BY ALAN TEMPLE – Capital City Press
Everton boss Roberto Martinez insists allowing Steven Naismith to leave Goodison Park would have been “impossible”.
The Scotland internationalist has struggled to secure a berth in the Toffees’ team this season, failing to start any of their five Barclay’s Premier League outings.
His future was in doubt on deadline day when Norwich boss, and compatriot, Alex Neil launched an audacious swoop for the player. However, that was rejected by the Merseysiders.
And Naismith’s value was underlined against Chelsea last weekend when he climbed from the bench to score a ‘perfect’ hat-trick and inspire a 3-1 win over Jose Mourinho’s men.
Martinez believes that sums up his “pristine” professional.
He told Everton TV: “It’s only natural as a footballer that you want to play games but we all know what Steven brings to the side.
“When you have a player who has that experience, that know-how, that footballing intelligence, it’s very difficult to replace in the squad.
“Contact happened but it was impossible for us to be able to allow Stevie to go because he’s too important for the squad and that was proven on Saturday.
“You can’t rely on 11 players to perform week in and week out – you need to have that sort of talent challenging each other. And Stevie, as the pristine professional that he is, does that.”