ANTOLIN ALCARAZ is already part of the furniture at Everton after following his manager to Goodison Park this summer, reckons Roberto Martinez.
The Paraguay international defender got his first taste of action for the Toffees as a half-time substitute in Wednesday’s 4-1 friendly win over Accrington Stanley
Alcaraz, 30, had to watch from the sidelines in Vienna on Sunday before making his debut in Lancashire, but Martinez – who recruited him on a free transfer from their former club Wigan earlier this month – is impressed at how quickly he has settled on Merseyside.
“It’s important he got that first game and got to know his team-mates,” said the Catalan. “It feels like he has been with us for a long, long time and he plays with that maturity. That is down to the group of players that we have who have welcomed the new signings really well.
“It’s pleasing to see Antolin settle in really quickly. That’s always a nice sign of a dressing room.”
Everton were supported by 1,600 fans at Accrington – almost half of the game’s total attendance. And Martinez, who proved a hit with fans as he posed for pictures after the final whistle, was delighted with their enthusiasm.
“It’s incredible,” he said. “We had a big support back in Vienna and it was great to see so many passionate faces.
“It’s great to have that interaction with the players.”
Meanwhile, Tony Hibbert hopes the new era at Goodison will herald a positive chapter in his own career. A calf injury which eventually required surgery meant that Hibbert was a frustrated onlooker during the second part of last season. But he is back at full fitness now.
“It’s still early days with our fitness and getting touches of the ball but it was a good performance,” he said. “I am enjoying this pre-season. It’s new and a bit different, it is a new challenge because I only knew David Moyes’ pre-seasons.
“Last season I had my injuries and this is now a chance for me to try and play as much as I can and keep injury free. Hopefully the injuries are behind me.”