19 October 2014 10:57
Everton manager Roberto Martinez saluted centre-back Antolin Alcaraz for his performance in Saturday’s 3-0 win over Aston Villa.
The Paraguayan has endured an injury-plagued spell at Everton so far, with the former Wigan Athletic man making just six Premier League appearances last season.
The 32-year-old made his first league start of the current league campaign at Goodison Park on Saturday and put in an assured display as he was given the nod ahead of Sylvain Distin.
Martinez was left delighted by the experienced defender’s display and, although Distin failed to feature, the Everton boss insists that the Frenchman remains an important part of the squad.
“We have four centre-halves and I consider Tyias [Browning] as another,” he told reporters.
“[John] Stones will be out a while. We had Distin and Alcaraz who were both fit.
“I think for Antolin it is the first time he has had a solid 16 weeks of work with no niggles or problems; he looked really, really sharp in training so it was just that he was probably a little ahead in his match fitness than Distin, who had a little knock and a few times not training.
“Antolin looked ready for the opportunity and he showed everyone he is ready to fight for his place and I was very happy with his performance.
“Distin in a very important player and he will carry on that way.”