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Ugly Duckling to a Swan

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Can anyone explain what has happened to Leon Osman? This also-ran footballer that suffered at the hands of TW, a favourite of Moyes yet not favoured by the supporters. The injuries to Fellaini, Arteta, Saha, Cahill and Rodwell with the departure of Pienaar, the team was too close to the relegation zone for comfort. It was a worrying times for Evertonians. The midfield ripped apart, no strikers, no hope.

Now, like a scene from Braveheart, out of the gloom came this little dynamo to transform the side's form. It?s as though the quiet man at the karaoke bar, too shy to sing so lets others have a go, has grabbed the mike and belted out hit after hit to rapturous applause.

When the stars come back, Leon can rightly stand head and shoulders above them and proudly demand that their standards reach his.

As Kipling could say (in a fashion) to our up-and-coming Blue boys:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And ? which is more ? you'll be an Osman my son!

David Price, Stockport     Posted 12/05/2011 at 22:54:05

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Eric Myles
1   Posted 13/05/2011 at 02:22:31

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Playing for a transfer away???
Jamie Sweet
2   Posted 13/05/2011 at 02:40:05

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He has certainly hit somewhat of a purple patch and fully deserves the accolades he has been receiving.

It makes a huge difference to his game when he's not stuck out on the wing.

I expect him to remain a useful squad player for many years to come.
Chris Bannantyne
3   Posted 13/05/2011 at 03:35:43

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Yeah it's a curious one. The guy has always had some talent, but he really has exploded in the last month or so.

Maybe because he isn't Spanish or French or Portuguese or something he hasn't been fashionable enough to warrant as much faith from the fans/manager.

Saha didn't score for over a year and was playing like shit for ages before he finally came good again. Anichebe played his best game last weekend, but otherwise has been fucking useless, yet he still gets a go. Arteta has been terrible for most of the season, and there had been all kinds of failings with Bily, Rodwell, Heitinga and the want-away Pienaar. Throughout Osman gets a run in varying positions, but it isn't until 90% of the squad is dead or dying that he gets a sustained run in a position that suits his game.

So where has this Leon Osman come from??? He could well have been here all along.
Martin Clark
4   Posted 13/05/2011 at 03:44:57

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He got his form playing in the middle when we had no one else and has managed to keep when shoved back out on the wing.

Think he's always been a similar style player to Peanut, though Osman has added goals and is getting a game unlike the Spurs player who left for two European matches and a spot on the bench with a good chance of as much Europe as Everton next season.

I'm pleased for the lad, he's always had some good spells but has been given the tag of disappearing in big games. I think he's experienced enough now to know what its all about and hope that he makes he current form a standard.

Same we didn't have a couple more results that went our way in the early season as can't believe how close we've come to the top six! No regrets though but get the feeling of Déjà vu from the beginning and the end of last season.

I was positive that we could carry the end of season form into the next and with a few additions be right up there challenging the top four. Maybe next season we can learn from last season and actually do it from the start and see where that gets us!

Heres hoping!
Dave Wilson
5   Posted 13/05/2011 at 05:12:50

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We have never been able to fill every position on the pitch, the transfer kitty ran out long before we could do that..
So like every other skint team, we`ve had to employ certain players in 2-3 different positions.

Ossie has always ALWAYS been a smashing little player and has ALWAYS been prepared to scarifice his personel game for the greater good by playing in another position.

This hasnt always been appreciated.

Ossie has shown himself to be a vastly superior footballer to Cahill, he has also shown that given his favoured position he too can score goals.

Perhaps his detractors will remember that when the superstars are back fit and this great little Evertonian is asked to fill in where others cant.

Paul Gladwell
6   Posted 13/05/2011 at 07:02:32

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As has been said its where he has been playing and when everyone is fit for the start of next season the likes of Arteta should be behind him to start in the middle.
I would also say Pienaar leaving has had a big say in it too and the little fella has realised its time he has to step up and he has gathered confidence and Moyes has to make sure he does not cock that confidence up by putting him back in thet Cup Final position we all hate to see him in.
Gavin Ramejkis
7   Posted 13/05/2011 at 07:05:10

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Fairly obvious, a central midfielder finally playing in central midfield instead of being thrown out on the wing. He isn't the most talented central midfielder in the world but he most certainly isn't a winger. He does have tidy feet and in games where he hasn't been bowled off the ball he's been one of few players at Everton willing to take on and beat a player. Tie the two of those together and you'll get an industrious attacking midfielder, everyone loves to see one of their own taking on and beating the opposition so that's how he has gained favour with the crowds.

