November 8, 2017 / 9:10 AM / a year ago

Belgium boss Martinez backs struggling Mirallas to regain form

(Reuters) - Everton midfielder Kevin Mirallas can rediscover his form during the international break after being selected for Belgium’s next two friendlies, national team manager Roberto Martinez has said.

FILE PHOTO - Soccer Football - Everton vs Sevilla - Pre Season Friendly - Liverpool, Britain - August 6, 2017. Everton's Kevin Mirallas. Action Images via Reuters/Ed Sykes

Mirallas, who missed just three of Everton’s Premier League games last season, has been relegated to a secondary role this campaign, starting once and making three substitute appearances in their opening 11 league fixtures.

Despite his poor start, the 30-year-old has been selected for Belgium’s friendlies against Mexico on Friday and Japan on Tuesday.

“First and foremost we need to help him,” Martinez is quoted as saying by Sky Sports. “Kevin Mirallas is a winner and at the moment he’s going through a little bit of a difficult time and we need to understand him and try and give him a bit of support.

“From that point on he’s got an opportunity to impress and go back to performing in the way that he can. It’s been difficult; I know the situation inside-out.

“... It’s important now that he can have a little bit of new start with the international team. When he finishes he needs to go back and make sure he finds his best in the first XI.”

Everton have had an underwhelming start to season as they are 15th in the league and knocked out of the League Cup and Europa League.

Martinez was convinced Mirallas can help the team halt their slump.

“Kevin is an experienced footballer now and he needs to act in that manner and all he wants is to become available for his club and fight for Everton and try to help the team off the pitch,” Martinez added.

“I just saw him before, he’s in a good frame of mind and now I think the period with the national team is a good opportunity for him to show what he can do.”

Everton travel to bottom side Crystal Palace in the league on Nov. 18.

Reporting by Aditi Prakash in Bengaluru; editing by Amlan Chakraborty

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