Martinez willing to give Deulofeu first Everton start in Merseyside derby

Everton manager Roberto Martinez is considering giving Gerard Deulofeu his full debut in the Merseyside derby against Liverpool after the international break, writes Sky Sports.

The Barcelona loanee has been a regular feature from the bench this season, coming into the action partway through seven times and making substitute appearances in Everton’s last three games.

Martinez is full of confidence in the youngster and will not hesitate to start the Deulofeu. “It has surprised me how quickly he has adapted to the British game, and to the demands of the Premier League,” explained Martinez.

He is fighting hard for his place,” the former Wigan boss added. “I would have no concerns about putting him in against Liverpool, no. When you are able to play against Jan Vertonghen, and to cope with that, then it shows you he is ready for anything.

But Martinez was reluctant to discuss the Merseyside derby until his players have returned from international duty. “I can’t really look forward (to the derby) yet, because we are losing 12 players with the Under-21s and the senior players,” Martinez continued. “It is one of those situations where you keep your fingers crossed and hope that everything goes well.

Martinez’s Everton could be level on points with a win against their rivals at Goodison Park, but the Reds will be hoping to top the Premier League in the hope that current leaders Arsenal drop points.

Everton were held at Selhurst Park on Saturday with a 0-0 draw to relegation-threatened Crystal Palace, whereas Liverpool hammered Fulham 4-0 at Anfield.

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