Cuco Martina has reflected on the ‘great chance’ that was thrown his way when Sam Allardyce arrived as manager at Everton and he’s pleased to have seized that opportunity.
Despite operating in an unfamiliar left-back spot, the Curacao international has played every minute in the Premier League campaign since Allardyce arrived at Goodison Park, and whilst being delighted that he was able to seize that ‘great chance’ when it was handed to him, he was also full of praise for the backroom staff that had worked on his game in recent times.
The 28-year-old told the Official Site that whilst he had thanks for Allardyce giving him the shot, he also had to pick out Duncan Ferguson and Sammy Lee for working with him behind the scenes to improve his individual game.
Ferguson has worked with him on the training pitch to improve his left foot, and to good effect with him having a hand in creating goals for Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Oumar Niasse in our last two matches and assistant Sammy Lee has taken the lead in studying match footage with him to improve his positional sense and other parts of his game on the unnatural flank.
‘The manager gave me a great chance and I took it with both hands. The first few games at left-back were a bit difficult for me. But the more games you play on the left side, you can change your way of standing and way of defending. I do some extra training with Duncan to train my left foot so I can use it more because I know I can. Sammy Lee shows me a lot of videos of myself, some things I can change and do much better. And the good things, too. He has shown me different views on a lot of things.’
With Allardyce saying recently that Martina had done an ‘exceptional job’ filling in for the injured Leighton Baines following his calf injury, Martina admitted the confidence and belief shown in him had helped him raise his game.
‘I am training a lot on crosses with my left foot and you could see in the past two games they were okay! I practice every day and hope I can continue like this. I heard that also (Allardyce`s praise). He gave me my chance and I work really hard. I think he saw a way of working for me and he has a lot of confidence in me. That helps a player. If you hear good things, it gives you more power to fight more.’
Martina went on to say about Allardyce’s style as manager.
‘With a different coach, you do not always know what he wants or likes. But, from the first moment he came, he was very clear with everybody. The way he wanted to work and how everybody needed to be. The West Ham game helped me as well, because we won for the first time in a while – we won 4-0 and kept that clean sheet. He is really clear to everybody. Not only to me, but to everybody – even if you do not play. And that clarity helps me a lot, because I need to do my job right.’