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SYLVAIN DISTIN believes Everton FC will benefit from how quickly Kevin Mirallas and Steven Naismith have settled in on Merseyside.
The pair have both fast been welcomed into the Goodison fold, and Distin says it is the Blues’ family-club feel which makes players feel so at ease.
He said: “I’ve always said it’s really easy to settle down at this club.
“The biggest challenge is the physical part and the fitness side because training is very hard and different from other clubs.
“But when you get that mentality it’s easy because everyone is so laid back and not just the players.
“The ground staff, right to the ladies in the canteen, it’s so easy.
“After a few days it feels like home and I’m not just saying that. I don’t say things if I don’t believe it.
“It’s a family club and it helps to feel comfortable off the pitch.”
Distin admits his defensive colleague Phil Jagielka was outstanding during the 1-1 draw with QPR on Sunday, but insists nobody should single out individuals because of Everton’s overall solidarity.
“To be honest from the first game of the season every single player has stood out,” said the 34-year-old.
“You cant speak about one player.
“On the pitch we all deserve to be where we are now. No one person has let us down. We all compete and not one has let us down.
“Jags loves the last-ditch blocks.
“It’s as if he waits until the last minute to make himself look better on TV!”
The focus of David Moyes’ men will now quickly shift to Sunday’s first Merseyside derby of the season, but Distin was satisfied in the end with the point in West London.
He added: “It was a good point at a hard place away from home.
“We could have lost it but we didn’t and we’ll move on.”
SYLVAIN DISTIN insists there is plenty more to come from Everton new boy Steven Naismith after the Scot’s chances of a Merseyside derby bow increased in the wake of Steven Pienaar’s red-card ban.
The 26-year-old produced a lively 38 minute cameo during the Blues 1-1 draw with QPR at Loftus Road on Sunday, boosting his chances of replacing Pienaar in the role behind Nikica Jelavic for the Goodison show-down on Sunday. And Distin has been impressed with what he has seen from the Scotland international so far, along with fellow summer arrival Kevin Mirallas, even if the former Rangers man has yet to nail down a starting place in David Moyes’ side.
And the French defender believes Naismith and fellow summer arrival Kevin Mirallas can both shine if handed derby debuts against Liverpool.
He said: "They are still leaning every day and trying to adapt and find their roles in the squad.
"I see them every day at training so I have no doubts in my mind. I know the quality they have got and I am sure they can only get better and better, you haven't seen the best of them yet."
SCHALKE midfielder Lewis Holtby has again spoken of his love for Everton FC in response to questions about a potential move to the Premier League.
The highly rated 22-year-old is due to face Arsenal in the Champions League for his German club this week, and he admits he admires the Gunners too.
Holtby’s contract at the Bundesliga giants is set to run out at the end of this season, and the player, whose father is from Liverpool, could leave on a free transfer next summer. When asked about his future he said: “We will see when it happens.
“Everton are close to my heart and I always loved watching Arsenal because of their style of play and some of the players they’ve had.”
THE daughter of Everton legend Dixie Dean married at her dad’s suite in Goodison Park.
Barbara Dean, 67, wed her partner of over 30 years, Mike Lewis, in an intimate civil ceremony witnessed by 30 close family and friends.
She told the ECHO: “We couldn’t have married in a more apt place than the Dixie Dean suite surrounded by memories of my dad – I still think he’s hanging around there.
“We scattered my dad’s ashes here and he died when the final whistle blew after a derby match in the director’s box.
“Of course we say he stage-managed the whole thing – knowing him he would have to go out in style.”
Barbara is the only daughter of the footballing star, William Ralph “Dixie” Dean who grew up in Birkenhead, beginning his career with Tranmere Rovers before moving to Everton, the club he supported as a child.
The retired pub landlady dressed in a dusky peach dress was given away by her 17-year-old grandson Daniel Dean Prentice.
Barbara said: “Daniel is my daughter Melanie’s son and his sister Scarlett Rose, 15, was the official photographer.”
Barbara met retired police officer Mike, 70, in 1978 when he moved from the mounted police in Birmingham to the Merseyside force and the couple live in Port Sunlight.
Barbara said: “We decided we quite liked each other and we would make it official. It’s great we get to share our day with my dad.
“He was quite a character, I used to wonder why people made such a fuss about him. People idolised him but to me he was just my dad.
“We had our pictures taken with his statue and Melanie had blue and white confetti with one red piece in memory of my youngest brother Ralph who was a staunch Liverpool fan.”
Son-in-law and deputy head of ECHO sport Dave Prentice was on best man duty.
He said: “Dixie was actually playing for England at Goodison on this day 86 years ago. It was a match against Ireland and he scored the winner with 14 minutes to go.
“It’s lovely for Barbara to feel close to her dad on her wedding day.”
ANDRE MARRINER will referee the 219th Merseyside derby this Sunday.
The West Midlands official’s appointment for the Goodison Park clash was announced yesterday afternoon.
Marriner, 41, has taken charge of both Everton and Liverpool already this season.
He was in charge for Everton’s 1-0 win over Manchester United on the opening weekend of the campaign, and also refereed Liverpool’s 2-2 draw with Manchester City at Anfield a week later.
He has issued a total of ten yellow cards (and no reds) in five games so far this season.
Marriner also refereed Everton in their final game of last season, against Newcastle, and sent off the then Blues midfielder Tim Cahill after an altercation with Toon’s Yohan Cabaye.
He was in the middle for the infamous clash between Liverpool and Manchester United at Anfield last October, the game which eventually saw Luis Suarez pick up an eight-game suspension for abusing United’s Patrice Evra.
His last Liverpool red card also came in a game against Manchester United, Marriner sending off Javier Mascherano in September 2009, having dismissed Nemanja Vidic in the same match.
TIM HOWARD has warned Liverpool they face being devoured by a beast in Sunday’s Merseyside derby.
The Everton keeper claims Liverpool will be facing an animal in Blues defender Phil Jagielka.
Jagielka led the way as Everton held on for almost half an hour with 10 men against QPR at Loftus Road on Sunday after Steven Pienaar’s harsh red card.
Howard said: “Jags was immense. He’s a leader, he’s solid – and he was an animal against QPR.
“He’s grown and grown and looks like he will cement himself in the England team playing like that. He’s been doing that for us for years.
“He’s been a rock at Everton for a long time and we need him to have the momentum going into the derby.”