Ex-toffee’s captain Dave Watson gives his insight into Roberto Martinez having worked with him at Wigan Athletic
And it was that spell as colleagues which made a deep impression on Watson. “He may be young in years, but he has had a remarkable wealth of experience already in his career,” he says.
“To be in involved in so many relegation battles with Wigan is actually a fantastic experience because you learn so much from them.
“At the same time he’s had success as a player and a manager and once you’ve suffered the lows, tasting success is all the sweeter. More importantly it gives you a taste for it and makes you crave it more. That’s a good thing for Everton.”
Watson believes Everton’s players will be buzzing as they become accustomed to their new manager’s exciting approach to the game.
“His training is based a lot on attacking drills – everything is about scoring goals and creating chances,” he says.
“He’s forward thinking and while it will take players time, naturally, to get used to it they will enjoy themselves.
“Roberto is meticulous and there’s nothing he doesn’t know about football.”
Fears Everton could suffer defensively next term due to Martinez’s preference for attacking from the back are unnecessary, according to Watson.
“You’re not at a club like Everton if you can’t play on the ball anyway,” he insists. “Everton have got internationals all over their defence. It will suit them down to the ground.
“It’s about having belief as a player that you’re good enough, and that’s something else he’s good at instilling.
“When we started we were not encouraged to play it from the back but you have got to be able to do it now.
“When I’m teaching kids the focus is on making the right decisions. Sometimes to put your foot through it and get rid is the right decision of course. You can’t take chances for the sake of it or at inappropriate times.
“But Roberto obviously knows that. He’ll help develop a lovely, watchable style.”
Watson rates Martinez’s ability to develop quality young players, and the Huyton-born ex England international knows what he’s talking about.
He is currently in the second year of a spell as U-18 boss at Newcastle United, where he is joined by a coterie of former Evertonians including Kevin Richardson, Peter Beagrie and Willie Donachie.
“I look at how Callum McManaman came on leaps and bounds last season at Wigan and that was a lot to do with Roberto,” he says. “We had Callum when I was there and Roberto’s philosophy was it doesn’t matter if you’re 6ft 3in or 5ft 3in – if you’re good enough you can play in the team.
“It’s all about ability and having the right attitude as far as he’s concerned.”
Martinez has been no slouch in the transfer market so far either during his brief spell at Goodison, and Watson is impressed at the new arrivals – both on and off the pitch.
“He’s surrounded himself with the coaching staff he wants, which is vital,” he says. “As a manager that’s important because he trusts them and they know how we works.
“Dennis Lawrence (new first-team development manager) is a good example. He’s a bright guy and has built up some good experience at Wigan.
“Then in terms of signings; Kone looked good when I saw him on TV last year and I was at Wigan at the same time as Antolin Alcaraz.
“He’s a solid, ball-playing centre-half and will fit in well.
“I’m really looking forward to the new season. I would be surprised if Everton don’t progress under Martinez.
“David Moyes was fantastic and a hard act to follow but if anyone can do it, Martinez can. He is a brilliant appointment.”