Greg O'Keeffe on Everton FC midfielder Leon Osman's impressive England debut against Sweden
They say there's no substitute for experience – and aged 31 on his England debut, Leon Osman was certainly no substitute.
Everton's long-serving midfielder was smoothness personified as he completed 90 minutes like a weathered international performer. Forget about one-cap wonder – Osman produced the type of display that will give Roy Hodgson serious food for thought when he comes to plan his midfield for England's next World Cup qualifying games. With caps being dished out like confetti to young, brash but talented players with potential, Osman did everything that will have been asked to him and more, showing every bit of his experience during 10 years in the Premier League.
The Billinge-born Evertonian looked like he was a veteran in the Three Lions shirt, as he complemented Steven Gerrard in central midfield during the man from across the park’s 100th experience. They might have been new to viewers elsewhere, but Blues have long admired Osman’s exquisite close control, immaculate first touch and quicksilver feet – all showcased during this eventful friendly. He had England’s first shot at goal, and peppered Andreas Isaksson throughout the evening.
Osman made the key interception in the build-up to Danny Welbeck’s equaliser and was arguably England’s best player in the second half – popping up in a variety of smart positions and only inches away from converting an excellent cross from team-mate Leighton Baines.
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