David Moyes believes that Leon Osman is currently in the form of his life.
The Blues boss handed the 31-year-old his debut at White Hart Lane a decade ago and has been able to rely on his services ever since.
Osman is started against Swansea on Saturday on the 10th anniversary of his Blues debut.
Moyes said: “He [Osman] has been in the building since I arrived. He had a loan spell at Carlisle and Derby, and since then he has more or less been a regular. For a lot of years he went under the radar and people didn’t recognise him as much.
“I was always getting asked the question in the media ‘Leon Osman, is he good enough to play for England?’ I always felt he was just below that group, but he has continued playing, continued performing year in year out and he has rightly deserved the recognition he is getting because of the way he is playing this season.
“I think that it’s his best season. He is a very talented footballer and whatever job you ask him to do, he will try and contribute the best he can.”
Moyes was also full of praise for the way Osman has adapted his game since first breaking into the Everton team.
“I think Ossie is perhaps the example of how there has been a big style change in the Premier League over the past 10 years,” he added.
“When he first came in 10 years ago the Premier League was a more physical place. You even look at the Champions at that time, Arsenal, and yes, they had Bergkamp and Henry, but they had Vieira and Petit, Campbell and Toure, and they were a physically imposing unit.
“Barcelona perhaps have changed things with how they’ve done so well with small, talented footballers, and that has paved the way for smaller guys to thrive in this league... and that’s helped.
“Early on, Ossie had the skills, but he did what he had to, so he could get a game, and he developed a competitive edge. If he had to mix it, he wouldn’t shy away from that.
“We looked after him, played him off the side and also further forward at times, but for me, now in this climate he is as good a central midfield player as anybody in the country right now.”