Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 3 September 2014

Martinez praise for Deulofeu

Gerard Deulofeu shined in Everton's loss at Fulham on Tuesday

Roberto Martinez has assured Gerard Deulofeu he will have a big part to play in Everton's season.

Everton fans were overjoyed when their club announced that they had signed Deulofeu on a season-long loan from Barcelona, but they have only seen fleeting glimpses of the winger since.

Deulofeu has made two very brief substitute appearances in the Barclays Premier League, but the Spaniard terrorised Fulham's defence on Tuesday night in the Capital One Cup with his trickery and pace.

Martinez wanted to use the competition to ease Deulofeu in to the English game, but with Everton now out following their 2-1 defeat to the Cottagers, the teenager will have to fight with the likes of Kevin Mirallas and Ross Barkley for a place in the Toffees' Premier League side.

Martinez had previously admitted Deulofeu was frustrated at his lack of game time so far in England, but the Everton manager insists the Spain Under-21 star will get his chance to shine in the Premier League once he has fully adapted to his new surroundings.

"There's a big gap in terms of physicality between the English and Spanish leagues - it's a lot quicker here and there is a lot more contact, so for players who are artists with the ball like Gerard there will always be a period of adaptation," Martinez said.

"Gerard is doing that very well. He is making the difference when he is on the pitch. He is learning bit by bit, he is very quick and I am sure that in the next few months Gerard will play a very big part in this team."

Deulofeu is seen as one of the brightest prospects in Spain having come through the club's famed La Masia academy.

Last season Deulofeu scored 18 goals in 33 appearances for Barcelona B, who play in Spain's second tier.

The Spaniard was one of eight changes made by Martinez for Tuesday's game in west London, which Everton lost after goals from Dimitar Berbatov and Darren Bent.

Steven Naismith handed the Merseysiders the lead and Everton should have killed the game off from there, but they wasted numerous chances.

Still, Martinez was happy with the performance, conceding that a few of the players on show at Craven Cottage may have worked their way in to the starting XI for Monday's game against Newcastle.

"It was a performance that showed we have players who are able to help the team to achieve our aims," Martinez added.

"I am satisfied with the performance and it has given me much to think about for the next few weeks.

"We will take a lot of information from the game. Some of the players look really sharp and will benefit from it."

Martinez was delighted to see midfielder Darron Gibson make his return after suffering a serious knee injury during pre-season.

"I thought it was important for Darron Gibson to get some playing time after so long away," Martinez said.

"We need that competition and that know-how. He is a vital player for us so it was great to see him get that time on the pitch and it will be very beneficial for him."

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