Moyes delight at Osman call-up
Everton boss David Moyes has expressed his delight at Roy Hodgson's decision to reward 31-year-old Leon Osman for his form by handing him a maiden England call-up.
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Renowned for his consistency, Toffees midfielder Osman - who came through the club's academy and made his first-team debut for the Merseyside outfit in 2003 - has been regarded as a potential Three Lions player for some time.
Moyes admits that with Osman having reached the age he now is, he could have been forgiven for thinking the opportunity to play for England might never come his way.
It finally arrived this week, though, with Hodgson including him in his squad for next week's friendly against Sweden, and Moyes has applauded the call.
Speaking on Friday afternoon at a press conference to preview Everton's Barclays Premier League home clash with Sunderland on Saturday, Moyes said: "I think when you get to Ozzie's age and have been around the block a few times, you might think that your chance has gone.
"But I'm really pleased Roy has selected him, because on form in the Premier League, he is playing as well as anybody.
"He is a determined, committed little footballer, and a really good footballer.
"If given the opportunity, he will help England play and get them on the ball.
"He wants the ball, he has lots of attributes and he is a tough little lad as well.
"We have played him in three or four different positions and because of the level of football intelligence he has got, he is able to do those jobs to the best of his ability.
"We are really thrilled he has got a call-up."
Asked if Osman had a job for life at Everton, Moyes - who has been manager at the club since 2002 - said: "It's not for me to say that, because it would maybe be down to the directors.
"But I think that I have said that as long as I am here, Ozzie will be here."
Everton - who will be without Tony Hibbert, Darron Gibson and Victor Anichebe due to injuries - go into the game against 16th-placed Sunderland lying fourth in the table after making an impressive start to the season.
There have been some frustrations of late, with the Toffees being held to draws in each of their last four league fixtures, but goalkeeper Tim Howard has stressed that the mood in the camp remains as upbeat as ever and that he still firmly believes that a top-four finish can be achieved this term.
"There have been a few too many draws recently, but we are not discouraged by that," Howard said.
"I think you can see that our performances have been good, and what I've come to realise in the last 10 years is that if you keep your performance level high, more often than not you get results.
"I think there are certain teams where, if they play as well as they possibly can over 38 games, the best position they can probably finish in is 10th because that is the quality they have, and that is the reality of it.
"But the reality of our situation is that if we play really well over the course of 38 games, we have the talent to finish fourth.
"There is not a lack of quality - it is just about making sure we stay consistent over the long haul. And can we do it? Yes, we can do it."
Howard has also been speaking about the charity 2013 calendar the Toffees this week announced they are launching, which will be available from November 22.
Entitled "12 Shades of Blue", the calendar, raising money for the club's official charity Everton in the Community, features shots of Howard and other first-team players posing topless.
The American said: "It's a great cause. We (footballers) are often in the public eye for the wrong reasons and I think it's good to show solidarity and give back.
"We all got asked to do it and I think some people declined - and it is probably better that they declined!"