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