400 up Osman a credit to Everton
It speaks volumes about loyalty in modern day football that, since the induction of the Premier League, only two Everton players have broken into the all time top twenty record appearance holders for the Toffees.
Which is why Leon Osman notching 400 appearances in the Royal Blue shirt should be looked upon with pride by everyone associated with the club.
Since making his first team debut in the 4-3 defeat to Tottenham Hostpur back on 12 January 2003, Osman has become a stalwart within both previous Toffees boss David Moyes’ and current manager Roberto Martinez’s matchday squads despite being routinely hung out to dry as ‘one of the boo boys’ at times by a small minority of Evertonians.
In spite of his lack of physical attributes, the 33 year old has amassed 400 appearances, as well as 56 goals, so far after graduating from Everton’s academy at the turn of the 21st century, and certainly proves the view that Osman possesses the talent required to play at the highest level of the English game.
Techincally sound, with a deft touch and the ability to spin out of trouble with first class close control of the ball, hard working, resilient, feisty, intelligent and energetic have all been used to describe one of Everton’s most trusted performers, and his loyalty and fight for the cause have been demonstrated in seasons gone by when the diminutive midfielder has played through the pain barrier to aid the Blues in times of injury crises, even if it was to the detriment of his own personal performance on the pitch.
There would be much debate amongst football fans in general, let alone Evertonians, about the criteria required that would enable a footballer to be deemed a ‘legend’ but, regardless of this, Osman’s milestone of 400 appearances for Everton should be applauded by Blues fans across the globe.
Naismith injury could be blessing for Barkley
It was unquestionably frustrating to see Steven Naismith stretchered from the field of play, at the weekend, with a suspected hamstring strain, especially with the manner in which Everton’s injury list has grown in recent weeks.
However, the possibility of Ross Barkley now being able to play in his natural position, the traditional number 10 role behind the striker, does allow for some form of comfort.
The 20 year old, who had missed the first two months of the season with a knee ligament injury sustained on the eve of the current Premier League season, has had to make do playing in an unorthodox wing position for Everton in recent weeks due to the form of Naismith and the preference of manager Roberto Martinez to play veteran Samuel Eto’o in behind Romelu Lukaku in certain matches.
The injury to Naismith though, plus the careful management of 33 year old Eto’o to keep him fresh throughout the course of the campaign, will allow Barkley the opportunity to re-ignite the fruitful partnership that he and Lukaku exhibited during the 2013/14 season.
The old cliché states that football is a squad game, and it is imperative for both the Toffees and Barkley himself that the England international is given a run of fixtures in his preferred position and, in turn, boost the form, fitness and confidence of one of England’s brightest young talents ahead of the hectic Christmas footballing fixture list.