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'Naismith always ready, gives us direction

Steven Naismith, the former Kilmarnock and Rangers forward, has been lauded by his Everton manager, Roberto Martinez, for making a huge impact when he is used from the bench in the Barclays Premier League.

The Scotland internationalist has regularly started games as a substitute and has frequently made his mark when he comes on, as he did at Fulham last Sunday when he scored in Everton's 3-1 win.

Some players can sulk at being benched, but Martinez emphasised that Naismith does not fall into that category. "Steven's a good example for any youngster," he said. "So many times we get stuck in the old way of thinking that, if you're not playing [in the starting XI], it's all wrong and you can sulk. He's away from that because he knows what the modern game is about. He's always ready.

"Technically, he's gifted and very mobile. I think we will have the best years of his career [at Everton] because of all those factors.

"He deserves all the credit he gets. He's full of energy and he knows he's got a massive role to play until the end of the season. He's not just an option from the bench, by any means. He can help from the start and give us a good direction. He's very clever in how he adopts positions.

"His movement is good and he can play as a No.9 or a No.10. Every game brings you a different puzzle to solve and Stevie is important, because he can adapt.

"At his age [27] , he has experience to play those different roles. What he highlights is his football intelligence. I know he'll be a coach one day, because he can understand football concepts easily. You can see from his general approach he's switched on. His vision helps him a lot.

"You have an advantage from the bench as a clever player. That doesn't mean his role is only from the bench by any means, but it's true that [having the option] to use an intelligent player in the later stages of a game is huge.

"The way we always try to win the game from the first minute to the last is very demanding When you play like that you need to use 14 players. Our squad is very flexible and we have different options to use to break teams down and unlock defences.

"That's why the squad is so important to me. The impact of substitutions is as important as the starting line-up. On Sunday, we needed something very specific and Steven's understanding of it and execution was brilliant.

"That mentality has to extend to everyone: other clever players like Kevin Mirallas, Aiden McGeady and Leon Osman at certain times. They can all bring something specific and give clever options."

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