Alan Stubbs has hailed Sylvain Distin as the perfect role model for members of his Under-21s side.
The veteran defender played the full 90 minutes of the second-string's 0-0 draw with Reading on Sunday, being eligible to do so as part of the permitted quota of overage players.
And boss Stubbs praised the Frenchman’s attitude in requesting to play after not featuring for the first team the day before.
"Sylvain never lets you down," he told evertontv. "He's a fantastic professional and it's a credit to him that he wants to play in these games.
"A lot of players would want the day off and a lot of the young lads should look up to him and the way he conducts himself. He helps the players when he plays for us, so we have no complaints whatsoever - it's always a pleasure to have him."
Reflecting on the goalless draw, Stubbs admitted his young Blues deserved to emerge victorious.
He said: "I think we were the better team. We had the better chances. When you look at what [Everton goalkeeper] Mateusz Taudul has had to do in the game, I think that tells you everything.
"The lads had a lot of good attempts today. I can't fault their effort, desire or commitment - that was all there. It was just a goal that was lacking and that would have changed the face of the game.
"Credit to Reading as they stuck at it. They were dogged and defended well at times but, in all honesty, we should have won the game."