Martinez: Atsu will be a late great
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