When Blue Kipper Met Roberto Part 2
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Blue Kipper met Roberto Martinez for the second time this season at the first team canteen at Finch Farm for an interview with Everton Fans.

Monsieur Bleu represented Blue Kipper. Also around the table were Paul from Toffeeweb, Graham and Phil from When Skies are Grey, Dave from NSNO, Joe from SOS1878, Barry from Footyscene and Ped from Followtonians.

The questions were asked by all the group, and some questions were duplicated, so I've edited into a few parts as it was such a long interview, so that nothing is missed.

Everton made us welcome with a laid back approach we sat in a circle with a cup of coffee. We took turns to ask questions. It lasted over an hour and a half.

This is Part 2 - Click here for Part 1

Question: Regarding the pre-season, have you purposely left it late to announce details because we weren't sure if we were going to be playing champions league, europa league or otherwise? 

Roberto: Yes. There are two parts in the preseason, the first part has been clear for a long long time. The second part was depending on if we were to play in the second qualifying round of the europa league. Now we're clear that, if everything goes well at the weekend, we can only be involved in one qualifying round in the case that Hull City wins the FA cup. If not, we go straight to the group stages. Those three cases are still there. So until that is sorted we can't really decide which of the three options we have for the preseason. In the preseason we always have a period of six days away from finch farm, we know we're coming back on the 10th, we know we're going away on the 14th. Its just a training camp, and then there are three options. After the FA cup final we'll be able to announce it to the fans. 

Question: Is that one of the parts of the job that you enjoy here? Maybe if you were at another club, it wouldn't really matter when qualification starts, you would have to go on a tour to America lets say for commercial reasons. 

Roberto: I think there are two options in life, not just in football. One - always hoping for the thing you haven't got: if you've got a tour you want to stay at home, and if you're staying at home you want to travel. If you've got thirty players you want fifteen, if you've got fifteen you want thirty. Or, embrace what you are and what you've got, and then just work around that. We are an incredible football club, and I'm quite happy to be a little bit flexible with the second part of the preseason, everything is very much in place for each of the three options. I'm not one of those that's always looking and thinking the grass is greener elsewhere. We did enjoy the tournament last year in the USA it was terrific, and I think if we could go there again - I don't think it will happen this season - but in seasons to come I think its something that would be a priority for us. I did think that that preparation, in terms of the games programme, was fantastic. The first part of the season, I like always to do it around Switzerland or Austria. That sort of environment where you've got nice weather, you can do three sessions a day, you've got no games. And then the second part is more about the games programme, and we've got a few options already on the table and it will be exciting. Remember that we've got the Leon Osman testimonial on the weekend of the 9th August, and that's going to be a big occasion. 

Question: Who will that be against? 

Roberto: We've got a few options. We won't be able to announce it because its Leon's committee that is working on that. As long as they bring good opposition its ok. 

Question: How's Bryan Oviedo doing? Do you expect him to make the world cup? 

Roberto: Well, if you'd asked the medical department on day one they'd have said no way. Then with each week, he's been telling everyone - "I'm going to be fit", "I'm going to be fit". And now he's been called up by Costa Rica in their first thirty names that they've put together. We're very happy with the way he's been recovering. Nobody knows if he's going to be ready or not. The reality is, now, he's not ready yet to participate in football games. 

Question: I understand you're going to the world cup with ESPN. Do you see that as an opportunity to scout players? 

Roberto: Yes. Well that and its an excuse to my wife! In the world cup, world football goes into one place which is fantastic, for everything, for business, to talk to scouts, to get a lot of references. I did that in South Africa and it was terrific to see - one, the players, but also the preparation of different cultures. Remember that we have a multicultural league here, and its important to know how they concentrate on international football, how they work. For example, south american teams, they like to share rooms, they have two or three players in one room. European teams, they would feel insulted by that, it has to be single rooms. Its fascinating and I love it. I watch most of the teams when I'm there. In Brazil it will be impossible because of the distances, but I'm going to watch four or five teams and then all the games. Working with ESPN you have access to all the games, so I'm really looking forward to it. 

Question: Who do you think will win the world cup?

Roberto: If it were in Europe, I couldn't see a winner away from Germany or Spain. I know with Spain a little but, this older generation are finding it difficult. But its in south america, and I can't see anyone winning it apart from a south american team. Its not about the level, its how they're going to adapt to the conditions, the way football is played there. Brazil have to be favourites in that respect. Even Uruguay or Argentina, they could come good. Its going to be fascinating from that point of view, I watched the Confederations Cup last season and Spain couldn't cope with Brazil. Just because of the conditions, they press high up, normally they play through them and they couldn't, they couldn't get their second wind. That's why I think its so unpredictable this world cup. The unknown quantity of Belgium. They've been very lucky in the draw, so they've got some good games and I think they could grow into the tournament. We know that they are world class individuals - are they a team yet? It's a big question mark. Argentina - can Messi reach his best level. Being played in Brazil, I think it will be difficult for anyone to reach the level of Brazil. 

Question: You brought Arouna Kone to the club last summer, obviously you have a lot of faith in his ability. Obviously this season has been something of a write off for him, I think he's only started one or two games. I'm conscious of the fact that Romelu Lukaku may not be here next season. Do you think that Kone can be the player that can score fifteen or twenty goals and maybe replace Lukaku's goals next season?

