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Martinez buoyed by Alcaraz return

19 February 2014 14:17

Roberto Martinez believes Everton's defensive options are "as good as it gets" now that Antolin Alcaraz is fully fit.

Paraguay centre-back Alcaraz has endured a frustrating first season at Goodison Park following his move from Wigan Athletic after being hampered by a groin injury.

The 31-year-old has made only four appearances for the Merseyside club so far, with the most recent of those coming in the 4-0 Premier League defeat at Liverpool last month.

And Martinez is ready to welcome the former Wigan Athletic back into the fold, with the Spaniard believing he now has an embarrassment of riches at the heart of his defence.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "Antolin is fully fit now and it is just about making sure we give him the right introduction back into the team.

"I never wanted for him to play three games in a week when he came back from injury and that set him back a little bit.

"But he is fully fit now, he is working with the team and it is a fantastic time in the season to have Antolin back, alongside the other centre-halves. To have Antolin alongside Sylvain Distin, Phil Jagielka and John Stones is as good as it gets really."

Everton fans have not yet seen the best of Alcaraz, but Martinez is in no doubt that the former Club Brugge man will prove to be a shrewd acquisition.

"I think Antolin, first of all, brings you the experience of being one of the best centre-halves from the World Cup in South Africa and someone who has had an incredible international career with Paraguay and in the Copa Libertadores.

"And the way he has been enjoying his career around Portugal and in Belgium and now in the Premier League.

"His knowledge is immense. He is good in the air, strong and powerful in one versus one situations and defensively he can read the game really, really well.

"But on the ball, he is a modern footballer who plays from the back and can start the play. He is a complete centre-half and fits very well with the other centre-halves we have at the club."

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