Sep 112014

They were goals scored during an international match in Tbilisi by players in emerald green, but each was designed on the wind-swept training pitches of Finch Farm.

For Martin O’Neill’s Republic of Ireland, you can almost read Roberto Martinez’s Everton FC; the Blues supplying four influential members of the Irish set-up who helped them to victory over Georgia on Sunday night.

Aiden McGeady, who bagged the brace, Seamus Coleman, who set one up, James McCarthy, created the other, and Darron Gibson given a watching brief this time after impressing in the previous game against Oman.

Coleman reckoned his country’s first goal was borne of everything Martinez has preached to his squad since beginning his evolution last summer.

“To be fair, I thought a lot of people would have snatched at it,” said the right-back afterwards. “James (McCarthy) actually played him in rather than shoot, which was great composure in his behalf. It was a good Everton goal.”

Ireland’s Aiden McGeady celebrates scoring the winning goal during the UEFA Euro 2016 Qualifying, Group D match at the Boris Paichadze Dinamo Arena, Tbilisi. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Sunday September 7, 2014. See PA story SOCCER Republic. Photo credit should read: Nick Potts/PA Wire  

That’s a summary that certainly makes his manager beam with pride.

“It does give me pride,” says Martinez with a broad smile. “We’ve got incredible ambassadors for our football club out there. In the Republic of Ireland we’ve got really important players. For the first goal you’ve got James McCarthy linking up with Aiden for the first goal, then you’ve got Seamus Coleman linking up with him for the second.

“It brings you pride because they’re great examples of how we want to play. To see them do it on an international level is something which all Evertonians will enjoy.”

Martinez believes the Irish quartet are ideal building blocks for the future of his team, and envisages them being around for some time to come.

“We have great characters here to build the future of our club and that’s what pleases me more than anything,” he says, The mentality we have in this dressing room will bring us a lot of success in the coming months because they’re people you can build projects on.”

Thoughts of international football will swiftly evaporate by tomorrow when Everton arrive in the Midlands looking for their first win of the season against West Brom.

To take home three points they will have to tighten-up their well-documented leaky defence.

And although Martinez avowedly refuses to criticise his players in public, he admits he has left no stone unturned behind closed doors in gertting to the bottom of their woes at the back.

“Sometimes it’s that big white elephant in the room and you just have to face it,” says the Catalan. “We’ve done that. We’ve analysed what happened and why. It’s not a tactical issue because our approach hasn’t changed from last season.

“In terms of any question of our mentality it could be how the games have worked out; against Leicester in the last six minutes of the game it became that we had something to lose then a couple of deflections ended up in the opposition path and all of a sudden you start to think that every 50/50 is going to go to the opposition.”

Everton had the third meanest defence in the Premier League last season, and their manager is confident that they have lost nothing permanently when it comes to the ability to keep clean sheets.

Seamus Coleman challenges Diego Costa Seamus Coleman challenges Diego Costa  

Instead he points to rank misfortune and predicts that the calibre of players he has available, three of England’s back four at one stage during the 2-0 win over Switzerland, means a return to form is inevitable.

“The game against Arsenal was probably the most unfair result we’ve had for a long, long time,” he says. “We were so dominant that to concede two goals in such a short period isn’t down to just bad defending it’s a combination of things. So we need to become stronger and more ruthless in what we’re trying to do,

“We haven’t lost any of our defenders so there’s no reason why we shouldn’t reproduce the levels we had last season. It’s just making sure we’re aware that we are all of one mind and get on with it.”

Tomorrow’s game heralds the beginning of spree of fixtures, and Martinez is confident he has assembled a squad strong enough to cope with one of the most demanding periods the club has faced for some time.

The Toffees play seven matches in 23 days as the start of their Europa League campaign adds to fixtures in the Premier League and Capital One Cup.

Included in that run is the Merseyside derby at Anfield, a 4,000-mile round trip to Russian side Krasnodar followed by a trip to Manchester United in the space of eight days.

Despite failing to add Red Devils midfielder Tom Cleverley to his squad with a late bid on transfer deadline day, Martinez is happy with the resources at his disposal.

“This is a period of so many games so it is really important for the squad to be ready and available,” he says.

“I am really happy in numbers, in the quality we have and the balance we have between experience and youth and that energy you need to play three games a week, but also having enough experience around those legs to be competitive.

“I am excited how we can compete in every competition with that strong mentality in this sort of period.

“It is quite new for us to be able to cope with different competitions, a lot of travelling, facing teams like Wolfsburg, Krasnodar, and then adapting to Premier League demands.

“It is a demanding period we have been working hard towards for 12 months and we will embrace it and find out a lot about ourselves, how strong and how far we have come.”

Bringing in Cleverley, whom Martinez has admired since he had him on loan at previous club Wigan, would have bolstered the midfield but they could not get a deal over the line and the 25-year-old eventually joined Aston Villa on loan.

Martinez, with the benefit of hindsight, remains philosophical about losing out though.

“On the last day of the window there are always opportunities that arise and we looked into a couple of those,” he said.

“I felt it was an opportunity for us to maybe to add a player that could bring something different but at the end it wasn’t right, it didn’t work out and I was very pleased this time around we had all the business done well ahead of the transfer deadline.

“We tried to look into a couple of opportunities but they never came off and in reality they probably weren’t the right ones for us.”

Latest football news and rumours brought to you every minute of every day. For more like this subscribe to the RSS feed. To get a great offer see here for more Everton shirts and hoodies.

 Posted by at 9:29 pm

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>