Martinez: Hearts win was a “very positive exercise”

, 26 July, 55comments  |  Jump to most recent

Roberto Martinez says that he was really pleased with the manner of his side's 3-1 friendly win over Heart of Midlothian, describing it as a valuable exercise. He also reiterated that he remains on the lookout for two more players between now and the end of August.

"[It was] a very valuable time for the players. 90 minutes at this stage of pre-season is important," Martinez told Sky Sports. "We got that. We got players back from injury like Bryan Oviedo and Leighton Baines and they looked really sharp. In every aspect, it's been a very positive exercise.

The manager acknowledged Romelu Lukaku's hat-trick and the threat posed by the dual strike-force of the Belgian and Arouna Kone but he was pleased with the game as a whole from his team's perspective.

"I thought the whole performance was very well balanced. I thought defensively, apart from the lapses in concentration from the first dead-ball situation, we were very strong and that's what pleases you in a game like this. I thought the togetherness of the team was quite significant."

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Asked if he was happy with the current state of his squad, Martinez restated his desire to bring in at least two players before the transfer deadline.

"We always try to look for new arrivals. I do feel that we are probably looking for two positions to try to strengthen but it is a good period to assess the younger players. It's always important, in the way we work at our football club, that we assess our youngsters before we make major decisions. I've been very impressed with their attitude and their levels but we'll keep working up to the deadline to be we are as strong as we can be in the squad."

We always try to look for new arrivals ... Maybe we need another new face at centre half and then there's another position where we are still lightweight. We will wait as long as we can to select the person we want.

Roberto Martinez

He rejected any assertion that any new signings would be dependent on players departing, however. "No, not at all," the Catalan insisted. "We've been working really hard in the last two seasons [to have consistency in our group] and we have a very good balance in experience and young talent that already have big roles in the team. What we want to do is maintain that and, if anything, to add extra strength to strong core of players that we already have."

Martinez was quoted separately by The Scotsman where he talked more specifically about the need for reinforcements at centre half and his belief that one or two of his young players in that position – most likely Brendan Galloway and Tyias Browning – are probably ready to become regular members of the first team.

He was less clear on the second area of the team he is looking to address – the belief and hope is that it is the much-vaunted "no.10" role he stated at the beginning of the summer was a key position, albeit one for whom his target had already been chosen. Curiously, far from expressing any urgency with the season so close, he indicated that was the acquisition that might go to the wire.

"Maybe we need another new face at centre half," he said, " and then there's another position where we are still lightweight. We will wait as long as we can to select the person we want."

While he weighs up those potential additions to the team, the boss has been using the pre-season to assess his existing players for readiness to kick off the season opener against Watford in less than a fortnight's time. He used 16 players against Hearts, some of whom featured for the whole 90 minutes, and Martinez admitted that while he already has an idea of the starting XI he would select for that match, nothing is set in stone.

“If I’m honest, I told the players I want to leave it open to competition and moments of form,” Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.

“I have my preferred options in how I would play Watford now but the reality is that personnel is down to the application and moments of form of the players and that will go right down to the final game of preparation against Villarreal and every action is going to matter.”

“I have been very impressed with the way Tom Cleverley has adapted to the group, I must admit. It has been a smooth transition.

“Leon Osman, straight away, is getting to a very good level and every body knows about the partnership of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy.

“Ross Barkley is the freshest that I have seen him and I am looking forward to seeing him play on Tuesday and the way we want to play, midfield is a very important area and I feel now we have the options we are going to need during the season."


Reader Comments (55)

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Andy Peers
1 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:36:01
"and Martinez admitted that while he already has an idea of the starting XI he would select for that match, nothing is set in stone" Barry and Howard for sure, set in stone regardless of form.

James Ridley
2 Posted 27/07/2015 at 01:01:59
Assess the youngsters?? Surely he knows if they are capable or not? Couple of pre season games doesn't make our break their careers! Or does it?

The youngish lad Conor played well for one half against Swindon haven't seen him since that. Does that mean he's been assessed or he hasn't made the grade?

If we need players get them in early and get them playing. Going to leave it to last minute, pay through the roof and not get the players we want. I know it's not as simple as that but god it's frustrating.

Chris James
3 Posted 27/07/2015 at 01:07:55
"Every body knows about the partnership of Gareth Barry and James McCarthy." Sadly, this is true:

i) Every other Premier League manager has sussed out how to combat it.
ii) Every Everton fan realises that playing two defensive midfielders reduces our attacking options.
iii) Everyone watching Barry realises he’s coming to the end of his career as a Premier League midfield player and whilst he still has a good eye, his mobility is suspect.

