Roberto Martinez described Leon Osman as an ‘incredible ambassador’ for Everton after the midfielder marked his 400th appearance for the Toffees by netting the winner against West Ham.
Speaking after the 2-1 victory over the Hammers, the Blues boss reserved praise for Osman, who sprung forward to notch the decisive goal despite being asked to play in a more unfamiliar, deeper role in midfield.
“I thought Leon was outstanding throughout the game – not just because of his goal,” he explained. “His role was to marshal the back four and to dictate the play in quite a deep area.
“So, the last person that you expect to see on the counter-attack is Leon. I think it was a reflection of what he is as a footballer because he has a clear idea of what he wants to achieve and he will achieve it.
“He got the winning goal in a very fitting performance and a very fitting appearance. I think he is an incredible ambassador for our football club.”
The win means the Blues extend their unbeaten run to seven games and Martinez says he was delighted with the nature of his side’s victory against Sam Allardyce’s gritty side.
He added: “I think it is the most satisfying win we’ve had this season. Straight away, we knew we were going to be in the game and we knew we were going to be tested.
“It is a win that we got through character, personality and winning mentality of the squad – that is what gives me an incredible satisfaction today.
“You’re going to see games that, from a technical point of view, are more glamorous but we faced a West Ham side with a lot of confidence.
“I couldn’t be happier with the concentration that we showed and the manner in which we looked dynamic and strong on the counter-attack, and then also conceding in such an unfortunate action in the second half.”