"It’s now down to him to embrace the challenge" says Blues boss
Roberto Martinez is convinced James McCarthy can become an Everton great as Goodison prepares for its first glimpse of the Spaniard’s new-look side.
Martinez’s men resume Premier League hostilities after the international break by entertaining Chelsea this evening.
Everton have been out of action since the £13million arrival of McCarthy from Wigan Athletic formed the centrepiece of a hectic transfer deadline day.
And Martinez, who has now signed the player twice having originally brought him to Wigan from Hamilton Academical, believes the 22-year-old has the talent and personality to become a crowd favourite.
“I am very excited about James,” said the Everton manager. “I know him inside out as a character.
“Sometimes in football you sign someone and it’s only after a while you learn about the human being.
“In this case, I know the human being and he is a 10. You can bank on good characters and good personalities and it’s now down to him to embrace the challenge of becoming an Everton great.”
Martinez added: “He could become a great. The fans are passionate and they understand a good character and a good footballer, and I’m excited about that combination with James.
“He has the potential if you look at his statistics. Already at 22, he has over 100 games in the Premier League, he has won a major trophy and was influential in that.
“Sometimes you get young players playing a part-time role in winning trophies but James was influential.
“He’s not been trying to jump on the first train of success. He is an incredible character. This is an opportunity for him to develop and go to the next level.
“He is a perfect fit for Everton with what he can bring and the character that will allow him to become a real favourite.”
Martinez is confident both McCarthy and Republic of Ireland team-mate Seamus Coleman will overcome knocks for the visit of Chelsea, who are the only team to have beaten Everton at Goodison in the league since March 2012.
And the Spaniard believes the new arrival can only improve by absorbing the know-how and guidance of his more experienced colleagues.
“What I’m excited about it you are looking at one of the most impressive older generations at Everton,” said Martinez.
“When I look at Leighton Baines, Phil Jagielka, Sylvain Distin and Tim Howard, you get a real sense of professionalism.
“It’s a top, top group. It’s very difficult to live up to those expectations and standards.
“Then you look at the younger group we are developing like John Stones, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy even Seamus Coleman, Gerard Deulofeu and Romelu Lukaku, and I’m really excited about that.
“James can be someone who takes advantage of the older generation and take it into his game. I have already seen what he is capable of doing.
“I haven’t seen a sponge in football terms as much as James. He takes all the good things of the people around him, and he’s a top footballer in that respect.”
Gareth Barry, signed on a season-long loan from Manchester City, is expected to make his debut in central midfield in place of the departed Marouane Fellaini although fellow loanee Romelu Lukaku is ineligible against his parent club.
Darron Gibson (knee) and Antolin Alcaraz (hamstring) are both unavailable while Martinez must decide whether to stick with Nikica Jelavic up front or bring in Arouna Kone.
Meanwhile, Luke Garbutt, Everton's 20-year-old reserve left-back, has joined League One side Colchester United on an initial 28-day loan.