Everton boss Martinez eagerly awaiting 'massive' Merseyside derby

The Spaniard will get his first taste of the Toffees' rivalry with Liverpool when the two sides meet on Saturday, and expects the match to be the most heated he has experienced
Everton manager Roberto Martinez is looking forward to his first Merseyside derby and believes Saturday's Premier League clash with Liverpool could be the most intense of his managerial career.

The 40-year-old, who could have been in the opposite dugout had he accepted Liverpool owner John W. Henry's offer to succeed Kenny Dalglish in 2012, moved to Goodison Park after stints with Swansea and Wigan.

Martinez took part in hard-fought south Wales derbies against Cardiff with the Swans, but says nothing he has experienced is likely to come close to matching the atmosphere of Saturday's encounter.

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“It is a massive game. First and foremost it’s a glamorous fixture. It’s one of those that is followed worldwide,” said the Spaniard.

“The significance, passion and history is reflected in the game. I know the Merseyside derby is quite unique and special. I don’t think it can be compared to any other in world football.

“I have experienced derbies – the South Wales derby would be one that is full of passion.

“There have been many local clashes where you could see passion, but I don’t think they will be anywhere near what is going to happen on Saturday.”

Martinez revealed that the Everton backroom staff have been filling him in on what to expect from the match, but is adamant that the points on offer are more important than earning bragging rights.

“I have heard many stories, especially from the boys in the kit room, about the history and the intensity of the occasion,” he added.

“They mentioned the feeling of having the red and the blue spread out in the city and through families and the workplace. It’s part of the daily life of every football fan in the city and it is historic.

“But this derby is more important as it has that football significance. Both teams are in the top six.

“The derby is always important but the points will be even more important. It’s as good as a football game can get.”