The header against Kompany underlines how hard he can try in games.
Dick Fearon
8   Posted 13/05/2011 at 08:12:39

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It will take more than a few good games to erase the years of rubbish he has produced.
In particular his total invisability in the cup final will forever stay in my mind.
Guy Rogers
9   Posted 13/05/2011 at 08:13:47

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The new riquelme.....by the way what ever happened to that Tony Gee geezer who always used to come on here for a rant, "Osman looks like a school boy in a mans game etc" anyone seen him or heard from him i kind of miss him!?!
Lynn Thorne
10   Posted 13/05/2011 at 08:33:42

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I am so pleased Ossie is getting recognition. I have always liked him. He never hides and always works his little socks off.

Yes he's not always MotM - but very few players turn it on week-in, week-out. Many of those don't work as hard either.

As for Dick (No 8) ? there were others who didn't turn up that day. It's all about opinions and I like him.

GJ Butler
11   Posted 13/05/2011 at 08:58:40

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This is a bit of a rehash from a post a few days back where someone had the audacity to claim Osman was as good as Iniesta - depsite Iniesta doing it for a decade compared to 28 yr old Osman having a good two months.

Now, I'm as glad as anyone that Ossie is having a good two months, but he isn't even our Player of the Season ? Baines or Distin for me. He wouldn't get into any of the 6 sides above us... so, if we're to improve, we have to get better than Osman.

My advice: enjoy his form while it lasts...
Ron Haslam
12   Posted 13/05/2011 at 09:24:26

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Well said Dave #5 & Lynn #10. Ossie has not just discovered a new found ability, he has always had it. No player can play at the top of his game week in week out especially when playing out of position. To my mind the clowns on this site who say that he is not a Premiership player don't know a lot about football. Congratulations Leon you are at last receiving the plaudits you deserve!
Dave Wilson
13   Posted 13/05/2011 at 09:02:02

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I always have a little chuckle when Ossie or Hibbo are blamed for the Cup Final. It's a convenient for people to deflect blame away from their personal favorites. The embarrassing ease with which the the Chelsea midfield were able to totally dominate Cahill and Neville for the entire match had a far greater effect.

Perhaps Moyes should have sacrificed one of them to the wing. Ossie would posed Chelsea more problems from midfield than those two put together.
Paul Gladwell
14   Posted 13/05/2011 at 09:28:37

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There you go again Dick with the anti Osman shouts, that Cup Final was down to Moyes bad tactics.
How about slaughtering Howard for his poor goalkeeping that day, or the piss poor marking for Drogbas goal?
At least Osman had some excuse in being played out of position that day. An as pointed out in previous posts,it is not just a few good performances this season, what about last season when he was thrown in the middle against Chelsea,Utd and City and was MOTM in all those games, the lad was the main reason we never got sucked into a relegation dogfight when we were only two points off third from bottom in January, so give him some credit eh.
Ray Robinson
15   Posted 13/05/2011 at 09:53:33

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It has always been my opinion that Osman would be a sensational player abroad where the game is less physical and slightly slower. It was noticeable that Ossie always played well during the UEFA Cup run of a few years ago against continental opposition.

However, being slight of stature and not particularly quick does not help him against the more physical sides in the Premier League. Having said that being stuck out on the wing hardly helps the lad play his natural game. In terms of his ball control,mental sharpness and quickness of feet, there is nobody better in the Everton team - Arteta included.

It's a question of accommodation - needs to play cenrally alongside an enforcer who feeds him the ball.

Also, I do wish he was able to smack a ball harder sometimes!

Great player with physical limitations but a true professional and never one to hide..
Matt Thomas
16   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:34:49

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Post removed for kopite abuse of an Evertonian
Ian Kearney
17   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:39:10

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If Dick doesn't rate someone, that is his right and prerogative, so long as it isn't some kind of personnal hate campaign.

