Everton made the signing of Cuca Martina through the free transfer process this summer. Martina was about to be released by Southampton, when Ronald Koeman threw him an opportunity at Everton.
There’s no point sitting here and ripping Cuca Martina from limb to limb with criticism of how he’s incapable of this and no good at that. I could, but I won’t. I prefer to look at the options we have that better what we currently field at the moment.
First, However, I think it’s important we take a look at a couple of valid reasons as to why Martina was brought into the club. The season is long, there are 38 games to play in our league season alone. Mix in a potential cup run in the Carabao cup or FA cup or even both and your looking at another 10 fixtures minimum. As if those 38-50 games isn’t enough we have some tough trips in the Europa league group stages to contend with meaning we could then be looking at 60+ fixtures during the season, which is incredibly draining on the biggest of squads. So, Martina was probably bought to cover a chunk of those games, either as a back up to Coleman when fit or to start in the cup matches.
Cuca Martina is your typical Koeman defender. He isn’t a fullback, he’s at best a wing back and unfortunately the attacking side of that role has 95% of Martina’s attention in most matches. We’ve seen him have a turn of pace when getting the ball to attack and he definitely has the ability to cross (albeit to nobody as there’s never anyone that jumps for the ball, but thats not his fault) but, defending just doesn’t come into interest for Martina.
JonJoe Kenny has been the best player in this country at u23 level for the best part of Two seasons. Not only has he successfully captained Everton’s u23 side to a Premier League 2 title for the first time in the clubs history, but he’s also captain his country to a World cup. There is absolutely no doubt that Kenny is ready for a birth in the Premier league, at least until Seamus Coleman emerges from his long injury lay off.
I’ve watched Kenny closely for at least 18 months, I’ve sat at Southport when the u23’s/u21’s occasionally played games there. I was watching at every game the u23’s played at Goodison Park last season and it was hard to ignore Kenny’s ability.
On occasions in those u23s games he actually looked like a first teamer that had been dropped or was recovering from an injury in the reserve team. His ability is effortless and JonJoe Kenny looks head and shoulders above the level he currently finds himself playing at. You might think because he’s not experienced at Premier League level that he’d be suspect at full back, I can’t deny he won’t because he hasn’t played enough in the first team to argue for or against, but I will say he is less likely to be suspect than Cuca Martina.
Kenny seems to have that natural nack of being in the right place at the right time, both defensively and in attack. To have the tackling prowess he processes at his age is something the most experienced of right backs would crave, at times during last seasons campaign his timing in tackles was frightening. Kenny can read a pass and cut it off before it reaches it’s target and then create an attack with his next pass. I’m enthusing about a young talent we have at our club because he’s that good, I just can’t grasp why our manager isn’t even remotely the same.
Martina has shown why he can’t be trusted as a starting right back. Against even a weaker opposition like Hajduk Split, Martina found himself catching up with the play that had just gone down his wing, he’s a reactive defender. Whereas JonJoe Kenny can read the game, he’s proactive and isn’t scared of making sure the opposition know about it. He isn’t reckless but he is firm and can get forward too. Take Martina out of the firing line and let Kenny prove, like Davies has, that the young lads at Everton aren’t the same as the kids you’ll find anywhere else.