Everton v Sunderland - LIVE

10 November 2012 12:50
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Moyes delight at Osman call-up

Everton boss David Moyes has expressed his delight at Roy Hodgson's decision to reward 31-year-old Leon Osman for his form by handing him a maiden England call-up.

Renowned for his consistency, Toffees midfielder Osman - who came through the club's academy and made his first-team debut for the Merseyside outfit in 2003 - has been regarded as a potential Three Lions player for some time.

Moyes admits that with Osman having reached the age he now is, he could have been forgiven for thinking the opportunity to play for England might never come his way.

It finally arrived this week, though, with Hodgson including him in his squad for next week's friendly against Sweden, and Moyes has applauded the call.

Speaking at a press conference to preview Everton's Barclays Premier League home clash with Sunderland, Moyes said: "I think when you get to Ozzie's age and have been around the block a few times, you might think that your chance has gone.

"But I'm really pleased Roy has selected him, because on form in the Premier League, he is playing as well as anybody.

"He is a determined, committed little footballer, and a really good footballer.

"If given the opportunity, he will help England play and get them on the ball.

"He wants the ball, he has lots of attributes and he is a tough little lad as well.

"We have played him in three or four different positions and because of the level of football intelligence he has got, he is able to do those jobs to the best of his ability.

"We are really thrilled he has got a call-up."

Asked if Osman had a job for life at Everton, Moyes - who has been manager at the club since 2002 - said: "It's not for me to say that, because it would maybe be down to the directors.

"But I think that I have said that as long as I am here, Ozzie will be here."

Everton - who will be without Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe due to injuries - go into the game against 16th-placed Sunderland lying fourth in the table after making an impressive start to the season.

Meanwhile, Martin O'Neill has defended shot-shy Sunderland - but warned that they are not "too good" to get drawn into a relegation scrap.

The Black Cats have managed, according to some statistics, only 13 shots on target in nine league matches - by far the worst in the top flight and are the lowest scorers with just six goals.

O'Neill queried the accuracy of the stats but admitted the players need to threaten the opposition goal more.

He also warned his players that it was a mistake to believe the squad had too much quality to get drawn into the battle at the bottom of the Barclays Premier League.

In terms of the shots, O'Neill said: "We have our own statistician in here and he tells me it depends who you look at.

"But what doesn't lie is the number of goals that we have scored.

"What we have to do is have more shots at goal regardless of whether I believe or don't believe the stats, and I don't need anyone to tell me that.

"We are playing reasonably okay but we need to be more incisive.

"I don't believe we have ever been prolific in that area but we do need to create more.

"The responsibility is mine, but we should be able to have more shots at goal and I'm not talking about from ridiculous angles but about not spurning opportunities and having the ball in the opposition penalty box more often.

"I have not completed a full season here yet. It just takes a bit of time, and by hook or by crook I intend to make this a team that the supporters are genuinely proud of."

O'Neill will assess knocks to a couple of unnamed players before deciding on his starting line-up at Everton.

If all are fit, one change may be Danny Rose returning at left-back but otherwise the starting XI is likely to be much the same as the team that lost at home to Aston Villa.

Source: DSG