The 29-year-old Dutch centre-back played under Moyes for four years since he arrived at Goodison Park from Atletico Madrid in 2009. He paid tribute to the former manager but admitted he was enjoying Martinez’ style and philosophy both in games and in training.
"Moyes created a lot at Everton, on a smaller scale it may be a bit similar to what Ferguson had done at Manchester United. The first team now has a completely new coaching staff and many new players," he explained.
“During training we do everything with the ball, much is being done with playmaking. Martinez's Spanish influences are seen immediately. He is a fan of the way Barcelona play and the Dutch School. He tries to unite. The combination football that Everton are now playing, I think it's a pleasant change."
Moyes’ style and philosophy served the Toffees well over the years but the arrival of Martinez from Wigan is indeed a welcome change – on the eye if nothing else. Martinez’ free-flowing possession-based system is focused on ball retention, passing and movement more than Moyes’ more direct, counter-attacking and physical approach to the game.
Heitinga also explained in the same interview that Martinez’ welcome and ‘pleasant change’ of style and philosophy is a reversion to his development as a boy at Ajax where total football is a major part of the identity of the club and national team in Holland.
Heitinga came through the academy system in Amsterdam after joining as a 7-year-old boy in 1990. He spent 18 years with Ajax, winning two Eredivisie titles and the Johan Cruyff Shield four times. The Dutch master had departed from the Dutch capital just two years prior to Heintinga’s arrival at the academy but his ideas and brand of football undoubtedly remains imprinted on the club even today.
Martinez, meanwhile, served former club Wigan admirably over his four-year spell with the club who were relegated but won the FA Cup last term. Prior to that he had been in charge at Swansea and, whilst Brendan Rodgers (now of Liverpool) had taken all the plaudits for his impact on the style and system at the Liberty Stadium, he hadn’t in fact re-invented the wheel, and much of the team’s foundation came from Martinez’ two years with the Swans.
image: © illarterate