David Moyes says departing Club captain Phil Neville has surpassed the expectations he held upon signing him in 2005.
Earlier this week, Neville announced his decision to leave Everton at the end of his contract which expires in the summer.
And reflecting on the former Manchester United man's eight years at Goodison Park, Moyes exclusively told evertontv that his impact has been far greater than anticipated.
He said: "He's certainly been a big part of the progress we've made.
"We needed a different type of player to come in. We got Phil and I think he's surpassed what I thought he could do.
"He could play at full-back or in midfield and that gave us opportunities to be versatile with him.
"His leadership qualities, as I've said before, have been excellent.
“But he's seen the change in the team and quite a few players come and go. He's been one of the main players with the likes of Tim Cahill, Leighton Baines and Phil Jagielka that have been with us for most of that time.”
With Neville stating his desire to carry on playing for as long as he can, a coaching role with England Under-21s beckons in the summer.
Noting first-hand his skipper’s passion for the game, Moyes believes it will only be a matter of time before the 36-year-old is seen in a dugout himself.
"He's been an excellent player and a great ambassador for Everton,” he continued. “He has only ever spoken well and has done everything correctly since he's been here.
"The work he does behind the scenes, a lot of it people won't see. But he's been great for me as the manager and he's someone who I think will go into management or coaching in some capacity in the future. I would only have good things to say about Phil Neville in his time here.”