Belfast Telegraph

Martinez denies Marshall rumours

Everton boss Roberto Martinez is busy looking for a new goalkeeper but has played down talk linking him with Cardiff's David Marshall - and emphasised that neither Samuel Eto'o nor Seamus Coleman are about to leave Goodison Park.

Martinez has wanted to bring in a shot-stopper since first-choice Tim Howard picked up a calf injury on Boxing Day that is set to rule him out until well into February.

Reports have suggested the manager is interested in Marshall, but when asked on Monday if there was anything in the stories about the Scotland international - who missed Cardiff's match at the weekend due to an injury of his own - potentially joining Everton, Martinez said: "No - nothing at all."

The Spaniard did, however, confirm he had made some enquiries about goalkeepers this month, adding: "It is something we have done for a while now, but nothing has been conclusive or done in a way that we can announce any names.

"I'm not interested in bringing in a short-term goalkeeper - we'll look at the options, but if we bring in anyone, it has to be someone who can stay with us for the long term.

"We are going to explore that avenue and if we find the right personality, we'll act on it."

With regard to potential outgoings from Everton in the current transfer window, there has been speculation that striker Eto'o could move to Italian side Sampdoria and full-back Coleman make a switch to Manchester United.

Speaking at his press conference to preview Tuesday's FA Cup third-round replay at West Ham, Martinez also dismissed those suggestions, insisting there would be no "big sales" made by the Merseysiders this month.

On Eto'o, Martinez said: "I know there has been a lot of speculation, but we haven't been contacted - we have had no conversations about that issue at all.

"At the moment Samuel is working really well and is always a really strong influence in the day-to-day work, and there is nothing to comment on really."

And when asked about there being any truth in the Coleman reports, Martinez said: "No.

"I have said before that we are in a position where all that matters is to get good momentum in the league and be as strong as we can in the cups.

"We are not entertaining that speculation of big sales. We are not going to sell our big assets in the window, so I think all those stories and admiration from the outside are just a waste of time."

Everton have struggled for "good momentum" in recent weeks - indeed, prior to the original cup tie against West Ham last Tuesday they had lost four games in a row and won only one in nine in all competitions.

The rot has been stopped with 1-1 draws in that match and then against Manchester City in the Barclays Premier League on Saturday, performances Martinez believes have provided a platform from which his side can now build for a decent second half of the season.

Although he accepts questions have been asked of his players, the 41-year-old has stressed he has never doubted them himself.

And that includes striker Romelu Lukaku, the £28million club record summer signing who has bounced back from starting two successive games on the bench to put in eye-catching displays as part of the first XI against the Hammers and City.

Lukaku's last-gasp equaliser against the London outfit last week means he has scored a goal in each of his last four encounters with West Ham.

Martinez will be hoping for more of the same on Tuesday, and said of the Belgium international: "Romelu is now performing at a very good level, but he has always showed real desire to help the team and strong responsibility.

"I have always known that Romelu, fully fit, is in my eyes one of the best strikers in world football.

"Now he is in the right place and it has been very pleasing to see him enjoying his football and being so effective in the last two games."

Everton will on Tuesday be without the same seven players who missed the City contest - Howard, Sylvain Distin (groin), Tony Hibbert (unspecified), Leon Osman (foot), Darron Gibson, Steven Pienaar (both knee) and James McCarthy (hamstring).

Martinez has confirmed he intends to include 22-year-old forward Conor McAleny in the squad to face West Ham.


From Belfast Telegraph