If you ask me, Matt, it's sycophants who believe criticism should be banned that resemble kopites.
Dick Fearon
18   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:37:54

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Those making excuses for Osmans poor showing in the cup final should have another look at the video. It was not that he was played out of position in that game ? he completely disapeared off the radar for the entire game. An immovable lump of wood would have been more in contact with the ball. Wave after wave of Chelsea attacks waltzed down that wing with Hibbo often faced with two or three attackers.
Mike Bates
19   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:41:24

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Matt Thomas, you're the type of blue that I hate. When somebody voices an opinion that disagrees with yours then your immediate response is to call them a Kopite. Grow up and learn to debate like Dave #13 and Paul #14.
Ben Jones
20   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:52:12

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I think he has found his good form when he has played in that central attacking midfield role. But to be honest, even on the wing, he looks a lot better. I think it's down to confidence, but he is a hell of a good, versatile player to have. I can't see many clubs turning him down.

The difference to me as well is he is playing further up the pitch. He has played centre mid before and he played OK, still better than on the wing, but had to be more defensive a bit often. But playing him further forward we have seen what he can do.

In the cup final though, I do remember Osman and Hibbert playing terribly. Ashley Cole and Florent Malouda tore us apart in that game.
Dave Wilson
21   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:56:09

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Dick

while your watching the video, count how many times Your hero Cahill actually touches the ball ?

you wont need to take your sox off.
No amount of Ossie bashing from you can disguise the fact that he stunk and is as culpable as everyone else.

No problem with criticsm, but you are allowed to be a little even handed about it
Dave Roberts
22   Posted 13/05/2011 at 10:42:25

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Alan Ball once said that being small meant he had to work harder at the game in order to develop and that that made him a better player than otherwise he might have been. Bally had the advantage though of being generally able to play in the same position throughout his career so it fitted like a glove. Osman has not had that opportunity and that makes the development of a young player, during that important phase as he leaves the youth system behind and steps up to the plate much more difficult.

As well as he's been playing for the last couple of months, he has played as well as that sporadically in the past when given the opportunity in his best position of central midfield. One game in particular I recall was against Bolton a few years ago. We were either getting beat 1-0 or it might have been drawing 1-1, getting nowhere and under constant pressure from the opposition who were just overunning our mudfield on the day. Osman was brought on as sub for the last 20 minutes or so and swung the game by just being able to hold the ball and provide a measure of impact in midfield and we ended up winning via a Gravesen free kick which arose from the pressure we were then able to exert on Bolton. Osman is a good player, not a world beater, but well worth his place in a top six or seven Premiership side.

As for the Cup Final, the problem that day were two disastrous substitutions. We took off Confidence and Adventure and brought on Fear and Trepidation. We learned in the first minute that Chelsea were not invincible but we forgot how to make it pay. Whoever's fault that was (two guesses anyone?) it certainly wasn't Osman's.
Paul Foster
23   Posted 13/05/2011 at 11:35:42

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He has never been an "also-ran footballer". I used to watch him in the reserve team years ago and it was clear he's an incredibly gifted player.

Actually, the fans whose opinions I respect the most (largely those who regularly attend games) have continued to rate him highly. And let's not forget, he has scored some of our most memorable goals - each and every season for the last 8 or 9.

Personally, I can't remember a player at Goodison with feet as quick as Leon's. On this day, he's a delight to watch.
Kevin Gillen
24   Posted 13/05/2011 at 12:24:57

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Osman ? brilliant. Never cost us a penny. Often played out of position. Played in the cup final when obviously half fit (Hibbert too). Does his best play in the final third where half of our midfielders are clueless. Wins loads of free kicks. Top class attacking central midfielder. Worshipped also at Derby.
Gareth Humphreys
25   Posted 13/05/2011 at 12:39:57

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Always been a good player - his problem is he has never been called Mikel Arteta. I haven't seen anything in him these last few months that I haven't see all through his career.

Great feet, never hides, always tries to do something constructive.
His goal against Larissa a few years back was as good as you will see.

Ian Kearney
26   Posted 13/05/2011 at 12:59:16

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Gareth, as good as Osman has been this past month or so, Arteta this season aside has been top class for 5 years, his form in the centre last season was superb and was the best midfielder on the pitch against both Chelsea and United, the season before that before his knee went his play was approaching world class.

Theres a good reason Mikel has been lauded more over their careers and it has nothing to do with having a foriegn name.

Osman's a good footballer, no question, but i find that comment a little disparaging towards Arteta.
Ben Jackson
27   Posted 13/05/2011 at 13:25:06

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Dick, your name couldn't be more apparent.

