Javi Martinez has backed Fernando Torres to shine in Spain’s Euro 2012 clash against the Republic of Ireland tonight - even if he does not start.
Torres was left out for La Roja’s first encounter of the tournament on Sunday, a 1-1 draw with Group C rivals Italy, although he did emerge from the bench late on.
The Chelsea striker appeared to still be suffering from the self-doubt accumulated in what he described as his ‘toughest’ season to date last time round, in which he embarked upon a barren spell in front of goal which tipped the 1,000 minute mark for the Blues.
Torres failed to find the back of the net with three presentable opportunities after replacing goalscorer Cesc Fabregas after 71 minutes on Sunday, and the 27-year-old is expected to be on the bench once more as manager Vicente Del Bosque continues with his policy of playing without a recognised striker.
Despite the fact he may not start, international team-mate Martinez believes that a goal against Ireland will instantly put a stop to talk of Torres’ poor form.
"Fernando has been a professional for ten years," Martinez said. "He knows how these things work. The criticism about not scoring a goal in the first game will turn into praise if he scores one or two against Ireland.
“Then he'll be the best in the world again. Footballers know how to cope with these things."
Torres was the figurehead of Spain’s successful 2008 campaign in which he scored the winner in the final against Germany in Vienna.
The reigning champions starting without a recognised striker has been a major talking point of the tournament so far, however Martinez believes the debate holds no interest for those inside the Spanish training camp.
"They are debates for the bar, for the press, for the street," he said. "We don't think about those things. We have a coach, and what he says and thinks is what is important to us. We're okay and I think the team is fine."