Osman not daring to dream... yet

, 5 April, 0comments  |  Jump to most recent

Leon Osman believes that Everton under Roberto Martinez are better equipped to take on Europe's elite than the Blues were nine years ago when they fell at the first hurdle to Villarreal.

The 32-year-old midfielder was a core part of David Moyes's aspiring Champions League qualifiers in 2005 and a mainstay in the Scot's team for remainder of his time in the Goodison hotseat but Osman is enjoying life under Martinez's more expansive, possession-based approach.

"I'm not going to say I didn't enjoy my time playing under David Moyes because I always enjoyed playing for Everton," he says in The Observer. "But any footballer will tell you it is a lot more enjoyable having the ball than not having it.

"Ultimately it is about winning games and you could be without the ball for 89 minutes, score a goal and be happier than if you had the ball and lost.

"Football is a results business and we used to be about getting results, but if you can put the two together, retain possession and still win games, that is more enjoyable. We have taken that next step.

"This season we are a possession team whether we win or lose. We live and die by that at the moment, that's why I think we might do better in the Champions League if we are able to qualify.

"No disrespect to the team back in 2005, what we achieved was fantastic, but we were a team out of possession. We'd basically let opponents have the ball, defend, and try to score on the counter-attack. That put us in good stead that season and we managed to finish 4th on the back of it but we couldn't make the next step after that."

Osman, who could again captain the team this weekend in Phil Jagielka's absence, is aware of the opportunity that exists for Everton to get another crack at qualifying for the Champions League but he insists that they have to win tomorrow if they are to beat Arsenal to that coveted 4th spot.

"Even if we win against Arsenal, we still have to try to finish above them in the league," he continues. "At the moment, they are in a stronger position than we are. Arsenal are four points ahead so we are outsiders. If we've got genuine aspirations about overtaking them then we have got to win this game."

"I'm sure [both Merseyside teams qualifying for the Champions League] would be great for the area but I'm only concerned about us. Ask any Evertonian. We don't really care about the team across the park.
Leon Osman

Now in the twilight of his top-flight career, it would add another layer to his experience at Everton since he broke into the side under Moyes all those years ago, but he admits that he would dearly love some silverware to put the icing on the cake.

"A top-four finish would be fantastic, it would show you had performed consistently over a whole season, but for me personally I would love to have won a cup and I'm sure a lot of other people feel the same way," he adds.

"But then again, when I look back and think of the injuries I had early on, and the loan spells, and all the people telling me to make sure I was ready for life outside football, I've got nothing to complain about after 10 years.

"I came through the youth team and the reserves, and it is strange to think that of all those lads I played with practically everyone fell out of the game, so that now there is only me and Tony [Hibbert] still playing. I don't know if I was cocky or lucky, but I never doubted for a second that I was going to be a footballer and play for Everton."

Quotes sourced from The Observer

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