I’m actually relatively positive about the coming season, provided we get in some more attacking creativity in midfield/up front (which I think we will) and can hang onto the players who are being linked away e.g. Stones, Mirallas, McCarthy (which I’m less confident of, but isn’t impossible).

Craig Fletcher
5 Posted 27/07/2015 at 01:09:36
Keep the squad together, and if the two arrivals are a centre back and the AM we've been craving, I'd be happy.

While it's tempting to be in for another striker, I'd like to see McAleny being given his chance this season.

Eugene Ruane
6 Posted 27/07/2015 at 01:16:44
I read..

"I have my preferred options in how I would play Watford now but the reality is that personnel is down to the application and moments of form of the players and that will go right down to the final game of preparation against Villarreal and every action is going to matter."

..and think yes that all makes perfect sense, until you throw in the distraction of Rooney/Big Dunc.

I’m all for testimonials as they raise money for charity and I have no problem at all with Rooney in a blue shirt, however it will be strong opposition and I just feel the testimonial thing should have been a separate ’fun’ event/game (separate from proper friendlies - specially ones a week before we kick off)

It’s saying ’we’re taking the game very seriously.....but not too seriously like’

Gerry Morrison
7 Posted 27/07/2015 at 04:22:39
I will be surprised if Rooney plays more than a few minutes.
Duncan McDine
8 Posted 27/07/2015 at 07:49:22
I was impressed with Cleverly against Swindon, but haven’t seen any more pre-season action since then. Anyone share RM’s opinion that he played well yesterday? (And in what MF position... CM or No 10?)
Jim Bennings
9 Posted 27/07/2015 at 08:00:40
"Everybody knows about the partnership of McCarthy and Barry"?

Sure they do Bobby! They know that it took 7 months for you to encourage one of them to cross the halfway line last season.

I had a bit of spare time over the weekend and watched the DVD of the 2007-08 Season Review. I tell you what: anyone who thinks Martinez's football was more productive than Moyes's just needs to watch that DVD. We actually did play some phenomenal football that involved passing, movement, getting loads of men in the box and a midfield of Pienaar, Arteta, Cahill and later Fernandes all "feeding the Yak so he will score".

The one biggest noticeable difference though was the pace that we played the games at; none of this mind-numbing passing around the back at a snail's pace. We could play passing football when needed but, in the main, it was productive and exciting. No wonder the atmosphere was rocking the foundations at Goodison Park that night against Fiorentina.

The biggest task Martinez faces is getting the fans more interested and more involved at Goodison this new season. Too many home games last term felt like you were just there to escape going clothes shopping with your missus.

We need to get that enjoyment back from watching Everton FC at Goodison in particular.

Sam Hoare
10 Posted 27/07/2015 at 08:06:36
Presumably more of the young players will start on Tuesday and the likes of Barkley, McAleny and Cleverley will get starts.

I very much hope that McCarthy - Cleverley is going to be our first choice midfield partnership. Who plays AMC is a harder question and will depend largely on the form of young Mr Barkley and who else if anyone we bring in.

I am feeling relatively confident and our loss against Arsenal has been put in some perspective by their thumping of Lyon. They look a very impressive team and one likely to challenge Chelsea this season.

Colin Glassar
11 Posted 27/07/2015 at 08:34:04
Sounds like Galloway will stay and be part of the first team squad this season and Browning will go out on loan. Like you, Sam, I hope it’s a McCarthy - Cleverley MF partnership this season. Didn’t Barry say he didn’t expect to play so many games last season?
Stephen Brown
12 Posted 27/07/2015 at 08:40:55
Eugene (#5), spot on.

I’m looking forward to Big Dunc, Rooney etc but I think that should have been this weekend with another high class friendly scheduled for first weekend of August. I hope we are not 2-0 v Watford then run out of gas for a 2-2!

Bill Farmer
13 Posted 27/07/2015 at 08:59:56
I have a strong suspicion that we shall see Lennon come in as a part of a Spurs deal for McCarthy and Januzaj arriving on loan as Stones goes to Man Utd who will be the highest bidder.

Oh,and I think Mirallas will be another gonner... probably after the season starts.

Jon Withey
14 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:02:06
I thought Cleverley was good, both on passing and a nice drive into the box.

Baines was class.

