Belfast Telegraph

Plenty to ponder for Martinez

Roberto Martinez is being given a selection headache for his first Barclays Premier League game in charge of Everton by his four strikers.

Martinez signed Arouna Kone from former club Wigan to join Nikica Jelavic, Victor Anichebe and 21-year-old Apostolos Vellios, and the Spaniard expects all of them to play a big part this season.

Martinez said: "That's the type of decision you always want. When you've got three or four options to play up front, that's a great position to be in as a manager.

"I've been really happy with how different the strikers are. Apostolos Vellios has been working really well but then you've got three senior figures with Nikica Jelavic, Victor Anichebe and Arouna Kone. All three are going to be important.

"Probably the focus is not who's going to start on Saturday, it's more how strong the competition can be throughout the campaign because it's important to have effective strikers. They're all ready."

Martinez favoured a single striker for much of his time at Wigan, and former Everton boss David Moyes adopted the same policy at Goodison Park.

Versatility is the key word for Martinez, though, ahead of his first competitive match against Norwich at Carrow Road on Saturday.

"We need to be flexible," said Martinez.

"It's something we've been working on this pre-season to play in different systems, having different partnerships, and that's something we're going to carry on testing over the next few weeks."

Martinez has spent a lot of his first summer at Goodison Park fending off questions about the futures of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini, who have both been strongly linked with moves to Manchester United to rejoin old boss Moyes.

United are said to have had one bid turned down for Baines, while Martinez talked about his relief when a buy-out clause in Fellaini's contract expired at the end of last month.

There are still more than two weeks of the transfer window to go, and Martinez said: "I'm not concerned at all at the moment.

"The window is open and until it closes you're going to get speculation, you're going to get a lot of talk, not just at Everton. It's the norm.

"Marouane had a buy-out clause where it was very straightforward. If someone met that valuation, the club had no say.

"That finished on July 31 so you can imagine during that period everyone was a bit expectant about what would happen. Once that date went, you just focus on working for the next season."

Martinez is still in the market for new signings having brought Gerard Deulofeu and former Wigan trio Joel Robles, Antolin Alcaraz and Kone to the club this summer.

But the form of teenagers Ross Barkley and John Stones has made him even more confident about the squad he already has.

"I've been very impressed with the youngsters," said Martinez.

"Ross Barkley and John Stones have really surprised me. I knew they had a fantastic future, but what they've got is a very special presence, and that excites me.

"You always need to keep looking to try to help the players we've got at the club but we're not looking for a specific number. If we don't bring anyone in, I'll be happy."

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