Why all top players have to keep adding to their game
Is Kevin Mirallas suffering from second season syndrome?
Mirallas may have scored the opener against Hull City at the weekend, but there’s no doubt he isn’t hitting the heights of his debut campaign.
That can happen, no matter how good the player.
The main problem is that after a year, opposing players can work out your strengths.
In your first season, you come in and it’s all a bit new and people aren’t entirely sure what you are good at. A player can capitalise on that.
But 12 months in, opponents know what you are like. They know what to expect and usually how to stop it.
And that’s where it is then up to the player as an individual to be able to deal with it and come up with new ways of playing and performing.
Chelsea’s Juan Mata is one of the very few who improved greatly in their second season, but usually it’s more difficult. Roberto Martinez will hope Mirallas can handle the extra scrutiny.
Steven Pienaar couldn’t have made a more explosive return, scoring the winner with his first touch after coming on as substitute.
It was interesting to hear Martinez state Pienaar is still an important player as he brings out the best in Leighton Baines down the left flank.
I’d have to agree. The pair pose so many problems and have enjoyed such a fantastic relationship on the wing.
With Baines now a major threat, teams are doubling up on him and that will give Pienaar more room to play. And who wouldn’t want the rampant duo in their starting line-up?
James McCarthy was Everton’s man of the match against Hull and the Republic of Ireland international is repaying the faith shown in him by Martinez to bring him from Wigan Athletic.
McCarthy came initially from Scottish football, but he went almost straight into the Wigan side and made that massive transformation easily.
As a manager, once you have a player who can do that, you know they can handle much of what you throw at them.
McCarthy has suddenly realised he has gone from being one of best players in Wigan’s team to one of number of good players in Everton’s team.
But when players are alongside better players it improves them. McCarthy is certainly a man in a hurry, he has the hunger and desire and he wants to be playing every week.
Martinez also spoke about why it would be daft for Everton not to play to the strengths in their squad, and I agree.
He has better players at Goodison and can change things around in a manner he couldn’t do at Wigan. Martinez prefers a passing game but he knows with the likes of Romelu Lukaku up front, playing it long can be of benefit.