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Where have all the "hard men" gone?

ESPN FC & Howler

Apostolos Vellios exits Everton

Out-of-contract striker Apostolos Vellios has left Everton after failing to make a single appearance for the club all season.

Manager Roberto Martinez has confirmed the exit of the 22-year-old, who last played for the club in January 2013.

Out-of-contract striker Apostolos Vellios has left Everton.

The Greece under-21 international was recalled early from a loan spell at Championship side Blackpool in late April, having made only two appearances for them in a month.

His contract will expire at the end of June, and Everton have agreed to release him so that he can find another club.

Martinez told Everton's website: "I think it's been a disappointing season for him but he's always had a terrific attitude and always a real desire to try to work hard for the team.

"He's probably in a position now where, at a very young age still, he needs a new challenge and a new environment to show what he can do.

"We wish him well and I'm sure every Evertonian will follow me with that." Vellios joined Everton from Greek side Iraklis Thessaloniki on January 2011 for 250,000 pounds, and made his most significant impact during the 2011-12 season, when he scored three times in 13 Premier League appearances.

Back-up goalkeeper Mason Springthorpe, 19, has also left Everton.

The only out-of-contract permanent member of the first-team squad whose future remains to be decided is right-back Tony Hibbert, the club's longest-serving player.

Hibbert, 33, played just three minutes of league football during the season just completed -- as a substitute in the 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Feb. 1 -- although Martinez indicated at the start of May that he would like to offer the defender a new contract.


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