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Inside Info: A Toffee Talks

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Lifelong Everton fan Alex Bentley spills the beans on his beloved Everton ahead of Southampton's trip to Merseyside.

Saints star and Everton flop James Beattie shaking hands with Toffees boss Roberto Martinez
Saints star and Everton flop James Beattie shaking hands with Toffees boss Roberto Martinez
Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Goodison Park is a bit of a bogey ground for Saints. But, with Saints seemingly rediscovering their early season form and Everton still inconsistent as ever, now is as good a time as any to overcome Southampton's hoodoo in the Blue half of Merseyside on Saturday.

We speak to lifelong Toffee Alex Bentley (better known as Bentlegs in battle rap circles) to get the lowdown on Everton ahead of Saints' trip up to Liverpool.

St. Mary's Musings: What were your season expectations before it started and have they changed since?

Alex Bentley: I wasn't blinkered coming in to this season. Last year was incredible, but I knew that this year would be difficult to maintain. Last season there was no pressure. We had a new manager after a long spell under Moyes, and had a great season that nobody really expected.

This year, the added strain of playing in Europe with a limited squad was always going to take its toll. However, my expectations were a lot higher than the position we are in now! Last season we fought for 4th, this season we are fighting for 14th!

SMM: What do you think of Roberto Martinez? Is he under pressure as supposed by the media?

AB: I like the guy. I question the manager sometimes. I like that he is trying to stamp his own style of play into the team... but he doesn't seem to have much of a back up plan if that doesn't work. I think he is under more pressure from the media than he is from his bosses, to be honest. <!-- ######## START FLOATED VIDEO SNIPPET ######## -->

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These days managers have such a short lifespan, and people call for their head if the team loses a few games, and the media jump on that. I'd like to think that behind the scenes they are working on how to go forward, as opposed to working out who can replace him. A lot of people have slagged him off, but all managers need time. He took over an existing squad, and is bringing his own players in now. Players like McCarthy and Besic are the epitome of 'Everton' players for me, so I just hope with a bit of time he builds a team around them.

SMM: Was Romelu Lukaku worth £28million?

AB: I don't think he was worth the money. I said at the time we could get two players for that price tag that wold get the same amount of goals each. I do think he will come good and he is finally hitting a bit of form. A lot of his problems come from not playing to his strengths, though. He isn't a great football player. He runs onto the ball and can put it in the net. That's it. Don't make him go wide, he's no good near the corner flag, or on the halfway line with his back to goal.

With regards to things he has said in the press, I never really pay anything like that any mind to be honest. A lot of those things are blown up and taken out of context. If he wants away, I don't really blame him, but he should prove why a big club needs him by being great for us!

SMM: How bad was James Beattie for you lot?

AB: There used to be a football stuck in the U in the CLUB on the outside of the ground, we always used to joke about it being Beattie's best shot in a blue shirt.

SMM: What is your favourite Everton chant and why?

AB: BARRY HOOOOOOOOOOOORNE!WHO NEEDS CANTONA WHEN WE'VE GOT BARRY HORNE!

It's a golden oldie from the 90s but it still makes me smile these days. Reminds me of when I started going to games as a kid.

Of the modern chants, the 'Oviedo baby!' chant to the tune of Don't You Want Me is probably my favourite, I love that lad, and after he scored the winner at United, it still gives me goosebumps!

SMM: As an outsider, what do you and other Everton fans think of Southampton as a club?

AB: I like Southampton. We are geographically a long way apart, so there's no real rivalry there, which makes it easier to appreciate I guess. Any Everton fans I know seem to look at Southampton as a similar club to ours in recent times. Doing a lot with a little, for want of better phrasing.

You've got some of the best young players coming through and a great manager in Koeman. He seems to have a solid grasp of the Premier League, which probably surprised a few people. It's great to see the Saints back in the Premier League, let alone doing as well as you are, I always think back to the days of Le Tissier and seeing some of the ridiculous goals he scored back in the 90s.

SMM: What did you make of Southampton's summer exodus (mostly to your rivals!)?

AB: Being completely honest... I thought you'd really struggle. But you haven't, and they've flopped haha! It's a credit to your club that players are being snapped up really. It shows how valued and respected you are in terms of building up players. 

SMM: If you could sell any of Everton's starting XI, who would it be and why?

AB: Gareth Barry. He must be incredible in training because he is AWFUL this year. And gets a starting place ahead of better players, which is frustrating. I think we need to change something, but I don't think the starting line up is the main issue: it's what they're doing at times. There is a lot of dead wood at the club, don't get me wrong. But, to be fair, they're not starting very often. 

SMM: If you could sign any Southampton player, who would it be and why?

AB: Jay Rodriguez. I think he could do really well for Everton and fit in quite easily. I like Pelle too, but he seems to have hit a bit of a slump recently. Thinking about it, if Howard is on his way out I'd happily take Forster on to replace him. You've got a few players we could do with!

SMM: Finally, what is your prediction for the game?

AB: Honestly, I have no idea! We are SO inconsistent lately it's hard to predict anything with us these days! I think there will be goals in it. Hopefully more for us than you! I'll go for a score draw.. 2-2.