x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Roberto Martinez calls on his young Everton players

Because of injuries, the Everton manager is short of options, but he has no qualms about asking members of the under-21 side to contribute to the club’s bid for Uefa Champions League football.

Everton's Spanish manager Roberto Martinez gestures from the touchline during an English Premier League football match. Everton visit Southampton on Saturday and Martinez will be short of players. AFP PHOTO/LINDSEY PARNABY
Everton's Spanish manager Roberto Martinez gestures from the touchline during an English Premier League football match. Everton visit Southampton on Saturday and Martinez will be short of players. AFP PHOTO/LINDSEY PARNABY

Ahead of Everton’s trip to Southampton on Saturday, Roberto Martinez has urged some of the club’s young players to seize the opportunity presented by their current injury problems.

They have eight players sidelined, after defender Sylvain Distin (hamstring) and forward Kevin Mirallas (groin) were added to the growing list following last week’s victory over Manchester United.

It leaves Martinez short of options, but he has no qualms about asking members of the under-21 side to contribute to the club’s bid for Champions League football.

“We have young players who are capable of coming in and showing what they can do and that excites me,” the coach said.

“That is what we are as a club. We will not blame players that are missing, we just celebrate the opportunity given to young players.

“You rely on senior figures to help and protect them but the younger players bring you other qualities: bravery, energy, and it is trying to use the good things they bring rather than highlight the lack of experience.”

Everton have the chance to strike a psychological blow in the race for fourth place as they play in the early game today while Arsenal, a point ahead of them in the final Champions League place, must wait until Monday to host Newcastle.

Despite Southampton coasting through the final months of the season after an impressive start, Martinez knows they pose a threat.

“Southampton, in terms of football concepts, are one of the most attractive teams in the league and they have a bravery about the way they play,” he said.

Sherwood shake-up for Spurs players

Tim Sherwood has ordered his Tottenham players to shake hands with Charlie Adam amid reports they would ignore the Stoke midfielder because he injured Spurs midfielder Paulinho.

Sherwood said if he were ignored for every hard tackle he made as a player, “I never would have had a handshake”.

Lambert urges Villa to spend

Ahead of a trip to Swansea, Paul Lambert, the Aston Villa coach, said the club will need investment to break out of a pattern of finishing just above relegation.

“With the size of this football club, with the fan base it’s got, I never came here to sit like this. It’s been like this for the last four years.”

Mel looks at ‘final’ win for West Brom

Pepe Mel believes West Brom need four more points to secure Premier League survival and he hopes to win three as West Ham visit today.

“This is like a final,” the Spanish coach said. “There is only one match.” He said the league has been as he expected, “the most competitive league in the world”.

Fulham fancy top flight survivial

Felix Magath, the Fulham coach, hopes for more production from Hugo Rodallega when the London club play host to Hull today.

The Colombian scored decisive goals against Aston Villa and Norwich as Fulham have shown signs recently of top flight survival.

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