Roberto: I think Arouna will be a real success at Everton. I think the fans will see the player that we have. As you say its been a disaster of a season for him. At one point we were very fearful, if he could come back, it was such a bad injury. The miniscus and the cartilage in the knee - he lost a big part of it. The surgery was very successful but it was touch and go, it was one of those surgeries that can go either way. Now he's running, he's a great number nine, a fantastic target man with the technical ability to hold up play, but link up play as well. He's a good finisher. I think he's going to be a massive asset, and the fans will see the player that we have. But I wouldn't like to have one or the other, I would like to have Romelu and Arouna, I think there's space for both! 

Question: In relation to that then, obviously Lukaku is clearly an immense talent, I think he's scored thirty premier league goals in the past two seasons. I think some Evertonians are torn as to whether he would be worth a significant investment. Do you think that he would be worth an investment of say twenty million plus? 

Roberto: I think he would. The reason is, you're not going to get a number nine with the qualities that Romelu has. Remember when you speak about a number nine, you get a player that is quick facing the opposition, or the one that is a presence and strong with his back to goal. Romelu is strong with his back to goal, he's an incredibly powerful boy in one v one situations when he takes on a defender. He can link up play. He's good in the air. He can finish with his left, he can finish with his right. He's only twenty. As you say he's scored thirty goals in the last twelve months, he's played now in different environments. He's already experienced a big transfer fee, so its not something where you say if you invest a big amount, maybe he will change the way he plays - he's been through that, and maybe he's learnt from that. For me it would be well worth investing a big amount of money. Will that be a possibility? We don't know, because you've got the player, you've got the parent club, there are many things that are going to play a part. When I speak about Romelu, he's been such an incredible footballer for Everton. Whatever happens in the future, that memory will be for him and for the fans. 

Question: You brought in Traore as well. Has he sufficiently impressed you to warrant another season? 

Roberto: He has, and I hope that he's fit for Sunday, so he can be involved. Because its quite unique, what Lacina brings. When you see a tall guy like him, you don't expect him to be coordinated enough to be technically so in control of the ball. I've been very impressed with Lacina. It's a shame he's had a hamstring problem - that is a concern, and has been an ongoing concern. Maybe its something that, as a player, you always need to be aware of in the future. But as a footballer, with that size, that pace, and the way that he is as a footballer, I think he would be a perfect fit for us for the future. 

Question: How has he adapted to his new surroundings? 

Roberto: Really well. The first time that he watched a game at Goodison he just fell in love. At the time he told his agent - I love the club already, I want to play here. And then when he played against Swansea he scored, and obviously when, as a striker, you start a game and you score, that's a perfect introduction. The warm up at Chelsea was such a disappointment, because we work all week in certain aspects, and he was excited, he was ready. Before the game you could see Samuel Eto'o and Willian were very weary of his quality, they were talking about it with the defenders, they were concerned about what he could bring. And that's a great sign, when you see that respect between the players, and then he got the injury. I think that Lacina has got the potential to be a really important player for us. He's trained really well this week. We'll see if he can be involved on Sunday. I think the next few days are going to tell us if that's a possibility.  

Question: Its been a very successful campaign obviously, despite us just missing out on the Champions League. How do you see us evolving next season? 

Roberto: Well, I still think that the group of players we have now, they haven't reached their full potential, and that excites me. When you look at how we can fulfil that potential, I look at our performances this season and think - can we break teams down? Yes we can. Can we be well organised and hit teams on the counter and be strong? Yes we can. Can we go away from home and be arrogant enough to play against the top teams and be ourselves? Yes, we've done that. All the signs are there. Then I'm looking at John Stones, Ross Barkley, James McCarthy, Seamus Coleman - very young players that are just going to get better and better. As long as we don't lose our experienced players, I'm very excited. We need to look at performing exactly the same, with european demands. I would be delighted if we can replicate what we've done this season, with success in europe. I would consider success in europe getting through the group stages, getting into the second round and seeing how we react in those circumstances. But we are getting consistently stronger, which is something that's going to give us a great future.

Part 3 will be on the site early next week. For Part 1 Click here

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Comments about When Blue Kipper Met Roberto Part 2
Win, he appeared to me to be sincere. He looks you in the eye when speaking and seems to be genuinely glad to be talking to you. His tone was very respectful and humble - this was quite striking given that he was only talking to us 'mere' fans. I do feel he has immersed himself in the club and its values, he loves the school of science concept - you'll read more about this in the rest of the interview. He'll make mistakes I'm sure but I feel we're very lucky to have someone so intelligent, passionate & articulate, who really seems to get that this is a special club.
Monsieur Bleu, Liverpool, 1:42 PM 15/05/2014
Can remember the doubts and negatives with El bobs appointment last year!!!! I wonder what his take on that has been....? Guess he has won everyone over but hey, we all know how fickle football is...I believe he is always thinking, planning, and is sooooooo intelligent football wise...we are lucky to have him!!!!!!! Hope the everton lads have a cracking World Cup.
Wrighty, Dudley, 8:12 AM 15/05/2014
In the transposition of this article it appears that Roberto has fallen in love with our club.His use of words that convey a personal attraction to all things Everton seem to pepper his answers. Any chance that M. Bleu can give an opinion on his sincerity and whether he feels that he now is immersed in our club and is fully engaged with our values and traditions.
Win, Stafford, 12:32 PM 14/05/2014
The man is pure class.
Tony, Stoneycroft, 12:10 PM 14/05/2014
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