Everton star makes bold claim about the club's potential in the near future

Everton Goodison

Joel Robles believes the Toffees can return to challenging for a place in the top four within "a year, maybe two".

Everton goalkeeper Joel Robles has made a big statement on the club's future, telling their official website that he fully believes the Toffees can return to challenging to break into the Premier League top four within the next couple of years.

Roberto Martinez's side are currently enduring an underwhelming campaign for a second season in a row, sitting in 12th place after finishing 11th last term.

That represents something of a fall from grace from the Merseyside club, who finished inside the top six in five of David Moyes' 11 full seasons in charge and broke into the top four in 2004-05.

However, with stars such as Romelu Lukaku and Ross Barkley in their side, Robles in confident that the good times can return to Goodison Park sooner rather than later, and believes it is well within their grasp to return to challenging for a place in Europe.

He told the club's website: "I believe we will be up challenging in the top four. That could be in a year, maybe two, but I am sure we can be right up there.

"We are in a learning process at the moment. The squad is very young and it is normal for there to be a process of learning.

"It is important for us to learn but I am sure that this team can fight for the Champions League places."

Robles has been a solid performer in recent weeks for the club since replacing Tim Howard as first-choice goalkeeper, and admitted he is relieved to be playing regular football once again.

However, Everton have struggled to find consistency under Martinez this season, and have won just four of their last 15 Premier League matches since mid-November.

However, they did book a first FA Cup semi-final spot in four years with a 2-0 victory over Chelsea at Goodison Park at the weekend to ensure that at least one trip to Wembley will brighten their season.

The Toffees could move into the top half of the table if they can beat faltering Arsenal at home on Saturday.

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