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 By Mike Whalley

Martinez: Vellios needs loan move

Roberto Martinez has warned young striker Apostolos Vellios that a refusal to go out on loan is damaging his Everton career.

Apostolos Vellios has not played for Everton since January.
Apostolos Vellios has not played for Everton since January.

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Vellios enjoyed a run of games, mainly as a substitute, under former Everton boss David Moyes two seasons ago, but he has not played for Everton since January, having appeared in the 18-man matchday squad just five times in 2013.

The Greek forward -- who is out of contract next summer -- has not so much as made the bench once under Martinez this season, and has not figured for the club’s Under-21 side either.

Everton’s manager wants the 21-year-old to go out on loan to gain experience, but Vellios is reluctant to do that, and Martinez told the Liverpool Echo: “As a long-term prospect, I see him with great potential. But in the short term, he needs minutes.

“Going out on loan is something we’re going to assess, but going down the line it comes down to if the player is open to do that, and in the past it doesn’t seem like that was something he was ready to consider.

“Tolos has got the potential to be a terrific number nine. He’s good in the air, strong, powerful and has good link up play and mobility. He’s at the stage now where he needs to be playing 90 minutes.”

Vellios joined Everton for 250,000 pounds from Greek club Iraklis in January 2011, signing a three-and-a-half-year contract.

Having made his debut three months after arriving, the Greece U21 international scored his first goal for the club in a 3-1 Premier League win over Wigan, then managed by Martinez, in September 2011.

He scored against Chelsea and Bolton later that season, but then fell out of favour.

Martinez added: “He’s past the super-sub stage, where he gives something to the team for 10 minutes. Now is the time he needs to start developing his decision making over 90 minutes. If he does that I could see him having a role in the first team.

“We’ll give it time but he needs games. We’ve seen his potential, and in pre-season he’s made sure everyone is aware of that. We hope we can get the next step in his development right.”

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