Former Everton striker Victor Anichebe has labelled Roberto Martinez a “toxic” manager and believes the club would be taking a backwards step by returning to the now-Belgium head coach.
The Toffees are on the hunt for a new permanent manager after Rafa Benitez was axed last week following a string of poor results that has the club just two places above the relegation zone.
The Spaniard was an unpopular appointment in the summer given his affiliation to Merseyside rivals Liverpool, and he was ultimately unable to shift opinion on the terraces having lasted just six months in the Goodison Park hotseat.
A whole host of names have now entered the frame for the vacant position, including former Everton forward Wayne Rooney, who is currently producing miracles at Derby County, as well as an ex-manager in the form of Martinez.
The 48-year-old took over from David Moyes in 2013 and guided the club to fifth in the Premier League during his maiden campaign. However, successive 11th-placed finishes ultimately saw the Spaniard dismissed in 2016, and Anichebe thinks the club would be foolish to bring him back.
“I’ve heard Martinez has been linked with the Everton job… is this some kind of joke?” he told Sky Sports.
“He finished fifth in his first season with David Moyes’ team. People don’t remember what happened before. There were protests to get him out of the club. You’re going from one toxic situation to another.”
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Anichebe featured just once under Martinez, coming in first game of the 2013/14 season away to Norwich, before he was ultimately sold to West Bromwich Albion for £6m just a few weeks later.
Despite Martinez finishing in the bottom half of the Premier League table in 2015/16, he did manage to guide Everton to semi-final appearances in both domestic cups that season, losing out to Manchester United in the FA Cup, and Manchester City in the League Cup.