Apr 26, 2014 at 12.45pm UK at ​St Mary's Stadium
Alcaraz (1' og.), Coleman (31' og.)
FT(HT: 2-0)

Barry (45'), Osman (62')

Antolin Alcaraz receives Martinez backing

Alcaraz receives Martinez backing
© Getty Images
Everton boss Roberto Martinez tips defender Antolin Alcaraz to shine in the Toffees' remaining Premier League games this season.

Everton boss Roberto Martinez has tipped defender Antolin Alcaraz to shine in the Toffees' remaining Premier League games this season.

With Sylvain Distin and Phil Jagielka ruled out of the trip to Southampton today, the Paraguay international is expected to partner John Stones in the heart of the defence.

The encounter at St Mary's would be only the 31-year-old's third start of the league campaign, but Martinez is convinced that the veteran's experience can aid his side's Champions League qualification ambitions.

He told the Liverpool Echo: "I think Antolin's biggest strength is his mentality. I've seen him many times playing for Paraguay in the worst possible circumstances against the best strikers in world football and he's been able to cope with that with ease.

"He has incredible composure on the ball. I've seen him face Brazilians in the Copa Libertadores. I've seen him score against Italy in the 2010 World Cup which got his country a 1-1 draw.

"He reads the game well, understands the play and he's outstanding in the air. Then he's good in one versus one scenarios so as a defender he has a real advantage on strikers because of those attributes."

The Merseysiders can move into the top-four with a win over the Saints, kickoff for which is scheduled for 12.45pm.

Everton manager Roberto Martinez shows his emotions during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Cardiff City at Goodison Park on March 15, 2014
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