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'Naismith A Perfect Fit'

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Phil Neville believes Steven Naismith perfectly fits the mould of an Everton player.

The Blues skipper has been impressed by what he's seen from the Scot both on and off the pitch since he joined the Club on Tuesday.

And speaking exclusively to evertontv from the Toffees' training camp in Austria, the defender said: "He [Steven] can play in a number of positions and he just looks to me as if he's the perfect Everton-type player - he's hard-working, he's got quality, he can score goals, he can play on the left, on the right, he can play behind the front man and we can utilise him in a number of ways.

"I've spoken to Nikica Jelavic quite a lot about him and he had a good partnership with him too [at Rangers].

"In the first couple of days I've seen him and spoken with him, he's got a hunger to succeed and it's great when you hear that he really wanted to come to Everton. I think he saw the quality of the team and the quality of the manager and he wanted to be a part of it."

Everton have tended to leave their summer business until late in recent seasons and Neville admitted Naismith's arrival gave everyone a lift ahead of this weekend's excursion to the Alps.

"It's a massive boost," he said. "I think when you get somebody new in the dressing room it challenges the whole squad, it lifts morale and it provides challenges to all the team - one, to impress the new signing and, two, to fight for your place. We haven't done that [made an early signing] in the last two or three years and this one is obviously a big boost for everyone."

The Blues travelled to the mountain village of Obertraun on Wednesday evening and will now spend five days being put through their paces ahead of the 2012/13 campaign.

Nurturing the squad's famous team spirit is also part of the plan and Neville says Naismith is quickly getting up to speed.

"He's settling in fine," he said. "It's par for the course at Everton that there's a lot of camaraderie, a lot of jokes. We take our work seriously but there is an element of enjoyment, and I don't think the manager would want it any other way.

"It's common knowledge that he likes to work us intensely at the training, but we do it with a smile on our faces and I think Steven will enjoy playing for us. I said to him yesterday that this is a great club to play for. 

"Sometimes when you join a new club it takes you a while to settle in. But we've seen from past signings that at Everton players tend to settle in quicker than most."

After almost two months away, Neville also confessed he had been itching to get back to action and added: "I'm pleased to be back and pleased to be in Austria. It's a wonderful setting and the reason that you come to somewhere like this is that you can totally focus on getting back ready for the season.

"The lads are in good shape, the weather's gorgeous, and because we've got six weeks or so until the season starts, we can take our time and get fit and ready."

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