Ossie is one of the best technical players we've had at this club for years. Without people like him we'd be dangerously close to being labelled in the same category as Blackburn & Stoke. But then I suppose you prefer the bulldosing style of people like big Vic! Chelsea were the better team in that Cup Final, and so they should have been. Get over it.
Alex Kociuba
28   Posted 13/05/2011 at 13:37:22

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I find comments along the lines of "where are the Osman haters now" a little bit embarrassing. If people assess Osman as being shit when he's shit, they're perfectly in the right to say he's good when he's good! I think it's generally accepted by most people that he's found some excellent form; but for people to say "I told you he was always a good player" is ludicrous.
Tony J Williams
29   Posted 13/05/2011 at 14:30:58

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Alex, you're right, if someone is deserving of criticism then they are fair game. The problem faced with some posters are that they will continually revert back to one game, ie the Cup Final and use that as a basis to try and negate his good performances.

He was dire on that day and left Hibbert isolated so many times. My issue is that no matter that Hibbo and Ossie got skinned for their first goal, where was the marking on Drogba by Lescott? So many posters constatntly refer to how Hibbert was skinned so many times, yet it was only one cross that they scored from and then he went off. where was the rest of the defence?

Where was Neville for their second and again Lescott?, backing off Lampard and making his mind up for him to shoot. Why was Howard beaten so easily from distances...Noooo, it was Hibberts and Ossie's fault.
Paul Gladwell
30   Posted 13/05/2011 at 14:54:11

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Alex you are right about being allowed to criticize but people like Dick find it hard to offer praise when it is fully deserved instead of harping on about a Cup Final that all our players played shite in.

As I said, two points off the bottom three in January, we where in real danger of getting dragged into a dogfight and Osman was the main reason we never.
As Paul Foster says, those matchgoers me and him see, tend to rate the lad highly.

GJ Butler
31   Posted 13/05/2011 at 14:49:41

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Dave @ 22 - you've mentioned one point that I keep saying when talking about Leon Osman, and that is you believe he is worthy of a place in a top 6 or 7 premiership team.

And that is my arguement. He is obviously good enough for a team placed 7th (as we are), but the reality is he would not get into any of the sides above us. Seriously. It's my opinion but could all those on here proclaiming they always knew Ossie was a great player answer me honestly and say he'd get into a side above us? And theirin lies the problem. He's great - for a team that is happy to finish no higher than 7th. To me this Osman praise reminds me of that time there was a call for Gazza to get back into the England side after a good cup game against some lower league opposition.

And a little off the topic, but as everyone here studys all things Everton, it often helps to see what outsiders think. In the case of the media, almost every player who ever has a decent spell with us gets linked to a move to someone else. I've never heard a rumour of anyone ever showing a remote interest in Osman? Not a strong arguing point I admit, just an afterthought.
GJ Butler
32   Posted 13/05/2011 at 15:18:50

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Actually I think he was linked with Palermo last year. It's Ok, I'll argue amongst myselfs.

I probably hate Hibbo aswell.
Matt Thomas
33   Posted 13/05/2011 at 15:45:26

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Mike Bates (#19) ? Way over the top pal. I may not totally think Ossie is a great player but I wouldn't go as far as to slag a player off... after all he's proud to play for the blues and is a type who never hides when played out of position.
Tony J Williams
34   Posted 13/05/2011 at 15:47:07

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Post 32, my first Friday afternoon laugh at the monitor moment. Cheers
Jim Hourigan
35   Posted 13/05/2011 at 17:17:18

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For me mediocrity is now being dressed as better than average - too slow, too light weight and totally ineffective against any side in the top reaches of the league. Yes he's got quick feet and his header against City was brave and well finished, but overall he's only looking better because of the paucity of play around him. He can't play wide because he has no pace to get past people and cant hit long or deep crosses and just watch him go backwards if their wide player goes past him. Too weak in the centre unless its part of a 3 and that in reality is why he has looked better of late. No Cahill, no Saha, no Arteta, no Fellaini and no forwards so he has been given less defensive responsibilities because we've had to put defensive midfield players all over the place. As someone else said would he get in any other side in the top 6?

He's a local lad who is committed to Everton but those two facts don't suddenly make him a good player - would anyone seriously pick an on form Osman ahead of an on form Arteta, Fellaini or Cahill?. Indeed would anyone play him instead of Coleman out wide?

