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Arsenal (A) Sun 1 Mar 2015, 14:05, Barclays Premier League

by Darren Griffiths @dgriffiths65

Everton v Newcastle

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Former Everton striker Brian McBride has labelled his old teammate Leon Osman as a ‘special’ player.

McBride was in Miami helping US broadcaster Fox Sports to cover the pre-season friendly between the Toffees and Valencia and he spoke to evertontv afterwards.

The American, now 41 years of age, actually made his Everton debut on the day that Osman made his own against Tottenham Hotspur in January 2003.

“You could see the talent that he had back then and he has just continued to grow,” said McBride.

“He is a player who is so special with his feet. He has the ability to get out of tight spaces and also to bring his teammates into play. You can see why he’s lasted so long and he keeps going.”

McBride watched Everton lose narrowly against Valencia and he suggested that the gruelling schedule of games against top-class opposition caught up with the players.

“You could tell they were a bit tired towards the end but before that in the first-half they looked the stronger team going forward and they had more purpose and were able to find a few gaps between the full-backs and the centre-backs and almost got a goal,” he said.

“That could have changed things but Valencia are a good side. They like to have the ball, have possession and they scored a well-taken goal.”

Despite the loss to the La Liga outfit, McBride is still confident that Everton have the capacity to do well this season.

“There are guys that you know you’re going to get a lot of class from going forward and also defensively with Distin and Jagielka,” he said.

“They looked very solid against Valencia. I’d love to see Nikica Jelavic getting back in and around the box because he is so dangerous.”

McBride only played eight games for Everton, finding the net on four occasions, but he really enjoyed his time at Goodison Park.

“I enjoyed it for so many different reasons,” he said.
“The great people I got to meet, players, staff, fans and also it was my first time in the Premier League.

“It’s a special place and although I was with Fulham longer, whenever I watch Everton, and I see a lot of soccer these days, it always brings a bit of pride to me and I do enjoy watching the guys play.”

After Premier League spells with the Blues and the Cottagers, McBride ended his playing career with Chicago Fire and is now a respected football pundit in the USA.

“It’s enjoyable and I’m doing a lot more travelling than I used to do but it’s fun,” he added.

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