Everton boss Roberto Martinez explains why he hasn't used Gerard Deulofeu much this season

Everton manager Roberto Martinez says that he is preparing to give Gerard Deulofeu greater first-team opportunities in the near future.

Roberto Martinez has suggested to Everton's official Youtube channel that Gerard Deulofeu is ready to play a big part for the club this season.

The Spanish winger is yet to start a match since signing a permanent deal at Goodison Park, with all five of his appearances being as a substitute so far. 

However, Martinez has suggested that Deulofeu is now fully up to speed and should see an increase in his first-team minutes over the coming weeks and months. 

"Gery had a set-back when we played Arsenal in the Asia Trophy. Gery hasn't played much football since January, but I feel now that he is ready," Martinez said.

"His performance against Swansea City showed that. He came through half an hour with a lot of defensive duties and responsibility, and then he showed that bright spark. He's ready to slowly be introduced this season and have a strong ending to the campaign.

"I always wanted him to know how important he is to the team, but also know that he will have to earn every minute he plays on the pitch."

Deulofeu's arrival at Everton this season was greeted with great excitement, as he was already established as a fans' favourite with the Merseyside club.

The 21-year-old spent the 2013/14 season on loan with the Toffees, where he impressed with his wonderful dribbling ability. 

His start to life this time around may not have been quite as impressive, but it seems that Martinez still has big plans for the trickster. 

Everton's next game comes against Reading in the Capital One Cup on Tuesday, where Deulofeu could be in line for his maiden start of the new campaign. 

Register for EVERTON team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch