Unsy Glad For Record-Breaking Ossie
Unsworth happy to relinquish Premier League appearance record.
David Unsworth hopes Leon Osman goes on to ‘smash’ Everton’s Premier League appearance record after surrendering his title to the midfielder on Sunday.
Osman equalled Unsworth’s tally of 302 modern top-flight outings against Sunderland on Boxing Day before setting a new record in the 2-1 victory over Southampton at Goodison.
The England man has played some part in each and every one of the Blues’ 19 Premier League matches this season, whether it be a starting capacity or a role from the substitutes’ bench.
And Unsworth reckons his 32-year-old former teammate can still prove as influential for many years to come, echoing the recent point made by manager Roberto Martinez when he described Osman as the player in Everton’s squad that ‘makes the team think’.
“It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy,” Unsworth told evertonfc.com. “It’s not in my make-up to be bothered by things like that [the record] because I’m certainly one for the future and for people breaking records.
“I hope he goes on and smashes it and plays another 100 to 150 games for Everton because he is a terrific guy. He has been and still is a terrific player and I hope he ends his career at Everton having smashed the record.
“He can play in central midfield, behind the striker or out wide, and that’s a great tool for Roberto to have. He’s the modern-day footballer who can play in various positions.
“That’s a credit to him that he can play in any position the manager requires.”
Unsworth was on the pitch when Osman made his first top-flight appearance for Everton, from the bench at White Hart Lane in January 2003.
They were teammates for a further year-and-a-half until July 2004 when Unsworth joined Portsmouth.
The 40-year-old returned to Goodison Park earlier this season when he took up the position as the Under-21s assistant coach.
“Ossie hasn’t changed one bit,” Unsworth added. “He’s still a top guy who is very humble, which is a great credit to him and his family. He is a terrific pro and I can’t pay him any greater sort of praise than that.
“He never misses a day’s training and works his socks off. When I watch the first-team train now I can see that he has become a bit of an organiser and a talker and he certainly will be a big help to Ross Barkley playing with him.
“The other week he scored a great goal [against Fulham] and his performance was top-class. There aren’t many as good as Leon when he is on song.”
Osman and Everton are next at Goodison in the FA Cup third round. Buy tickets for the third round tie against Queens Park Rangers online here and print them at home.