Irvine: Good Work Out

Alan Irvine took charge of Everton's 1-0 victory over Rochdale on Tuesday night and was pleased with his side's showing.

With David Moyes' decision to split the first-team squad in two, Irvine was left with a squad that included the likes of Tony Hibbert, David Weir, Tobias Linderoth and Kevin Campbell.

Rochdale made Everton work hard for the win and the likeable Scot believes that will benefit the Blues when the new season kicks off.

"It was a good work-out for the lads," he told

"Most of them have played a full game and they had a lot of touches of the ball, which was very pleasing and important as we prepare for August.

"Rochdale started very, very well. The controlled the ball well, they were very imaginative on the edge of our box and we had to defend well at times, but after the first fifteen minutes we started to take control of the game and probably controlled it from then on."

Tomasz Radzinski's 61st minute goal was the difference between the two sides and Irvine believes that the Canadian international will never score an easier goal in his career.

A defensive mix-up between Rochdale's Chris Beech and 'keeper Matthew Gilks, allowed Radzinski to convert the simplest of opportunities.

"It wasn't a classic, but it just shows that it's worth the gamble when you close goalkeepers down," he continued.

"If you force them in to a mistake sometimes, you're gifted a simple goal and credit to Tomasz, he chased what many people would have thought was a lost cause, he put the goalkeeper under pressure and reaped the reward."

There was also an appearance from Alex Nyarko on English soil, for the first time since the infamous Highbury incident of 2001, but Irvine decided to reserve praise for another Everton midfielder.

"Watto worked extremely hard tonight," said Irvine.

"When he makes those runs in between centre halves and full backs, he's a real threat, because he has got an eye for goal.

"He's got good timing in terms of arriving in those areas, he got pulled down for the penalty and got in good positions a couple of times during the game. He was probably unlucky not to score.

"But there wasn't anyone that you could say didn't do very well tonight, it was a good performance, very well-controlled and a patient display.

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