Roberto Martinez, the Everton manager, has called for a change in Premier League loan rules to bring them into line with European regulations.
On-loan midfielder Gareth Barry is unavailable against parent club Manchester City tomorrow yet Atletico Madrid were able to play goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois in their successful Champions League semi-final against Chelsea, despite the Belgian technically belonging to the Stamford Bridge side.
Martinez, who has come in for criticism this season for utilising the loan system to bring in Barry, Chelsea striker Romelu Lukaku, Barcelona’s Gerard Deulofeu and Monaco’s Lacina Traoré, believes that is an anomaly which needs rectifying.
“In my eyes when you reach an agreement for a player to go – whether a loan or permanent transfer – he should be allowed to play,” he said.
“It is a decision you make in a window and I don’t see it as a healthy way to treat a loan player in not letting him play against his parent club. If you make the decision to allow a player to go it is because, that season for whatever reason, everyone is happy to see him at another club.
“I think the fairest way is to see what we see in European competition and see a player fully focused for the team he is at and at the end of the season it is a matter of reassessing the situation.
“The loan [system] has a real need in the modern game. It is a very interesting debate and should be something that needs to be looked at.
“Clearly we shouldn’t have two different rules in two different competitions – I think domestic rules should be the same as the European laws in that respect.”
Martinez also insisted that the integrity of his players means they do not intend just to make up the numbers against title-chasing City.
Everton are in the strange position where taking points off the visitors would put the destiny of the Premier League back in the hands of near-neighbours Liverpool. But Martinez said no one at Goodison Park would consider easing up against City and stressed tomorrow’s match was not about doing anyone favours.
“We are not in a season where we are playing for nothing, just making up the numbers. We are not that sort of football club,” said the Spaniard, whose side still hope to catch Arsenal four points ahead of them and qualify for the Champions League.
“The values we have as a football club mean we would never contemplate not to give our all in a game, especially when we have so much to fight for.”