Irvine Happy With Nyarko

by Mark Rowan

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Alan Irvine presided over Alex Nyarko's first appearance on English soil since April 2001 at Spotland on Tuesday and was pleased with the Ghanaian's showing.

It was almost 27 months to day since Nyarko vowed never to play for the club again following an altercation with an angry supporter on the pitch at Highbury.

However, he was afforded an excellent reception by the 500-strong Everton fans, who applauded him both while warming up and during his second half display.

Nyarko too did his best to build bridges by signing every autograph that came his way and even posing for pictures with young fans.

"I'm sure he'll be very happy about tonight," Irvine told

"I wasn't at the club when the incident happened, but I remember it well.

"It was obviously something that made life difficult for him - and it was pleasing for me also to see the excellent reception he got from the fans. I think he enjoyed the experience at Rochdale."

Nyarko replaced Tobias Linderoth as a half-time substitute and produced a tidy and efficient display in the 1-0 win.

His passing was accurate, his confidence seemed to be good - even attempting a cheeky back heel to Li Tie on one occasion - and often tried to feed the attackers, most notably trialist Patrizio Pascucci with defence-splitting balls.

"I thought he did well, especially when he first game on," Irvince continued.

"He made a couple of really good passes. As the second half wore on, Rochdale found it difficult to get possession and we found it easy to pass the ball around the back, so the impact of the midfield as a whole lessened as the game went on.

"I think it will take some time for him to get used to the pace of the English game again, because I think that it's played at a slower tempo in France.

"But he's come in and slotted in well and we're pleased with him."

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