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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

Boss: Long Sent A Message

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Roberto Martinez has praised Chris Long for making the most of his first Everton start.

The 19-year-old was handed a chance to stake a claim for a first-team role this season in the Blues' final pre-season friendly at SC Paderborn on Saturday.

And having already pleased his manager in two substitute run-outs this summer, Long produced a moment of real class to open the scoring in an eventual 3-1 defeat.

Dragging the ball away from his marker, the striker, who last season had a loan spell in League One with MK Dons, brilliantly angled his shot away from goalkeeper Lukas Kruse and into the top corner.

"The way Chris took his goal was fantastic," said Martinez afterwards. "The way he showed very clever movement off the ball, I think he showed he's a young man who's asking for a big opportunity in the first team.

"That was a really good positive that we'll take from the game."

Another is that the short trip to Germany allowed the players the opportunity to sample the demands continental competition will put on the squad this term.

From the travel preparations through to training at the stadium the night before, Martinez ensured the trip replicated the schedule of a Europa League contest in as many aspects as possible.

He said: "In terms of a trial for the Europa League, having the opportunity to experiment with a few things, I thought it served its purpose perfectly well so we don't get caught in the first away game of the Europa League.

"It's a scoreline that you wouldn't want to have, but now is the moment to have it."

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