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Everton vs. Leicester City: What Roberto Martinez Learned from Pre-Season Match

Matt CheethamCorrespondent IJuly 27, 2014

Everton vs. Leicester City: What Roberto Martinez Learned from Pre-Season Match

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    Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press

    Everton's Premier League preparations continued with a 1-0 loss to Leicester City.

    Playing at the Supachalasai Stadium in Bangkock, the Toffees suffered their first defeat of the summer, losing to a second-half strike from Gary Taylor-Fletcher.

    The goal arrived in the 54th minute: a near-post tap in aided by some sloppy work from Joel Robles.

    Martinez named one of his strongest available line-ups, butwith frequent substitutionsit became increasingly inexperienced as the game progressed.

    Leicester's lead was rarely threatened, as the Toffees finished with several younger players gaining first-team exposure.

    Here's a look at some Everton-related talking points for Martinez to digest.

Joel Robles Yet to Convince

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    Joel Robles is yet to fully establish himself as a reliable understudy to Tim Howard.

    The Spaniard has seemed hesitant and indecisive during most of his brief Everton career, and the same flaws tainted his overall contribution against Leicester.

    Curious positioning assisted the game's only goal, and he was often tentative following any cross into the box.

    While Howard is the undisputed starter, Martinez will start Joel in several cup games this season.

    At the moment, that's not a selection many fans will be pleased to see.

Shane Duffy Making a Case for Involvement

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    Shane Duffy faces a tough task making the Everton bench this season, let alone starting.

    The club is well-stocked at centre-back, with Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin, John Stones and Antolin Alcaraz all competing for selection.

    With three of those four available, it was a surprise to see Duffy start in what otherwise seemed Martinez's strongest available line-up.

    The Irishman took his chance well. He looked assured and was arguably Everton's leading first-half performer, fitting in well with several regular first-team starters.

    He made a key block and a couple of timely interceptions to keep the Foxes at bay.

Three at the Back Is Still an Option

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    Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press

    Everton started the second half with a 3-4-3 formation, with John Stones, Antolin Alcaraz and Sylvain Distin lining up in defence.

    This was Martinez's system of choice during his final months at Wigan, but isn't something he's regularly dabbled with at Everton thus far.

    He used it in some of last season's friendlies, but only started with it in one Premier League game, a 3-2 defeat to Manchester City.

    While there was little the Catalan learned from this brief appearance, it will have pleased him how smoothly his team are beginning to adapt.

    With Duffy bolstering the Toffees' defensive options, three at the back might be used a little more often during this coming season.

John Stones Will Be a Hard Man to Leave out

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    Sakchai Lalit/Associated Press

    Perhaps a little aggrieved to miss out on a start, John Stones was the Toffees' leading performer in the second half against Leicester.

    His passing, out of sync in the previous game against Tranmere, was far more precise, and he made two decisive, last-ditch tackles to bail out his defence.

    Stones will start the season behind Phil Jagielka and Sylvain Distin but seems poised for a major role during Martinez's second season at the club.

    Don't be surprised if the 19-year-old, already capped by England, becomes an established starter by the end of this campaign.

Time for Some Summer Signings

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    Paul Thomas/Getty Images

    With two friendlies gone, Martinez will be keen to reinforce his squad with an influx summer signings over the coming days.

    The Toffees begin the season against Leicester, and will hope to field a vastly different side from the one that started in Bangkok.

    Ross Barkley, Phil Jagielka, Leighton Baines, Kevin Mirallas and Tim Howard will all return from World Cup duty, but—more pressingly—Everton must freshen up the squad by bringing in new faces.

    New signings will need time to acclimatise and learn the Toffees' style, making it important the club act now instead of as the season begins.

    Martinez will know exactly what he requires, but this result further highlights his need to strengthen.

     

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