Good to see Oviedo back; shame Gibson, Pienaar and Del are crocked.

Peter McHugh
15 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:08:08
Bill (#11), you’re like the nemesis to Martinez’s positivity. You may be right but I hope you’re wrong.

I can’t see Stones going anywhere as we can’t afford to let him go; Jags would be our only centre back who’s played Premier League football there.

Barry was frustrating to watch most of last season but was equally flogged to death. He will surely play once a week maximum this season and be rotated too.

I expect us to sign central defensive cover and to get this Number 10 -- although I have no idea who either will be and both are extremely important.

Sadly I expect our form to mirror that of a youngster being Barkley. If he blows the Premier League away, we will be a force to be reckoned with... but, if not, we will be battling for top 10 like last season.

Colin Glassar
16 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:08:43
Blimey Bill, do you work for the Daily Mirror by any chance? Not even super spy, Darren Lewis has gone that far, ie, dismantling our first team.

McCarthy, Stones and Mirallas for Lennon, Januzaj and who? Jonny Evans, I presume? Brilliant!!

Bill Farmer
17 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:18:11
I suspect Evans will be coming in anyway, Colin, although I'm no great fan of his. I do think Roberto is working hard to keep the squad together but may not be getting the support internally that he might have expected.

Anyway, I'm putting the crystal ball away for now to concentrate on my 'positivity issues!'

Dave Lynch
18 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:23:10
Stones has gone, trust me. It’s just a matter of Chelski or another club coming in with the right money.

I reckon it will happen a few days before the start of the season, typical Everton style...

Colin Glassar
19 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:30:09
Well I hope you're wrong Bill but with EFC you just never know what's going to happen.
Greg Mckerracher
20 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:32:55 is saying that Van Gaal's "secret striker" is Romulu Lukaku. Surely not.
Karl Parsons
21 Posted 27/07/2015 at 09:39:59
The rhetoric from the Manager has started already. I cannot stand it when he speaks. Full of adjectives with little real substance.

I don’t believe the board are that fussed too as they haven’t handed the man any war chest. I fear for the season ahead teammates.

Bill Farmer
22 Posted 27/07/2015 at 10:02:12
VDG was talking 'galactico' this morning. Can't see how that fits Our Rom, can you?
George McKane
23 Posted 27/07/2015 at 10:27:23
Regarding rhetoric -- what do you want? The Manager to say nothing or speak as he does?

Maybe he should say something really profound that will be quoted for years -- like Shankly’s stupid quote about "life and death, football's more important than that". What an absolute load of drivel.

Or maybe we just have to accept that football news and views is a 24-hour "phenomenon" and our voyeuristic society has to be satiated.

Or just maybe we should use our own nous to sift through all the crap and just agree or disagree or believe or disbelieve what we want.

I am only really interested in what happens on the pitch -- all of this is just summer nothingness.

Up The Blues.

Brent Stephens
24 Posted 27/07/2015 at 10:27:36
Karl (#19), I’m no great fan of Roberto, either as manager or as a communicator, but I see little if anything in that piece to have a go at. Unless we want him to be all negative -- only to fall foul of Lyndon’s reasonable plea about negativity and be banned from TW (now there’s a thought).
Andrew Ellams
25 Posted 27/07/2015 at 10:30:03
Agree with Bill here. I think Man Utd’s super striker is a mega star, but I do like the way they are playing their cards close to their chests in case it doesn’t come off.

After Phillip Lahms’s comments a few days ago, don’t write of Thomas Muller.

Ray Roche
26 Posted 27/07/2015 at 10:51:08
Colin Glassar, you stated that Stones would be leaving and Sergi Roberto would be coming in... are you still as confident that that will happen?
Neil Monaghan
27 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:04:54
I mentioned on the live forum during yesterdays game, after Lukaku scored his hat trick that the press would try and sell him tomorrow.... Funnily enough:

David Chait
28 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:19:01
That would be too funny... now all the chaps saying Lukaku is rubbish will be putting £50m value on him!
Linda Morrison
29 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:34:53
I feel a bit sorry for Martinez. He is going one step forward and two steps back. He is stuck between a rock and a hard place as the longer he drags out the Stones/McCarthy saga, the less time there is to get other players in to fill the gaps.

Our squad is too small now, we are carrying too many players who we can’t rely on and that is not their fault. Gibson, Pienaar and Hibbert I don’t even include as they may appear a few times now and again.

