Premier League: 1st Steps for Roberto Martinez 'Rebuilding' at Everton
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At that press conference unveiling, which can be found at Everton's official website, the Spaniard was (unsurprisingly) genuinely optimistic about the potential of his new club.
"There are six clubs working on a different financial level to us, but I do believe that with our tools and our genetic order within the club we can find a way to compete with those teams," Martinez stated.
This summer has seen those clubs (who were around Everton at the top of last season's Premier League table) undergoing substantial change themselves. In comparison, the first rumblings of the Toffees' new era have gone largely unheard outside of Merseyside.
The start of the season will change that.
Just what Martinez has in mind to "compete with those teams" will translate from preseason planning into a realized strategy over the campaign's opening months.
Based on his own past as Wigan Athletic manager and Everton's recent history, here are a few first steps the Spaniard will be looking to take at Goodison Park.
Establishing a Productive Relationship Between Manager and Captain
Phil Jagielka in preseason action.
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David Moyes leaving Goodison Park is not the only significant departure this summer. Captain for six years, Phil Neville, has also left.
Replacing him is as skipper is Phil Jagielka.
As one of Everton's first-choice central defenders since his arrival in 2007, Jagielka was a sensible choice. Based on what he told David Prentice in an interview with the Liverpool Echo, he is fully aware of the task at hand.
“I think I will need to do things differently as a captain on the pitch when things aren’t going right,” Jagielka acknowledged, going on to reference Neville's selflessness and his need to replicate that.
I’ve found that if I’m not having the best of afternoons myself I try to get on with my own job and get through it whereas now, with the captain’s armband, I’ve got a little bit more responsibility to forget about myself and help team-mates who are maybe having a worse afternoon or the ones who need that little more encouragement who could potentially change the result of the game.
Jagielka's awareness here should be viewed encouragingly by Everton fans.
They already know of his quality as a defender. It is looking like they can rest easy about his ability to lead in a more official capacity too.
Roberto Martinez must swiftly establish an understanding with his new captain.
Not only so the Spaniard knows Jagielka is on the same page in regards to dressing room matters, but also that the player completely understands the message Martinez wants expressed on the pitch.
The role of captaincy can sometimes have an air of superficiality. Done right, however, a productive relationship can be established where the captain becomes a genuine on-field conduit for the manager's intended style.
This is important in allowing Jagielka to feel comfortable to extent his influence in-game.
It must always be in line with what his manager has in mind, but often the player can be the best observer of what is and isn't working.
Martinez Must Improve His Defensive Credentials
Roberto Martinez coaching one of his last matches for Wigan.
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With no disrespect to those defenders at this previous club, Wigan Athletic, Martinez has definitely inherited upgrades at Everton (though he did bring Antolin Alcaraz with him).
In addition to Jagielka, they include the veteran Sylvain Distin, and full-back pair Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman.
At Wigan, Martinez had some considerable ups and downs with his defense over the last couple of seasons.
His decision to deploy three at the back late in the 2011-12 campaign paid dividends in their fight for survival. Within a flexible 3-5-2 formation, it provided a foundation that allowed the likes of Shaun Maloney and Franco Di Santo to flourish, enhancing the team's attacking edge.
The following season, it became apparent Martinez had too much faith in a system that had not been sufficiently tweaked with improvements.
Players like Emmerson Boyce and Gary Caldwell were not consistent enough to make it work over the course of the season. Martinez's failure to appreciate this saw his defense shown up in embarrassing displays, such as the costly 3-2 defeat to Swansea City in May.
In fairness, there was little he could do about their mistakes. It could also be argued he made the best he could of Wigan's limited resources.
All of this is to say that Martinez must work hard to ensure he does not have similar problems at Everton.
With the quality of defenders available to him, it should not be a major issue. But in however he chooses to use them, he must strive to create more solidity than he ever had at Wigan.
Everton Need More Goals from Their Attackers
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Getting the best out of strikers Nikica Jelavic and Victor Anichebe (and perhaps to a lesser extent, youngster Apostolos Vellios) is an obvious step, but nonetheless an important one.
How these players, along with new recruit and Martinez's fellow former Latic Arouna Kone, will fit in the side is not entirely clear yet.
There is the not so small matter too of the versatile Marouane Fellaini—Everton's top scorer in 2012-13.
Everton were by some way (11 goals) the lowest scorers of the Premier League's highest place seven sides last season.
It is commendable they found a way to keep pushing for a top-four place until springtime. Undoubtedly though, this is a team that would benefit from a lot more goals from their strikeforce.
Formation permitting, the Toffees could have the options for three across the top, a front two, a lone striker, or some variation between the three.
For a long time under David Moyes, Everton tended to favor one forward primarily leading the line. Moving away from this when so much of the squad is still geared towards such a method (i.e. plenty of good midfielders and deeper-lying attackers) may be difficult anyway.
Whatever Martinez chooses to do, he needs to find a way to inspire more goals from the aforementioned players.
They have it in them, they just all need to try and find it more often.
Keep Baines and Fellaini
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Okay, another obvious one. But it is true, keeping hold of Leighton Baines and Marouane Fellaini is important for the early health of the Martinez regime.
Everton have plenty of good players besides the above pair. Already we have talked about Jagielka and, briefly, his fellow defenders.
Kevin Mirallas had a strong first year last season. The likes of Tim Howard, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman have proved their credentials over a long period of time.
Summer acquisitions including Kone and Barcelona loan signing Gerard Deulofeu have the potential to be exciting additions too.
Baines and Fellaini's cachet has been heightened in part because of speculation surrounding their respective futures. As quoted by The Mirror's David Anderson, Martinez acknowledged this.
If we get clubs talking about our players we take it as compliment because it means the players have been impressing and doing really well.
It is a double-edged sword in that Everton do not want to lose them. But having such widely acknowledged top players is good for the confidence of the side too.
Everton were hardly about swagger under Moyes, but they had an understated confidence which latterly in his reign helped separate them from the pack below.
For Martinez to maintain that, let alone build on it, he could do with Baines and Fellaini sticking around a while yet.