Belfast Telegraph

Martinez planning for the long-term

By Carl Markham

Everton manager Roberto Martinez begins his second season with a long-term plan, not only to win trophies but also lay the foundations for a successful future.

One of the Spaniard's key words during the summer was "stability" and that has been achieved by tying down pivotal figures to lengthy deals.

Martinez himself agreed a new five-year contract in June – an example followed by defenders Seamus Coleman, after arguably his best season for the Toffees, and John Stones while England midfielder Ross Barkley signed for four more years.

Last season's significant loan stars Romelu Lukaku and Gareth Barry signed permanently for five and three years respectively and, back in January, England left-back Leighton Baines ended speculation about his future with a four-year deal.

That work behind the scenes has guaranteed Martinez a core group of quality players he can expect to rely on for the future.

It gives him a solid platform on which to build on an impressive maiden season at Goodison Park which saw them finish fifth.

But he is also planning for the longer term with improvements to the club's academy.

"You need to manage the club as if you are going to be here for the next 100 years and you need to make decisions in the younger age groups where you develop them even if you are not going to see them – although the club will eventually get the benefit," said Martinez.

"Whatever happens with the manager, for good or bad reasons, you want to have the long-term continuity and vision that is shared by everyone."

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