‘Special footballer’: Roberto Martinez praises Christian Atsu’s qualities

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has heaped praise on Christian Atsu despite the winger’s inability to make an impact at Goodison Park.

The Ghana international has made just 13 appearances this term as injury, form and time spent at the Africa Cup of Nations prevented him building any momentum with the Toffees.

Atsu was playing in the Premier League for the first time this season and despite finding it tough, Martinez is convinced he will develop into a ‘special footballer’.

‘Christian is a very, very talented young man,’ Martinez said recently.

‘You always get that uncertainty when you are coming from a foreign league.

‘Adapting to the Premier League will always take a period; sometimes more, sometimes less.

‘But Christian will become a very special footballer.

‘He has all the attributes and showed it in flashes at Porto, when he played consistently at Vitesse, when he was named Player of the Tournament at the Africa Cup of Nations with Ghana – Christian is very talented.

‘For one reason or another, we haven’t been able to give him that continuity that you need. But his attitude is terrific and I hope in the last two games, I hope he can finish the season strong with us because his playing time hasn’t been as big as we expected.

‘But I’m sure the experience will benefit him immensely.’

He added: ‘We had the period when he went with Ghana and he came back and I thought the game against Leicester was his most influential period.

‘He got a bit of an illness that kept him out. He had a real opportunity, starting in the Europa League against Kiev but it was a bit of an unfortunate game to be involved in.’

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