Roberto Martinez defends Romelu Lukaku's comments backing Nicolas Anelka

Everton manager Roberto Martinez during his team's Premier League match against Newcastle of September 30, 2013
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Everton boss Roberto Martinez defends Romelu Lukaku's decision to publicly back Nicolas Anelka, who has been charged by the FA for his controversial 'quenelle' gesture.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez has jumped to the defence of Romelu Lukaku following the striker's public backing of West Bromwich Albion forward Nicolas Anelka.

The Belgium international suggested that Anelka's controversial 'quenelle' gesture was "not such a big deal" in an interview with Sky Sports News.

Anelka could face a five-game ban for making the alleged anti-semitic gesture against West Ham United in December after the Football Association charged the player on Tuesday.

"[Lukaku] wanted to just support a teammate, someone who he admires from a young age," BBC Sport quotes Martinez as saying. "He's still a young man.

"Sometimes at that age you can speak with your heart, and you don't realise that support to a human being people will see you supporting certain views. That's not the case. There's been a bit of a misunderstanding."

Anelka has until 6pm this evening to officially respond to the FA charge.

Everton's Romelu Lukaku celebrates after scoring his team's second goal against Newcastle during their Premier League match on September 30, 2013
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