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Martinez hopes for Deulofeu stay

Everton manager Roberto Martinez says Gerard Deulofeu’s quotes about wanting to return to Barcelona were ‘taken out of context’.

Deulofeu signed with Everton on a season-long loan deal at the start of the season and Martinez is keen to keep the 19-year-old at Goodison Park for the 2014/15 Premier League campaign.

Comments made by Deulofeu on Catalunya Radio last week where he stated he is ‘working hard with the aim of returning to Barca next season’ had cast doubts on Martinez’s plan, but the Spanish manager remains hopeful.

“I think he was taken out of context. The interview was on Catalan radio and the question was ‘would you like to play one day for the Barcelona first team?” Martinez told the Liverpool Echo on Monday.

“The answer is going to be, as a Barcelona player who has been there since he was eight, yes because that’s his focus and wish for the future.

“But the interview does not imply he definitely will not remain here next season.

“He never said he’s not enjoying his time at Everton. He has loved the test in the Premier League and being with us.”

Deulofeu has made 15 appearances in the Premier League so far this season, including three starts, while the diminutive forward has scored two goals.

The Catalan-born attacker has only made seven senior appearances for Barcelona and Martinez is convinced Deulofeu has benefited from his time in England.

“We all share the view that nobody will be prouder than every Everton fan, and person connected with Everton, to see Gerard Deulofeu’s career has improved here,” Martinez said.

“We’ve benefited from having his talents with us.

“Our agreement with Barcelona was to have him for one season though and that’s where we are.”

Tue 11 Mar, 2014
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