He needs to bite the bullet now, contact Chelsea and tell them they can have Stones, who wants to go, for £50 million but they need to do so by end of this month or no deal. This will let him get others in, at least two of which need to be defenders.

Stones is work in progress, and should look at his own development but he wants to go and we can’t offer him what Chelsea can and we must accept it. We were lucky that Phil chose to stay with the club when he could have gone to Arsenal for more money and trophies.

This will be a continuing theme I am afraid unless there is some control, proper control over players' contracts. At present they may as well be written on chip paper as they count for nowt!

David Hallwood
30 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:35:30
Firstly, the Lukaku to Man U rumours have been around for at least a month. Secondly the ’source’ is Goal.Com & the Daily Star as a result of an instagram tweet from Depay, who I’m led to believe is not part of the backroom staff and/or transfer policy.

And finally it’s the Star & Goal.Com FFS....The Star & Goal.Com both of which are just short (and only just) of "B52 found on the moon" type of scoops.

Onto the game, I didn’t watch it but by all accounts we played well but pre-season is all about fitness so don’t read anything into it. Finally, finally -- Nothing set in stone; or should that be nothing set for Stones, get onto that Goal.Com.

Dave Abrahams
31 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:42:32
Ray (24), I think Colin stated that Stones would be staying.
Harold Matthews
32 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:52:44
We need a tough strong experienced centre back. Stones has been rushed through too early and another season of Stones and Jags trying to defend like Jags and Distin will be bad for my health. The lad has no positional discipline, as demonstrated by the first Arsenal goal when he went for a walk. Something he does on a regular basis. Needs more experience away from our first team, as demonstrated by his inability to deal with a bouncing ball against Hearts. What was that slow motion overhead kick all about? Slow motion kick the bloke in the head. £30M? Jeeps. The world's gone mad.

Every single player in a Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Chelsea, Atletico Madrid and Arsenal shirt, is as busy as McCarthy and Cleverley off the ball. No half asleep strolling, waiting for a pass. Lukaku, Mirallis and Barkley would be shoved under their bench. Definitely not on it. Rooney, Tevez, Costa, Iniesta and Oscar will fight to win the ball back all day long. They don't need motivating. They're proper footballers. They love it. Passengers, Mr Martinez, are not allowed on the Royal Blue bus.

I will not attempt to knock Howard and Robles, two very good keepers but watching Courtois and Petr Cech has left me a bit depressed. These guys are almost perfect. Incidentally, David James proved he was an idiot by suggesting that Chelsea came out best in the Cech / Arsenal deal.

Weighing up our prospects is well nigh impossible with all the rumours flying about. If we hang on to our best players we should do okay but it won't be easy. Let's hope there are a few nice surprises in store.

Bill Farmer
33 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:52:50
It's all quite flattering, in a way. Last year, every club was after Southampton's players and about five left -- along with their manager. The new guy proved to be a gem and snapped up players who actually improved the side.

So, providing Martinez has as much nouse -- and money -- it doesn't necessarily matter if a few ship out. That's a big IF, of course.

Ray Roche
34 Posted 27/07/2015 at 11:57:07

Yes Dave but that was a few days ago. We’ve all passed a lot of water since then so it’s anybodies guess. If you believe the red tops, he’s already gone. I was more interested in whether Sergio Roberto would be coming in. We need a playmaker.

Tom Bowers
35 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:09:08
It’s fascinating to listen to RM but he is very puzzling also.

I would have liked to have seen more of McAleny and Galloway but he seems to want to stick with the old pros such as Kone, Barry, Osman and the like that, to be honest, will not change anything from last season.

If he does bring in two more players, we can only hope they will be class acts that are ready to slot right in.

Watford look like they will have a side of mostly new faces so you know they will mean business when the season starts.

Col Wills
36 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:13:28
I watched Sergio Roberto over the weekend, he looks like a top player, constantly looking for the forward pass, chips over the defenders, thru balls, shots on target.

If he’s available, and fancies a bit of Mersyside "Sur Le Mer", I’d have him.

Andrew Ellams
37 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:29:52
I’m concerned that he has started the Barry and McCarthy partnership in all the friendlies so far, but we do seem to playing a faster version of the game if not quite like two years ago just yet.

There will be more transfer activity in the next 5 weeks, we just need to pray the squad is strengthened by it all.

Tony Abrahams
39 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:38:03
Not sure about your goalkeepers, Harold, but I enjoyed the rest of that post.

Martinez, has got a good enough philosophy for me, he just hasn’t got enough busy footballers to implement it.

