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Stoke City (H) Fri 26 Dec 2014, 15:00, Barclays Premier League

An Unprecedented Level Of Competition

by Adam Clark @efc_adamclark

Blues legend Graeme Sharp believes David Moyes' deadline day dealings have led to an unprecedented level of competition in his Everton squad.

The Toffees boss made a last-ditch swoop to sign left-sided Costa Rican international Bryan Oviedo from Copenhagen, while an agreement to add powerful Belgian midfielder Vadis Odjidja-Ofoe on a season-long loan from Club Brugge is awaiting the FIFA rubber stamp.

Moyes had already bolstered his ranks with the signings of Steven Pienaar, Steven Naismith and Kevin Mirallas and Sharp believes his fellow Scot can be elated with the options at his disposal.

"I think the 14 or 15 players we had are top quality but there's always the worry that there could be injuries and I think it was important the manager could strengthen his squad," Sharp told evertontv. "I think the players he's brought in have certainly done that and I'm looking forward to seeing them.
 
"It gives you competition for places. I'm not saying it happens at Everton but sometimes you're in the side and irrespective of you having a bad game, you're going to be in the next week.

"Now there's competition for places and that's what every manager says they strive for - a big squad where nobody can rest on their laurels. I think that's the case now we've made these signing. It gives the boys who are in the team a reason to look over their shoulders and think 'if I don't perform today, maybe I'll be out'.

"If you look at the bench at West Brom at the weekend, John Heitinga, a World Cup finalist and a regular international for Holland, not getting in the side - that's quality and the kind of quality the manager wants. He wants to look at the bench and see quality players who are desperate to play."

Oviedo, who will be hoping to win his 18th international cap against Mexico on Friday, is expected to provide cover and competition for Leighton Baines at left-back.

And Sharp added: "I think it was important that we got cover in that area. 

"Sylvain Distin and Phil Neville can both do a job there but if you've got somebody who's naturally left-footed who can play in that position and is comfortable in that position, that's what you want, and I think that's a good piece of business from the manager.

"Over the years Leighton Baines has hardly missed a game, he's so consistent. But I think every now and then you need somebody to come in when needed and be there to step up, and I'm sure Oviedo will be able to do that."

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