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Martinez insists that Mirallas is part of Everton's long-term plans

Manager says Belgian is not leaving in January

Philipp Schmidli/Getty Images

Everton's manager Roberto Martinez said today that Kevin Mirallas continues to be an integral part of the team and is in his long term plans for the team. Martinez insisted that resting him and Aaron Lennon was an attempt to rest both players and prevent injury.

The 28 year old winger, who signed a new three-year deal earlier this season in August, has been linked with a move out of Goodison Park after seemingly falling out of favor with Martinez in recent weeks.

While fans were more bemused with the squad announcement for the match against Stoke City, the manager insisted that he there was method to his madness with the Blues playing two games in three days, and a further seven games coming up in January.

Martinez  said -

"I wouldn't say it's a pivotal month for him. What's been important is for Kevin to keep himself fit and working hard.

"The little niggles he had at the start of the season stopped him from being at his very best but against Newcastle he was sharp.

"Playing two games in three days was something we had to be very aware about.

"But Aaron Lennon and Kevin being two sprinters meant we had to protect them. They both bring something very different. Clearly we have real strength and numbers.

"But they both had to take their opportunities against Newcastle and they both did that.

"They will play an important role in January but it's important for us all as a team."

The manager then went on to say that he truly thought that the Blues can finally put a good run together once they resolve their defensive issues, something fans have been screaming and yelling about for the last two seasons now.

"We just need to stop conceding the goals we are and giving points away softly.

"We're halfway through the season and if we have change of mindset we can really take advantage of the second half."