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No new contract talks for Steven Naismith

Martinez praises strike, but no new deal is on the table

Chris Brunskill

Everton manager Roberto Martinez says he is "thankful" to have a player like Steven Naismith in his squad but insists there are no talks imminent over a new deal.

Naismith has 18 months left on the contract he signed in the summer of 2012, the striker moving on a free transfer after his contract at Rangers became obsolete following the Scottish club's liquidation.

Despite the 28-year-old being six months away from entering the final year of his deal on Merseyside, his manager is not planning to discuss an extension - in the near future at least.

"He has a long-term contract. We always want to reward people but he is well rewarded at the moment.

"We have to make sure he continues to enjoy his football and he understands that he is an important player for us."

To me that sounds like a challenge to Naismith, telling him that although his current form is good, he needs to make sure that extends throughout the season before he will be rewarded with a new deal.

It was all so different just a few years ago at the start of his Everton career. He made a difficult start to life at the Toffees, quickly becoming the target of the Goodison boo-boys and was regularly chastised on social media.

It didn't help that he was often deployed out on the right wing by David Moyes, but such was his attitude he refused to complain and diligently set about his task.

After being played in a more central role under Martinez the Scot has been revitalised, rapidly becoming a key component of the side.

He scored nine goals in all competitions last season and has began this campaign in even better form, with four goals in nine appearances so far.

Aside from his goal scoring, his all round work rate and enthusiasm has won over the affection of the supporters, culminating in a standing ovation when he was substituted late on against Aston Villa on Saturday.

Speaking after the game, new contract aside, Martinez was typically effusive in his praise for the Scotland international:

"He has played two very demanding games for Scotland but today his effort and his work-rate was incredible.

"I was pleased to see the reaction of the whole crowd toward him because no-one deserves it more than him.

"It takes time to adapt to a new environment to a new league but he is an impressive performer.

"When you’ve got players who can rely on football intelligence the way he does, he can play so many different roles in so many different ways, we are just thankful that we have him in the squad."

Does Naismith deserve a new deal? Or is martinez right to keep him waiting? Have your say below.