It is time for the Osman-doubters (a sub-section of Evertonians whose membership is largely the same as the Hibbo-haters) to admit they got it wrong. Leon Osman has developed into a class player, well worth his place in the team. In the second half of this season, he has probably been our best player.
His strengths are his control, first touch, ability to keep the ball in congested areas and a little bit of a shimmy when he starts dribbling to create himself a bit of space. Attributes he shares with Barcelona's Andres Iniesta.
Of course comparisons between the two are unfair ? on Ossie. If he played for Barca, every time he got knocked over, he'd get a free kick and be seen as a protected species, have it much easier, and be able to show a lot more of what he's got. But playing for Everton, he can't buy a free-kick when big midfield bruisers from Stoke and Blackburn sit him on his arse. If he got the same treatment as Iniesta, Everton would finish against 10 men every week.
And that header on Saturday, beating a bloke a foot taller than himself to the ball through superior skill and judgement, was not unlike Messi making fools of Ferdinand and Vidic in the 09 Champions League final.
At the beginning of this season I thought we had moved on past Osman and Hibbo but this year they have proved their worth in the Premier League. We all hope for a stronger squad but these two have earned their place in it.
Let's face it, Osman and Hibbert are emblematic of Everton. They aren't flash. They battle. They're probably too honest for their own good. They love football and they turn up every week and give it all.
OK, back to work.
Dan Murphy, Posted 10/05/2011 at 02:05:01
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1 Posted 10/05/2011 at 04:02:24
But once he has been given a spell in his real position he has been fantastic. Great touch and foot work and blood hell how good was that header. Long may it continue.
And Hibbo has been Hibbo this season. Limited in some areas as we are all aware but always gives his all for the shirt and has played well enough.
Both blue to the bone.
2 Posted 10/05/2011 at 04:41:35
To say he's emblematic of Everton is right. Premier League standard but nothing like top 4 or 5; good form right now doesn't excuse the dross we've had to watch, only starts playing once the season is dead and the pressure is off.
But he's given me one of my highlights of the season and this run of form means he well deserves his shirt at the start of next year. I'll not be calling for him to play for England just yet; let's see if he can play when it actually matters.
3 Posted 10/05/2011 at 06:24:50
Thankfully the little fella stood up to be counted big time and deserves a start next season in the middle of the park. The lad deserves a medal big time because it's a fine line when you are sucked in at the bottom and that danger was real for us.
4 Posted 10/05/2011 at 07:34:37
There are a couple of 'howevers' though: If he can play at this level now, then why hasn't he done it more in the past?
He is still slow in comparison with most Premier League players and does fall over a lot under pressure, but, give him his due, he has toughened up a lot these last few months... so again why has it taken so long for this to happen? I agree with the Barcelona analogy, if he played there I'm sure he'd be much better suited.
Bit of an enigma really, I think his recent performances just go to show why some of us have been completely underwhelmed by him some much in the past. For all his qualities though, any talk of him playing for England is a bit OTT IMHO. If he had been playing like this for the last 5 years, then OK, but a Lampard or Gerrard he isn't I'm afraid.
If he was bigger and faster than he'd be like Ruud Gullit, but he ain't ? he's Leon Osman, 5ft-4in, 10 stone and not too quick, which means he has to work his balls off every match to make an impact. I hope he keeps it up; good on ya Leon.
5 Posted 10/05/2011 at 07:54:18
Big Victor, whilst seemingly getting all the praise (for what I?m not sure) is a Championship player and we must get rid, his ball control is just embarrassing and when did he last score? Bye, bye Victor and close the door after you!! COYB
6 Posted 10/05/2011 at 08:00:50
I'd like to apologise because this guy has been nothing short of brilliant in the second half of the season. We were really in the shit, not far off the bottom and wondering whether we'd be fighting a relegation battle with Fellaini, Cahill, Arteta and Saha missing. Osman has stood up and been the driving force behind our most recent form. I think he's shown glimpses in the past like the Man Utd home game last year when he ran the midfield but now we're seeing him perfrom consistently. Right now, he'd be the first name on the team sheet.
Now, if we could just get Hibbert to realise his true potential!
7 Posted 10/05/2011 at 08:37:11
8 Posted 10/05/2011 at 09:01:41
The problem he has is that Moyes will always go to Cahill when fit and will use Fellaini and Arteta as the central midfielders and Osman picks up the scrap positions left. That's his role as Moyes sees it . He will never ever use Osman in that front role as first choice as realistically he is lightweight and doesn't get stuck in to the opposing defenders BUT Osman is without doubt our most technically gifted player by a country mile, pity he's only 5ft 6in and 9 stone wet.
9 Posted 10/05/2011 at 09:13:47
10 Posted 10/05/2011 at 09:30:29
This status is subject to change after Saturday.
11 Posted 10/05/2011 at 10:03:03
A Load of bollocks! 10 good games in 9 seasons.
12 Posted 10/05/2011 at 10:25:03
13 Posted 10/05/2011 at 10:47:00
14 Posted 10/05/2011 at 11:08:19
The problem is that, when he is poor, he is Victor poor.
He needs a good pan of scouse down him but I have never thought of it in the way that Dan has, in that if he was in a better team, he would have numerous men sent off for the way they just drag him off the ball or drag him down.
Good player, nothing more... but he has earned his corn since January deffinitely, when so many others haven't.
15 Posted 10/05/2011 at 11:26:16
16 Posted 10/05/2011 at 11:52:36
17 Posted 10/05/2011 at 12:04:22
Since I'm not an actual scouser, is the respect for Hibbert purely becuse he's a local lad? Because I don't think he has any attributes. He can't pass, can't tackle, can't cross, has poor positional sense and he can't head the ball. On that basis, I should be a Premier League footballer.