Mark Boulle
40 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:48:51
In the usual spirit of picking apart every word RM says, the words "we will wait as long as we can to select the person we want" are rather concerning. Of course, he tries to make it sound positive -- it is anything but.

Presumably, the real reason for saying this is because RM knows that his hands are tied, as usual and to my immense frustration, until we either sell somebody or until the Sky money rolls in. But waiting until the last moment to get new signings in has been proven in the past to be a foolhardy strategy!

We have already missed out on central defensive targets this Summer due to our customary dithering and the way we’re carrying on we will either be left short-handed as usual or signing sub-standard alternatives in desperation. I beg the editors’ pardon for shouting, but GET ON WITH IT!!

Why can we not spend against the known commodity of the incoming Sky money?! Other clubs appear to be merrily doing just that.

We need a complete squad in advance of the big kick off, not three weeks after that.

Ray Roche
42 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:54:55
Good post, Harold, and I heard the comment by that catwalk clown James... what a fool.

You’re right about needing another CB, Distin will be missed and unless one of the young lads can step up efficiently, then we’re stuffed if we have any injuries.

Our play last season was embarrassingly slow and we must increase the tempo if we are to improve on our performances.

Raymond Fox
43 Posted 27/07/2015 at 12:55:37
We do need a big strong centre back, the Hearts goal again showed the reason why. We had the goal scorer marked okay, there were three players in front of him, but none got into the air, they were glued to the pitch! Our captain has played well but he’s not great when dealing with crosses.

Again, like Harold points out, we are in danger of over estimating Stones, especially in defence; he might become a top player in time but he’s not great in defence yet. If this is our first choice defence we're going to concede plenty of soft goals in the air again!

David Chait
44 Posted 27/07/2015 at 13:20:24
Am I the only one who used to get cold sweats thinking about the Distin - Jags partnership? I don't think Jags and Stones are any worse at all. But clearly they were at time hazardous so maybe we are overestimating them.
Dan Parker
45 Posted 27/07/2015 at 14:22:41
A striker and a right-back? Coleman needs a bit of competition there as Hibbo approaches retirement!
Sam Bull
47 Posted 27/07/2015 at 15:11:11
Any ball played onto the box, especially in the area, should be meat and drink for Howard... but he never moves from his line.
James Martin
48 Posted 27/07/2015 at 15:53:29
What worries me is that if you add Roberto’s comments to his pre-season line up and you can see the Barry - McCarthy partnership is still his first choice midfield.

I don’t see after last season how he still thinks this is a good idea. Gibson, Barkley or Cleverley have to be one of the deep lying two to give the team some forward momentum in matches.

Jay Harris
49 Posted 27/07/2015 at 16:13:55
Fellaini did the same job as McCarthy. Harried players, gave clumsy fouls away etc, but the difference is he linked up play and got into the opposition box regularly and scored goals.

So for £13 million we got half the player Fellaini was and this is the problem when letting your top players go.

If you can only play 11 at one time, you need to put out your strongest team. Good tactics and team spirit will only get you so far. Class players make the difference to enable you to break the glass ceiling.

John Keating
50 Posted 27/07/2015 at 16:14:24
Stones just looked class yesterday. I know it sounds daft, maybe it’s being brought up with watching Brian Labone, but he just looks an "Everton" player, a future Captain and leader.

If we could get Mirallas to play every game like he did yesterday, he would be irreplaceable.

I was made up to see 2 strikers start but Kone is well off the pace and against top defenders a complete waste of time. A new striker is imperative together with a central defender.

As soon as Hearts got their corner you just new the outcome. They took their time taking it and we had loads of time to sort things out but when you saw the big centre half being picked up by Baines and Osman, you just knew the outcome. If we are not going to practise defending set pieces then it is even more important we get a dominant goalie, sadly Howard is not one.

We definitely caused Hearts more problems when Naismith came on.

Good to see another young lad given a run and he did quite well in the short time he was on.

Baines misses Pienaar big time and it would be interesting to see Oviedo playing wide left in front of Baines.

We really have to sort this Stones, McCarthy shit out asap.

Colin Williams
51 Posted 27/07/2015 at 16:35:54
Never heard so much "rubbish" about Stones or our back line (excluding Howard who is finished). Like I said many times before... worry more about us creating chances and scoring goals. Top coaches love Stones because this type of centre-halves are the... future of our game! These big awkward players who struggle to keep their balance never mind "play the game" are a thing of the past.

