Everton manager Roberto Martinez insists he has had no personal issues with Sylvain Distin after promising the French defender a chance to say farewell to Goodison Park at the weekend.
The 37-year-old is out of contract in the summer and has been frozen out in the second half of the season and forced to play with the under-21s after last featuring in a Premier League match day squad on January 31.
However, Martinez said the Frenchman, who did not attend the club’s annual awards on Wednesday night but was apparently photographed at an event in Cannes the following day, would be given the opportunity to end his career in front of home fans, providing “the game allows it”.
“Sometimes as a manager you have a tough job to make decisions for the good of the team and that happens in every dressing room,” Martinez told the Liverpool Echo.
“You don’t have anything personal with any player – all you want is what’s good for the team.
“Sometimes you have the advantage of being neutral when you make decisions and other times you have to make tough calls. That’s part of the manager’s job.”
Martinez added at his press conference ahead of Sunday’s visit of Tottenham: “He has had a bit of an illness in the last two or three days.
“We will assess him and if he is available he will have an opportunity just to give his farewell to the fans.
“It has been a tough season and it is fair to say it hasn’t quite worked out this season.
“It is quite easy to see what a great servant he has been to the club in the last five seasons.
“Last campaign he was immaculate with his performances and he deserves the opportunity to give his final farewell – if the game allows it against Spurs.”
Fellow defender Antolin Alcaraz, five years younger, is also out of contract but he will not be fit to make an appearance. His future is in doubt, as is that of 21-year-old Luke Garbutt whose current deal only has a month left to run.
“We all know Luke is a young man who has been part of a very successful story, an academy graduate who has been given a chance in the first team,” added Martinez.
“He is not 100 per cent (certain) yet on what he wants to do and that is something we have to respect.
“We made an offer and we want to keep him. We always felt we put in a good program in order to develop him and we have future ideas to take him to the next level but the player needs to be fully on board on that.
“He hasn’t made his mind up in that respect but we will find out very soon.”
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