Could the young Spaniard take over from Tim Howard in the same way he did with Ali Al-Habsi last season?
Last year there was a brief moment in time when Ali Al-Habsi was being linked with big money moves to some of the Premier League’s biggest and best.
After an excellent start to the campaign with Wigan Athletic the Oman international captain was linked with January moves to both Liverpool and Arsenal.
At the same time another goalkeeper in the North West was starting to receive criticism from his fans and the odd pundit. Tim Howard was having a difficult start to the season. While not making any blatant mistakes he was also not exactly inspiring confidence and fans started to wonder whether a lack of competition had made the US stopper over-confident of his place in the team.
Fast forward to the end of the season and Howard had found some of his form again and Al-Habsi was watching from the side-lines as an upstart Spaniard took his place between the sticks in the FA Cup Final; football, it’s a funny old game.
But could history repeat itself; and Joel usurp his new clubs undisputed number one?
23-year-old Joel may have been signed as back-up after Jan Mucha’s departure but he is not going to be keen on it staying that way; and in the current circumstances you could possibly envision him taking over.
Howard has lost his trusted goalkeeping coach Chris Woods to Manchester United. The former England international was so important to Howard he was even given the role of goalkeeper coach with the US men’s soccer team.
Now Everton’s new goalkeeping coach is Inaki Bergara; a Spaniard who has worked closely with Joel at the DW Stadium.
The style of play Martinez wants to implement may also play a key role. If he wants to play a game which sees passing from the back over long goal-kicks then Joel is his man.
We all know Howard can boot a ball, just ask Adam Bogdan, but when it comes to knocking the ball around the back he lacks the composure compared to the new Spanish pretender.
In terms of shot-stopping ability there is little to choose between the pair but given all the other factors to take into consideration I would not be surprised at all if Joel did to Howard what he did to Al-Habsi last season; and wrestle the number one spot away from him.
Do you think Joel could be Everton’s number one stopper next term?
image: © NathanF