18 Posted 10/05/2011 at 12:08:57
It's no longer a man's game anymore and I am currently winding up the redshite in work about how much a diver Suarez is. He doesn't like it when I continually call him a "fecking pussy".
19 Posted 10/05/2011 at 12:13:26
Square peg in a square hole for once, Yous ee Mr Moyes not fucking rocket science is it.
As for Hibbert .........he will always be shite.
20 Posted 10/05/2011 at 12:11:04
He can't tackle? Actually it pointless going on with this post, as your viewpoint won't be changed with that kind of blinkered opinion.
21 Posted 10/05/2011 at 12:57:17
Osman has been fantastic of late and long may it continue, I've always thought that he is a decent squad player and now with recent performances he clearly deserves a longer run in the team. It doesn't mean that he hasn't been lightweight in the past though and perhaps it's something he's worked on!
As for Hibbert ? shite!
22 Posted 10/05/2011 at 13:02:40
23 Posted 10/05/2011 at 13:09:10
And so try answer truthfully, we are 7th. Would Osman get into any of the 6 teams above us? My answer is no. Emphatically so. And so to continue with mid-table, end of season boredom, by all means, start Osman next season. It's not like we have the funds to replace him anyway.
For what its worth, you can go through the entire squad and ask who would get into the top 6 squads - I'd say Howard, Baines, Distin, Jagielka, Neville (Spurs bid remember), Rodwell, Cahill, Arteta, Fellaini, Saha (possibly). Osman? Not a chance. And theirin lies the problem.
Enjoy his purple patch, but don't analyse the fact he's your player of the season - because that will depress you.
24 Posted 10/05/2011 at 13:24:09
25 Posted 10/05/2011 at 13:28:10
Make no mistake he is no Iniesta, please don't compare Osman to the spanish maestro.
If Osman had shown in the past 7-8 odd years the performances he's put in the last couple of months, then fair enough ? he'd get a lot more credit from me... but to start saying he is quality is laughable. He'll be back to his usual self next season, getting knocked off the ball far too easily. In my opinion, he still needs to replacing and should be kept on as a squad member.
26 Posted 10/05/2011 at 14:03:27
27 Posted 10/05/2011 at 14:50:01
I would like to pose the question, Would the following centre-midfielders do a job as wingers: McMahon, Robson, Reid, Lampard, Souness? I think the answer is no.
28 Posted 10/05/2011 at 15:42:58
Funny how every time these two get into the team we rise up the table ? they haven't played more games for Everton in Europe for nothing.
Hibbert is the best tackler in the league and if there`s a player playing better than Ossie at the moment, I haven't seen him.
Not bad for a pair of "Championship" players.
29 Posted 10/05/2011 at 16:05:48
30 Posted 10/05/2011 at 15:51:23
He's often accused of going missing in the big games. And I can see the point. He lacks the physical strength when he's been up against the likes of Keane, Gerarrd, Ballack, Lampard etc in centre mid as well as pace when played outwide against decent full-backs. Would he have been better with one of them types alongside him, we'll never know.
And whilst I doubt we'll ever be a top 4 /5 team with him in our team, I do wonder who all these other players of ours are who haven't gone missing in the top games. There's been a few who've played well in some, but Cahill aside maybe, many have tended to be less visible when it's really mattered - chelsea cup final, LC semi, redshite etc.
31 Posted 10/05/2011 at 16:57:31
I don't think you can label him with Hibbert though. That's quite unfair on Ossie!
32 Posted 10/05/2011 at 17:04:59
His retention of the ball is better and he lurks nicely at the back post a lot.
He needs to work on his pace. I like his attitude, good lad.
33 Posted 10/05/2011 at 17:19:05
It strikes me as amazing that his critics hadn't spotted that a 5-ft midget who cannot run very quickly but who has good feet and a clever football brain should really be playing in the middle rather than stuck out on the wing. I am sure that Moyes knows this; unfortunately, Osman is a victim of Moyes's bias toward certain players.
34 Posted 10/05/2011 at 17:30:35
35 Posted 10/05/2011 at 18:36:36
He has played well now that he has less responsibility and is allowed to stay further up the field in more central positions but lets see if he can do it over the course of a full season. I wont hold my breath.
36 Posted 10/05/2011 at 18:35:49
Who thinks that Tony Hibbert is the Goodison Dani Alves? Anyone?
37 Posted 10/05/2011 at 19:32:29
Ossie's header was superb, one of the best moments of the season, but first half his shooting was crap.
That's our Ossie. Capable of a match winning bit of class, and twice as many advantage squandering touches of shit.
One obvious adjective is ... inconsistent. There are others, but overall I reckon that is the one.
Love him or hate him? No... Love him AND hate him.
38 Posted 10/05/2011 at 19:40:21
I wrote a piece on Osman earlier in the season and got slated for it. But I think now he is proving everyone wrong not that they will admit it.
39 Posted 10/05/2011 at 19:48:52
40 Posted 10/05/2011 at 21:24:35
It's all very well saying he's more suited to football 30 years ago. Build the donkey a time machine then and get him as far away from our present day team as possible.
41 Posted 11/05/2011 at 10:50:13
Care to substantiate you theory of his constant fuck-ups? Is this going to go down the same route as the imaginary red cards and penalties?
42 Posted 12/05/2011 at 02:30:20
But yeah credit where its due, he has improved significantly and now thoroughly deserves his place in the side.
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