Martinez: Atsu will be a late great

Midweek Sport - - NEWS - By TREVOR WIL­LIAMS

ROBERTO MARTINEZ reck­ons that Christian Atsu will be Ever­ton’s lat­est loan star – but only in the sec­ond half of the sea­son.

Martinez used the loan mar­ket to per­fec­tion last term, with Romelu Lukaku, Gareth Barry and Ger­ard Deulofeu help­ing fire the Tof­fees to fifth spot in the Premier League.

Chelsea kid Atsu, 22, has been his only tem­po­rary ad­di­tion this time around and the Ghana young­ster has had lit­tle im­pact on Ever­ton’s be­low-par start to the cam­paign. Atsu – who joined Chelsea from Porto for £3.5mil­lion in 2013 – is tak­ing his first steps in English foot­ball and has only made two ap­pear­ances for the Mersey­side club.

His chances of reg­u­lar ac­tion might be boosted by Kevin Mirallas be­ing ruled out for a month with thigh trou­ble.

But Martinez is adamant that the bat­tle he had to per­suade Chelsea to let him have the young­ster will still be worth it.

And the Spa­niard in­sists Ever­ton can wait un­til the new year to see the best of won­derkid Atsu.

He said: “We need to give him a lit­tle bit of time to adapt to the phys­i­cal­ity of the Premier League – just like any player, but es­pe­cially a winger.


“In other leagues ref­er­ees al­low less con­tact and they are a bit more pro­tected.

“But I think the way he has adapted to the way we want to play so far has been im­pres­sive. He’s a very in­tel­li­gent foot­baller.

“It’s just mak­ing sure I can give him the right in­tro­duc­tion to his role.

“With the min­utes he’s had so far in the Europa League and other games, he’s done well.

“I ex­pect him to be him­self in the sec­ond half of the sea­son and he can be a very im­por­tant player for us.

“To be left-footed in that wing po­si­tion with a real pen­e­tra­tive edge like he has can give you a big ad­van­tage.”

BOR­ROWED: Atsu has yet to make his mark at Good­i­son

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