Why Everton's latest 'gem' is reaping rewards under Roberto Martinez

Roberto Martinez pitchside for Everton

Roberto Martinez has hailed Steven Naismith as a 'gem' after he helped Everton book their place in the FA Cup quarter finals.

Naismith showed an initially promising wing partnership with Steven Pienaar in his debut season at Goodison Park, but the signing Kevin Mirallas just weeks after his own arrival limited the Scotland international's opportunities.

It was feared that Naismith would find himself surplus to requirements following Martinez's appointment as manager of the Toffees over 18 months ago, which was compounded by the £5 million signing of Arouna Kone and Romelu Lukaku's season-long loan capture from Chelsea.

But the 27-year-old is enjoying a new lease of life under the Catalan and has recently gained notoriety as an impact substitute. Naismith's introductions have proved the turning point for Everton's fortunes in both cup competitions and the Premier League.

Earlier this month he inspired the Blues to a 2-1 turnaround against Aston Villa and scored the goal that swung the FA Cup fifth round tie with Swansea City back in the hosts' favour before winning the penalty that ultimately killed off Garry Monk's side with barely 20 minutes remaining.

Everton plan to monitor Naismith's condition ahead of Saturday's trip to Chelsea after he suffered a concussion towards the end of yesterday's clash with the Swans, but Martinez believes that the attacker is flourishing in his new role at Goodison.

"He is a gem of a boy, an incredible footballer and I am just pleased he is enjoying his football," said Martinez.

"He has played in different positions but when he is central he is at his best, he was instinctive, a real threat and he is enjoying his football.

"I want him to carry on doing that. We hope he will be fine and be able to join training this week."

image: © Jon Candy

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