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Stoke City (A) Wed 4 Mar 2015, 19:45, Barclays Premier League

by Hamish Dufton @efchamishdufton

Everton have plenty of coverage in both the national and local papers this morning.

The lead line from today’s Echo is Blues boss Roberto Martinez suggesting midfielder James McCarthy is an Everton captain in waiting. When probed on the prospect of the Republic of Ireland international’s potential skipper credentials, Martinez said, “Maybe one day. He already sets a great example.

“He embraces challenges and wants to help the team while also being humble. The way he’s started has been a joy and he deserves the milestone he has achieved [of reaching 250 senior career appearances at Villa Park].”

Elsewhere in the paper, the Spaniard argues that the disappointment of losing a big-name player can be used as a positive. Martinez cites Sunday’s opponents Tottenham as a good example of that after they reinvested in several top players after selling Gareth Bale.

That line has been picked up by a number of national papers. The Daily Star, Guardian and Daily Express all carry quotes from Martinez suggesting the signings made over the summer make Spurs genuine title contenders.

Those worrying that this could be interpreted as Everton preparing to sell Leighton Baines will have their fears allayed by the piece in the Daily Mirror. Here, Martinez vows to keep hold of the Blues left-back. He also argues that rumours about his players can be seen as a good sign because they suggest those spoken of are doing well.

Rounding up the other Everton snippets, Arouna Kone and Antolin Alcaraz have been backed by their manager to come good following injury-hit starts to their Everton careers in Daily Telegraph, while there is an in-depth feature with Romelu Lukaku in the Daily Mail.

Returning to the Echo, Everton stars Leighton Baines and Seamus Coleman joined hundreds of mourners to say goodbye to Blues fan James Greenop at his funeral.

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