute but, if we are coasting to an easy victory, then bring on a kid.

Over the past two season's Roberto could quite easily have given McAleny 15 or even 20 cameo appearances. And that would have given McAleny some experience at least, better than turning 23 with only 3 appearances to your name.

David Greenwood
40 Posted 12/07/2015 at 20:15:00
Have we been coasting in 15-20 games in the last two years Dick at 2-0 or 3-1 up? Not sure we have. And how could RM pick him when he has been injured for a large part of the last two seasons?
Dean Adams
41 Posted 12/07/2015 at 20:08:00
It looked like both KM and Rom were happy with McAleny yesterday and the encouragement they were giving him (and the goal) will be worth far more than a few cameos. Belief is huge and his confidence will be riding high.

When the better players in your team are backing you you have a real chance. When they don't... well, just ask Baines when he was on England duty; no passes and you look poor!!

John Crawley
42 Posted 12/07/2015 at 20:16:16
Raymond you say "The biggest barrier for young players getting experience in the Premier League is that managers are under that much pressure to succeed that their much more likely to go with the experienced player." To a large extent, I agree with you, but surely this doesn't apply to any Everton manager under Kenwright!!

Neither Moyes nor Martinez had/has any excuse for not blooding more youngsters. Dick is correct in what he says above, an example would be Browning who impressed in a couple of cameo appearances as sub, was he given any more? No but he should and could have. We've potentially got the best crop of youngsters in 30 years, I hope they'll get chances under Martinez but I'm doubtful.

Michael Kenrick
43 Posted 12/07/2015 at 20:29:21
This is always a difficult issue. Yet, with seven subs, you would think we could afford to always have perhaps two youngsters on the bench, to provide such opportunities.

There is some validity to Dick's concern, although he wasn't saying it last season about McAleny, so there's really a little too much wisdom in hindsight for me, based on a great performance yesterday. He got to sit unused on the bench in just two senior games last season: West Ham and West Brom in January. Neither of which we were comfortable in.

Browning sat out 8 games as an unused sub, coming on in just two. A strong case was made for him to have played a lot more games.

Garbutt sat out an incredible 21 games as an unused sub, called upon just once from the bench. At least he got to play six full games...

Ledson was the only other young player, just 1 game unused on the bench. It's just not Martinez's style. He doesn't want to take the risk.

Dick Brady
44 Posted 12/07/2015 at 21:26:41
Michael, I am making a case that McAleny should have been used more but in actuality I don't think he's good enough. I expect he'll be sold to the lower leagues sooner rather than later.

But my point about youngsters not being given a chance is valid. For example Barry has been used as a substitute more times then Browning and Ledson put together. What's the point of that?

Far too often Roberto uses experienced players as substitutes, we do coast to victories sometimes and certainly last season we had a run of games with nothing to play for, but still Roberto used the likes of Kone, Osman, Pienaar and McGeady as substitutes while Ledson, Browning, Grant, McAleny and even Garbutt looked on from the sidelines.

I don't think McAleny is going to make the grade but I do have hopes for the likes of Ledson, Browning, Galloway, Kenny, Pennington, Dowell, Duffus, Grant and Byrne. But Roberto needs to start involving them more. One cameo in a Carling Cup fixture per season is pointless.

That certainly hasn't helped Lundstram and McAleny who are now 21 and 23 and have nearly zero first team experience.

Mick Howard
45 Posted 12/07/2015 at 22:56:13
Two good signings, not got rid of anyone we don't want to (yet) and off to a flyer winning 4-0. Seems a million times better than last year already and we are going to get to see Big Dunc pulling a shirt on. I've started to believe in Santa again. COYB. Can't wait for Watford.
Victor Yu
46 Posted 13/07/2015 at 03:06:53
Loan him to a Championship team to see if he dominates. I am still not convinced he is good enough to make an impact in the Premier League yet (ie, I believe he is at a level similar to Robert Earnshaw etc).
Ian Jones
49 Posted 14/07/2015 at 09:26:19
The earlier comments about the number of times players sit on the bench without getting a game is incredible. It's only when you see these kind of stats that you could argue against the 7 subs system. What's the point?

Go back to 3 including a goalie. I assume the idea for scrapping reserve team football was due to costs involved in running teams and the competition as a whole. Perhaps with all Sky money available, now would be a good time to bring it back. It would at least offer players a chance to play/ recover from injuries etc.

Bill Farmer
51 Posted 14/07/2015 at 09:40:26
McAleny's performance against lowly Swindon may, of course, be indicative of the level at which he is comfortable. Much as I want him and the other hopefuls to be given greater opportunities at first team level, the Premier League is hardly an easy nursery for the inexperienced.

I regret to say it but their time will be better spent honing their skills in the Championship than warming their bums in the Premier League.

Paul Cherrington
52 Posted 14/07/2015 at 11:22:49
The comments about the young players now not being given a chance to gain experience is a valid one, I think. McAleny may not have played much but it may not be cos he's a bad player but that managers won't give him a fair crack of the whip. It's something that needs addressing nationally really as it happens at most Premier League clubs.

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