Martinez: Deulofeu poised for greatness

Gerard Deulofeu may be poised to light up the Premier League but manager Roberto Martinez insists this is because other less known teammates are giving him the platform.

Gerard Deulofeu of Everton

The on-loan Barcelona forward was a revelation on his full league debut for the Toffees, crucially scoring their opener just before half-time and being a threat throughout their 4-0 win over Stoke at Goodison Park.

Deulofeu rightly received the acclaim but behind him in Everton's engine room are the unsung heroes, the old hands and experienced professionals who knit the team together.

Everton's two on-loan attackers Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku, who scored his eighth league goal of the season, will always make the headlines but the third temporary - for now at least - signing Gareth Barry has been quietly consistent.

"Barry is the unsung hero. He is such a joy to work with, he is a diamond at the training ground, a senior player who affects players around him," said Martinez.

"The success of Gerard and a performance like that (against Stoke) would be impossible without having the Phil Jagielkas, Sylvain Distins and Gareth Barrys."

Deulofeu, Leon Osman, and another goalscorer Bryan Oviedo, making only his second league start in nearly 18 months in place of the injured Leighton Baines, were the three changes from last week's thrilling 3-3 Merseyside derby.

It meant Martinez could leave the likes of Ross Barkley and Kevin Mirallas on the bench and not adversely affect the performance.

And with a busy December schedule about to begin with tough matches against Manchester United on Wednesday and Arsenal next weekend the Toffees boss expects to have to dig deeper into his reserves.

"The games are coming thick and fast over the next few weeks," he added.

"We have United and Arsenal to come in the next seven days and it is going to be tough fixture list, which is why it is important everyone is ready.

"It is important to see performances like yesterday but we still have a long way to go to get where we want to and we are still working to fulfilling our potential.

"In football you need to have long-term dreams and ambitions but in the league you need to accumulate as many points as you can, develop a good competition for places and you need to be brave enough to play different ways and we are doing all that.

"I am pleased with every aspect of the squad and the way we have been working allows us to be ambitious."

Everton's ambition may be linked partly, but not entirely, to the progress of Deulofeu.

"He is a very different footballer. He is an old-fashioned type of winger who enjoys taking on people with pace and ball control," said Martinez.

"His quality is sublime and unique and his best is yet to come.

"It is important any team has a player to like that - sometimes they are not affordable.

"Sometimes as a manager you need to protect young players and play them when they are ready.

"It is not a frustration (on Deulofeu's part) in an unhealthy way. The player is ready and wants to fight for his position and that is exactly what we want in the squad."

The 19-year-old could easily have had a couple of goals before he struck on the stroke of half-time but once Stoke's resistance was broken they collapsed in uncharacteristic fashion.

Seamus Coleman added the hosts second just after the break, Oveido marked his first league start just over a year since his last by drilling one in from distance with his weaker right foot before Lukaku completed the rout.

Stoke boss Mark Hughes admitted it was back to the drawing board after their three-match unbeaten league run was ended.

"We'd had four games unbeaten (including a Capital One Cup win over Birmingham) and played well last weekend (to beat Sunderland).

"We knew it was going to be a big test but they were a bit too good for us.

"We have to pick ourselves up and go again on Wednesday (at home to Cardiff).

"We weren't at the level we needed to be. We need to take our medicine and move on.

"We've been reasonably good away from home and that is probably our poorest performance.

"Our home form will be key to the season we have so we need to get back-to-back home wins and take it from there."



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