In the race to become the Premier League's Manager of the Year, one man has slipped under the radar amongst the Manuel Pellegrini's and Brendan Rodgers' of this world.
That man is Everton boss Roberto Martinez, who has enjoyed a wonderful debut season in charge of the Toffees.
Here's four reasons why he deserves the prestigious award:
1. Plays the media game like a veteran
While his rivals for Manager of the Year are all likely to be Jose Mourinho and Co. Roberto Martinez has gone about transforming his side into top four challengers without too much noise.
Yes, there have been plaudits and the superlatives surrounding Ross Barkley have been bordering on obscene, but when it comes to the manager, Martinez has been largely overlooked.
He has a knack of turning the spotlight on his players, giving them the confidence they need and the credit they deserve.
2. Use of the loan system
Martinez made the step up to Everton from his cup-winning Wigan side and immediately identified areas of concern in his new squad of players. It’s always Everton’s aim to finish in, or as close to the top four as possible but they are often outgunned by their rivals, including their Merseyside rivals Liverpool.
For years it appeared that David Moyes was hamstrung by Bill Kenwright, with his side crying out for some big-name talent that would allow an impressive underdog to grow into a Premier League giant. But Roberto Martinez has proved that throwing money at the situation doesn’t necessarily get results.
The man he replaced is finding that out the wrong way, with Marouane Fellaini struggling so much after a £27m move from Everton. Martinez, however, has managed to bring in some stellar quality on a temporary basis that has allowed the toffees to kick on.
3. Ross Barkley
Who knew that Everton had a future England star ready-made for Premier League action. Many of us had heard of Barkley and even seen glimpses of the lad’s talent, but while he pushed towards the first team under David Moyes, the former manager seemed reluctant to play him.
He has been a revelation for Everton this season, playing with the youthful abandon that the England setup has been crying out for since Wayne Rooney first burst onto the scene.
Barkley has also got scores of Manchester United fans cursing the fact that Moyes decided to bring Fellaini to Old Trafford when he probably could have got Barkley for a substantial amount less.
4. Everton 3 – 0 Arsenal
For years as Wigan manager, Roberto Martinez had a knack for getting results at crucial points in the season. These results would, year after year keep the Latics in the Premier League before a successful FA Cup campaign proved to be too much of a distraction.
Martinez has managed to replicate that late season form with his new side but this time has his sights set on a Champions League position.
Arsenal may have been on an atrocious run of form when they made the trip to Goodison, but the turnaround in fortune is so remarkable that Everton did not only edge a win over Wenger’s side, but categorically played them off the park.
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