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Leon Osman: An Appreciation
Sincerely Kirsty, 22nd April 2011 - 20:19
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On the evening before our trip to Old Trafford, Everton are sitting just behind Chelsea in the form table, with four wins and two draws from our last six games. This has certainly been the best period of our season, and I don’t see it as a coincidence that an upturn in our fortunes has overlapped with the great form of one of our longest servants.
Leon Osman has been an inspiration for us in the last few weeks, and while he hasn’t always been first choice this season, he’s never complained, and has always quietly gone about his business in the Everton team whenever he’s been called upon. He doesn’t seem to grab many headlines outside of Merseyside, but he’s stepped up to the plate to carry the burden of a midfield disrupted by injuries, and replaced some of the creativity that many feared would be lost with the departure of Steven Pienaar.
My earliest memory of Ossie involves the home game with West Brom early in the 04/05 season. The future wasn’t exactly looking bright; a summer of boardroom turmoil, favourites for the drop, and one of the younger lads had handed in a transfer request just 24 hours earlier (Wayne, I think his name was). No-one gave us a chance, but the mood amongst the crowd at Goodison that day was quite defiant; it’s us against the world, but we’re going to put up a damn good fight. That spirit was represented on the pitch in the form of a young Leon Osman, whose two goals sealed a vital win, and the rest of that season is history.
There have been plenty more Ossie moments to savour since then. He’s scored some absolute pearlers down the years; the brilliant volley at Watford springs to mind, as does his part in rounding off a beautiful team goal against Larissa. But my favourite Ossie goal has to be the last minute winner against Portsmouth, also in the 04/05 season; classic pandemonium in the Lower Gwladys when he smashed that one in!
The majority of end-of-season plaudits will most likely go to Leighton Baines, and deservedly so.
But when people look back on when and how we pulled ourselves back up to a more respectable league position, I’d like to think that Ossie will get the credit that he deserves.