Everton Players in Danger of Being Phased out by Roberto Martinez
Roberto Martinez's arrival at Everton has brought a significant change of style on the pitch.
He's altered an often reactive team under David Moyes and introduced progressive methods, with an emphasis on possession and control.
While such drastic changes have occurred in approach, there haven't been as many changes in personnel, as yet.
Everton's current back five were all mainstays under Moyes, while Kevin Mirallas, Steven Pienaar and Leon Osman remain in midfield.
Martinez has only overseen one transfer window and has been wise not to introduce too many new faces too soon; however, over time, he will look to forge a team in his own image, and a few more of Moyes' regulars will be cast aside.
Here's a look at the Toffees' most vulnerable starters, who may struggle to stay in Martinez's long-term plans.
Regardless of Martinez's methods, Sylvain Distin is already in the winter of his career. He turns 36 in December and is out of contract next summer.
The Frenchman has proved himself an excellent buy since joining the Toffees in 2009, but he is far from an ideal fit in Martinez's system.
The Catalan manager requires his centre-backs to be as natural with the ball at their feet as his side's playmakers, comfortable in possession and capable of taking play forward.
This is certainly not a description of Distin's strengths, and both he and Phil Jagielka have struggled in this department.
Martinez will already be on the lookout for a ball-playing centre-back, whose presence would augment the Toffees' transitions. This may well be Everton's next significant transfer move, leaving Distin's starting place in jeopardy.
Leon Osman has already seen his status diminish due to the emergence of Ross Barkley. He was dropped to the bench against Aston Villa for the first time in two Premier League seasons, although he won his place back with a stylish cameo.
The problem for Osman is that he does most things well—but not to the level Martinez will want.
He can spray passes around, maintain possession and construct attacks, but he doesn't do so as efficiently as Gareth Barry and James McCarthy. He also doesn't provide an effective enough shield from central midfield.
He doesn't possess the pace and flair to play on a flank and he's never been influential enough to be a regular No. 10.
He's an extremely useful squad member whose versatility will see him play numerous times, but his days in Everton's best XI are already winding down.
There's little doubt Steven Pienaar is one of Everton's best players, but does he fit into the style and system of the club's new manager? Arguably not.
When Everton are in possession, his natural inclination is to go toward the ball and face it, but Martinez prefers his wide men to perform with their back to play, constantly making forward runs. Flair, pace and trickery are all facets vital in this position, but not always associated with Pienaar
Kevin Mirallas is the ideal prototype, with similar traits to Victor Moses, Callum McManaman, Charles N'Zogbia and others who have appeared in wider roles under Martinez.
If Pienaar is to remain prominent for the Toffees, he may need to return to a more central berth. If not, he may soon find increased competition for his place.
Tim Howard has started the season well, but there's no hiding the fact his footwork and passing ability are not up to the standard Martinez looks for.
He expects his goalkeepers to be involved in play, passing across the back and transferring the ball quickly and intelligently.
Howard has been involved in this, he but has been close to disaster on a number of occasions—spared embarrassment against Chelsea by Gareth Barry's last-ditch tackle and narrowly avoiding a few similar incidents.
Of course, this is of secondary importance to actual goalkeeping ability, but as Martinez moves Everton on, he may scout around for a more ideal fit.
Howard is a significant influence at the club, and replacing him would be a bold call, but a defensive triangle of the American, Jagielka and Distin limits Everton.