Everton boss Roberto Martinez is delighted with the competition for places that has developed in his squad and the attitude of those not making the first XI.
The impressive 3-1 Barclays Premier League victory over champions Chelsea at Goodison Park last weekend saw Steven Naismith net a hat-trick having come off the Toffees bench and the likes of
Kevin Mirallas and Gerard Deulofeu stay on it as unused substitutes.
And Martinez said ahead of Saturday’s league trip to Swansea: “I think it’s clear the competition for places we have now we have not had before.
“As a manager you want that. The demands of having to be at your best, or someone else will take your place, allows you to be really competitive.”
In his post-match press conference immediately following the Chelsea game, Martinez praised the focus shown by Naismith after the forward was unexpectedly thrown on inside the opening 10 minutes.
Winger Mirallas, meanwhile, has since spoken of his happiness with the result and willingness to be patient as he works hard to get back in the team.
When asked about that pair ahead of the Swansea match, Martinez said: “What you want in your squad is players with the desire to be in the starting line-up and the focus of being ready for when the opportunity arises.
“That is what we have, and you mention a couple of names there – I could mention another six or seven who are in exactly the same position.
“I’m delighted to look at the squad and, like last weekend, look at the subs bench and feel very confident that whatever happens there are good options.
“I feel the characters we have in the dressing room are hungry and desperate for success and they push each other.”
Seventh-placed Everton have lost only one of their opening five top-flight games this season, a sequence which has also included a fine 3-0 win at Southampton.
“The mentality has been right for a long time and it is just a matter of getting that momentum and consistency,” added Martinez, whose side finished 11th last term.
“The performances we produced against Chelsea and Southampton were great signs and we need to be consistent over the next few games now.”
Full-back Seamus Coleman and midfielder Muhamed Besic both came off in the Chelsea contest due to hamstring problems, but Martinez has reported the duo have reacted well to treatment and are not being ruled out of Saturday’s match in Wales.
If they do not make it, their replacements last weekend – debutant defender Ramiro Funes Mori and Naismith – will be ready to step in again.