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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League


Antolin Alcaraz is happy to let manager Roberto Martinez be the judge of when he is ready to make a first competitive appearance for Everton.

The Paraguay defender was Martinez’s first signing when he agreed to join on a free transfer in July.

However he is yet to debut for his new club, with a groin injury blighting the first four months of his Everton career.

The 31-year-old recently completed 45 minutes of action in a behind-closed doors friendly and has since been stepping up his recovery programme at Finch Farm.

But even with the frenzied Christmas schedule approaching, Alcaraz refused to put a timescale on when he believes he will be ready to make a long overdue bow.

He told evertontv: “I’m just working hard now to make sure I’m fully fit because I want to give the coach one more option and fight for a place in the team. My focus is on training and to build my confidence back up to normal.   

“For the moment, I’m only thinking about accumulating as much training as possible. The coaches will decide when I’m ready to play games – it’s their job. My job is to do my best in every training session and get in my best condition to help the team.

“I’m going to try my best to get back because it’s been a long time but I hope to play my first game for Everton very soon.”

Alcaraz arrived at Goodison Park with the reputation as a ball-playing defender who possesses a cultured left foot.

He accepts that even when he is at peak physical condition it will be a tough ask to break into the side and display his capabilities.

Everton recorded their sixth shut-out of the campaign against Fulham at the weekend.

Alcaraz added: “The team has been playing really well and they have made a lot of clean sheets. But there have been good performances throughout the whole team, not just in defence.

“It’s going to be difficult to find a place in the team because everybody has been playing really well. There are good players but everybody must do their job and the coach it’s going to decide who plays.

“We have a very strong team and every week players have been coming in and doing well. It’s going to be fantastic this year if we carry on like this.”

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