Top European teams are all looking for clones like Stones. This guy is top draw!... Yes, he’ll make a mistake or two (very few) but show me a player/experienced or not, who never does!

Just enjoy this lad while it lasts because every top European club who needs a centre half in the near future will be knocking on Bill’s door. Give the lad a break.

Paul Thompson
52 Posted 27/07/2015 at 17:09:44
I was sitting amongst Heart’s fans. They really enjoyed the first 15 minutes when it looked as if they would score from every corner. I heard one say "They’re not very big at the back, are they?" It’s not so much 'big' as dominating and attacking the ball. That said, they did improve in that respect and Stones looked good otherwise.

The gap between the English and Scottish Premier Leagues was painfully obvious. After that initial flurry, Hearts barely saw the ball and when they got it they either couldn’t control it or didn’t know what to do with it. We did but no English Premier League side will give us that amount of time on the ball.

John Daley
53 Posted 27/07/2015 at 17:27:24

Whist I agree, Fellaini used to link-up play, get in and around the box, as well as contributing his fair share of goals, it’s slightly unfair to contrast him with McCarthy as it’s not really a like-for-like comparison.

Fellaini usually made that kind of impact when played as a secondary striker or out-and-out target man. When asked to remain disciplined, sit in front of the back four and stifle opposition play, the attacking side of his game obviously suffered as a result. Although, certainly, he still represented a major threat from set-pieces, no matter what his starting position, and that added height and aggression is something sorely missing throughout the side at the moment.

If Fellaini was twice the player McCarthy is, then it’s only because he was capable of performing multiple roles.

Raymond Fox
54 Posted 27/07/2015 at 17:54:56
It's been mentioned before recently, but last season 7 teams scored more than us and 10 teams conceded more goals.

Liverpool were 1 of the 7 to score more, by only 4 goals after all the money they threw at the team. Okay, Sturridge was crocked all season which affected them.

At the end of the day, it depends I suppose where you expect us to finish, taking into account where we are in the spending league.

Mike Noakes
55 Posted 27/07/2015 at 18:02:35
Glad to see someone else would like to see Oviedo given a run in the Stevie P role.
Jay Harris
56 Posted 27/07/2015 at 18:03:31
John, that is my point.

Fellaini is a true box-to-box midfield player who we have not replaced.

McCarthy, for all his work rate, seems to do most of his work from side to side. Now whether that is tactical or not is open to debate but I really believe that we need a box-to-box goalscoring midfield player and at this time we don't have one.

I disagree with all the supporters saying we just need a creative midfield; we don't. We have enough creativity with two attacking full backs and two wingers. We just need someone in the middle of the park who can hit the onion bag and not Row Z.

Paul Jeronovich
58 Posted 27/07/2015 at 19:55:28
I hope Barkley shows good form from the off this season. It would be great to see him run with ball at defenders and create space and chances for himself and the team.

We all know last season was a write-off but it may also be him thinking he only has to turn up for matches without putting a shift in.

A few more goals like the one against Man City will do for me. Come on, Ross!!

Andy Walker
59 Posted 27/07/2015 at 20:38:13
Jim #8. I totally agree with you. The football under Moyes was way more entertaining than the boring, mostly ineffective and predictable dross served up last season by a team guided by a manager wearing the emperer's new clothes.

We are so ponderous now the biggest threat we offer is sending the opposition's defence to sleep! Maybe this is the master plan.

Harold Matthews
62 Posted 27/07/2015 at 00:18:01
Jay, given the right instructions, I believe Cleverley could do a Lampard type job. He definitely knows how to time runs into the box and put the ball away, as demonstrated late on at Aston Villa. I also have to go with the John Daley suggestion that we need to add height and aggression.

Class will only get you so far. Bobby Moore, Pele, Maradona, Beckenbauer, Best, Van Basten, Cruyff and Zidane were all as hard as nails. Class up to their eyeballs but tough aggressive fighters with a never-say-die attitude.

Everton don’t have people of that calibre but, judging by the mind-boggling signings of our rivals, we’ll need fit, fast, wide awake players who will fight tooth and nail for every ball. The Premier League, awash with money, is no longer a walk in the park for a top ten finish. It has become a high level 100-mph tactical battle zone with no room for faint hearts. No room for lazy passengers.

Pleased to have Oviedo, Galloway and Besic on deck, ready for action. Three no-nonsense characters with more than a little skill, waiting their chance to shine. Unfortunately, one or two starters are without competition and that is a risk we should not take.

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