Martinez backs Aaron Lennon for England recall

Everton's Aaron Lennon is in fine form at the moment
Everton's Aaron Lennon is in fine form at the moment
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EVERTON boss Roberto Martinez has no doubt England could still benefit from the services of Aaron Lennon.

The 28-year-old Toffees winger has been in fine form of late and Saturday’s 3-0 Barclays Premier League win at Stoke saw him score for the third game in a row in all competitions.

He has 21 England caps, but has not made an international appearance since February 2013.

Three Lions boss Roy Hodgson was watching Saturday’s match from the stands, and when asked afterwards if he thought Lennon had any chance of making England’s Euro 2016 squad, Martinez said: “Obviously it is not down to me.

“But I get the opportunity to work with Aaron day in, day out, and he is such an important player.

“We all know the quality he brings - the pace, the one v one ability, the work-rate, the understanding - and that experience he has is invaluable.

“There are other players in that position, but I think he is showing he can be of incredible value to any squad, and clearly for his national team, he could be a real help.”

Lennon scored the third goal of a first-half blitz from Everton in which Romelu Lukaku and Seamus Coleman also netted.

Lukaku converted an early penalty awarded for a foul by Jack Butland on Tom Cleverley - another man to last play for England in 2013 who Hodgson might consider calling upon again given current form.

The spot-kick made it 20 goals in all competitions for Lukaku in 2015-16, the second successive season he has reached that mark.

Martinez confirmed the striker had played through the pain after being forced off by a back injury in Wednesday’s win over Newcastle, and was full of praise for the Belgium international.

“He has had injury problems but he doesn’t want to miss games,” Martinez said.

“He only managed to train on Friday slightly but the moment he felt he could walk freely he wanted to be available. It shows the incredible, strong personality he has.

“You run out of compliments you can pay to Rom.

“He lives for the game. He is an old-fashioned footballer, at the age of only 22.

“He just comes in and wants to work on his game constantly. He is a goalscorer who is obsessed with finishing quality.”

While Saturday’s result meant Everton had chalked up three 3-0 wins, including an FA Cup victory, inside the space of a week, it was also Stoke’s third straight league defeat by that scoreline.

With the Potters having recently exited both domestic cup competitions as well, their commendable season looks like it may be petering out.

They have been hampered by injuries at the back, but after another sloppy performance defence-wise, boss Mark Hughes has stressed the need for specific work on that front.

“We are a little bit threadbare at the back, but sometimes you have to help yourselves defensively as well, and that means the whole team has to contribute to that,” he said.

“We have an opportunity this week to get on the training pitch and do some specific work.

“We’ll make sure we get down to the fundamentals, the basics, and get back on track.”