Get real folks!!!
Richard Parker
36   Posted 13/05/2011 at 17:34:39

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Ben@27..... you've massively confused me.... but you mention the "bulldosing style of people like big Vic".

Now I've Googled, YouTubed, etc these bulldoser things and not once could I find a video of a bulldoser ambling up to the nearest defender, falling over at the slightest waft of his leg, looking up at the ref with a really upset expression and finally wandering off in the vague direction of "up-front" muttering to itself.

Could you clear this one up for me please?
Ian Tod
37   Posted 13/05/2011 at 18:43:52

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Osman's always been a talented footballer, he was getting played in the wrong manner by Moyes and he was constantly getting niggly injuries and getting put in and out of the team without having a consistent position. He has consistency, is injury free and is being played in the right manner now and he is showing what a good player he is.
Paul Gladwell
38   Posted 13/05/2011 at 19:27:43

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Jim try and find some dvds of those home wins against the top sides you are on about and you will find Osman was MOTM in those games especially the Chelsea game and his performances had the praise of the Sky commentators at the time, then we see his performance last Saturday, so saying he cannot do it against the big teams is rubbish,Cahill aside who has?
Jeff Armstrong
39   Posted 13/05/2011 at 19:15:51

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Don't know what all the fuss is about,

Osman has been in the first team for about 6 years and the reason he is still here is because EVERY season he has a good spell, wether it's beginning, middle or end of season.
This debate gets regurgitated every season either when he's on a good run or a bad run!! pointless really.
He'll be back next season, still working hard, getting a couple of goals, great performances, average performances.
He epitomises Everton and where we are, and he helps get us where we are,
7th, not 18th not 20th, but 7th.
So until the white knight arrives we should thankful for the likes of Osman, Distin, Cahill etc because they are, what EFC are.
Paul Gladwell
40   Posted 13/05/2011 at 19:37:49

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And saying he is only looking good because all our big hitters have been out, well when all our big hitters where fit we where two points off the bottom three and since Osman has took on the mantle we have been one of the top inform teams and if those players you mentioned showed half the form Osman has in the past three months when they were playing slow crab football for months on end, we would have qualified for the Champions league.
Colin Smith
41   Posted 13/05/2011 at 21:24:42

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Osman has always been a good footballer, good touch & passing, works hard & can put away 5 or 6 goals a season. Lack of pace & to a lesser extent strength prevents him from being a really good player. Having said that I would have him in my team 9 times out of 10.

Dave Wilson (5) is a bit harsh on Cahill I think. Cahill is another one who is good player with different strengths to Osman, but also short on pace, Again I would always try find a place for Cahill in any starting 11. Osman & Cahill both want to play for the shirt & offer more than more talented players who just go through the motions.

John Kline
42   Posted 13/05/2011 at 22:45:33

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David Moyes today said that Evertonians with any football related intelligence knew that Leon Osman is and always had been a top player. The implication being that if you disagreed you were (in the context of football) thick. He is so right.
Dick Fearon
43   Posted 13/05/2011 at 22:41:39

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I will hold my hands up if Leon continues his good form into our final two games.
James Stewart
44   Posted 14/05/2011 at 00:02:50

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He has always been a good player. Very technical and when played central he can be creative.

The amount of chances he misses will always frustrate me though but then I can say that about a lot of players!

Great player to have in the squad but talk of him being better than Cahill is silly.
Martin Mason
45   Posted 14/05/2011 at 06:34:12

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according to Frank Lampard, Leon Osman was the best player in the country through all of the development layers and that he was exceptional. He's struggled at times being played infrequently and in wide positions where he was never comfortable but he seems to have blossomed with this regular run, initially in his best position but carrying it on when moved wide again especially on the left where Bainesy supports him. What more can we ask from a player other than he give his all and be a true Evertonian too. A great credit in an age where most are a disgrace.
Andrew Clare
46   Posted 14/05/2011 at 08:49:39

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I understand what Jeff at #38 is explaining but it sure is depressing!

He epitomises Everton and where we are, and he helps get us where we are, 7th, not 18th not 20th, but 7th.

What about winning something! I know- there isn't a chance! No money!
By the way Osman is first class!
Gerry Western
47   Posted 14/05/2011 at 10:36:38

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Pretty much a rehash of what's been debated every year for the last 6 years. Nice change though in introducing the bird theme, hence in the spirit of things 'one swallow never made a summer'.

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