Everton manager Roberto Martinez hits back at critics of loan system

The Toffees have three high-profile players in on loan in Romelu Lukaku, Gerard Deulofeu and Gareth Barry

Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists it is ridiculous he should be criticised for utilising loan players to supplement his squad.

Last week Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger branded the system "indefensible", suggesting loans between top-flight sides either be banned or that players should be allowed to face their parent clubs.

More media scrutiny followed after Everton beat the Gunners last weekend to set up the chance to move into the top four on Saturday with a victory at bottom side Sunderland, and there appears to be a growing focus on the loan deals Martinez made at the start of the season.

But the Spaniard dismissed any criticism being aimed in their direction.

"I accept everyone's opinion but the loan system has to be part of the game," he said.

"Clearly from our point of view the loan system was vital as we needed it to finish our squad and to criticise that would be ridiculous.

"If you can be creative with the way you can use your resources that is part of the game.

"The two young players (Romelu Lukaku and Gerard Deulofeu) needed the opportunity to develop and Gareth Barry has come in and his experience has been very important.

"Loanees will never be successful unless you have a strong core of players and that is what we have.

"What is difficult is finding a loan relationship which works because not all of these have been successful, so it has its pros and cons."

There has probably been more focus on Everton because the players brought in on loan have all played pivotal roles this season.

But there has been far more to the Toffees' success with the rapid progress of England Under-21 defender John Stones, currently deputising for injured captain Phil Jagielka, a case in point.

Martinez has also enhanced the games of 20-year-old England international Ross Barkley and Republic of Ireland midfielder James McCarthy, whom he brought with him from Wigan for £13million in the summer.

He said sometimes the root cause of the high number of available loans was a combination of big-spending clubs stockpiling players and poor choices by the youngsters in the first place.

"You could find many examples of players who have not been treated fairly just because they are not part of the club's long-term future and are seen just as part of a support squad," he added.

"Sometimes young players get attracted to the glamorous name of a club but you need to be realistic.

"Some clubs have very much in mind the idea of developing young players and giving them opportunities and we want to believe we are one of those.

"We have had, at times, four under-21s in the line up and two on the bench and that is an unknown quality.

"Other teams are very much about first-team affairs and development players are completely separate so it can be very difficult for a young player to have an opportunity in the first team.

"Your decision when you are accepting to be part of a club to develop your career has to be about the long-term possibilities of becoming a professional football.

"You will always get the top clubs investing a huge amount of money thinking about the progress of the first team and not a young player, which is a real shame."

Matches in England this weekend will kick-off seven minutes later than originally scheduled as a mark of respect to the 96 people who lost their lives in the Hillsborough disaster, whose 25th anniversary is next week.

Martinez will speak at the memorial service at Anfield, which will also be simultaneously televised live at Goodison Park.

"It is a very important gesture from the whole league and everyone in world football to pay their respects to what happened 25 years ago," said the Everton manager on the decision to delay kick-offs.

"We will have the opportunity to have our own service at Goodison alongside the one at Anfield and we very much have it in mind to pay our respects and every Evertonian will have the opportunity to do that.

"It is an important week in terms of showing our respect and giving all the support we can to the families and be all together in these moments."

PA

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