Roberto Martinez sends hard warning to Everton players ahead of Wembley date

The Toffees boss has said that his players must prove their worth to the cause if they are to get the chance to feature in the FA Cup semi-final.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has sent a stark warning to his players after the limp defeat against Arsenal, telling reporters, as quoted by the Liverpool Echo, that individuals must prove to him that they are worth a spot at Wembley.

The Toffees surrendered meekly to the Gunners at Goodison Park on Sunday, conceding an opener to Danny Welbeck after just seven minutes and allowing the game to be virtually killed off just before half-time.

Whilst their league form, particularly at home, has been uninspiring to say the least, Martinez's side have reached a first FA Cup semi-final in four years thanks to Romelu Lukaku's brace leading them to a 2-0 victory over Chelsea in the quarter-final last weekend.

That victory set up a Wembley date for the squad to look forward to, but Martinez has warned his players that they must show that they can help to "drive Everton forward" if they are to be considered to feature in the club's biggest match of the season.

The Spanish boss told reporters, as quoted by the Echo: "I know there’s been a lot of talk about the semi-final but every game is vitally important. Unless you can show you are a player to drive Everton forward, it will be difficult to see how you can stay in the side.

"We have got eight games to play for in the league. Every game has got an important meaning for different reasons individually and the players’ careers and as a team, and clearly we are not going to through any game with no meaning being at Everton.

"The competition for places is as good as it’s ever been. The focus and the work has been terrific, that is why I couldn’t see this performance coming. That is the most hurtful part of it."

Not only is glory in the FA Cup the Toffees' only possibility of silverware this season, but it may even be the only chance to salvage what has otherwise been a hugely underwhelming campaign.

The club currently sit in 12th place in the Premier League table and are 12 points off a Europa League spot with just nine matches to go, although they hold at least one game in hand over most of their rivals.

After the upcoming international break, which Martinez called a "distraction" to his players, the Merseyside club travel to Manchester United as they look to get their season back on track following the latest setback.

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