An Interview with Leon Osman

Earlier today Everton announced a new partnership with global multi-asset investment platform eToro. ‘The deal will see eToro become the Club’s ‘Official Online Trading Partner’, giving the organisation global exposure through access to Everton’s marketing assets and a presence at Goodison Park on matchdays.”

We were invited by sports agency Ear to the Ground to check out the launch event down in Shoreditch. Trade and investment is becoming increasingly popular now with the simplicity of smart phone apps and Everton are one of six Premier League clubs to partner with eToro this season.

eToro took the unusual but welcomed step of inviting not only players, but fan sites of each club to the launch event.

ClubAmbassadorFan Page
Aston VillaIan TaylorMy Old Man Said
EvertonLeon OsmanEverton Aren’t We
Crystal PalaceClinton MorrisonBack of The Nest
Leicester CitySteve Walsh100% LCFC
SouthamptonMatt Le TissierThe Ugly Inside
Tottenham HotspurLedley KingWe Are Tottenham TV

The second phase of the event took place on the corner of Shoreditch High Street. Our promise of a 10 minute interview at the end with Ossie fell short of 4 minutes and we weren’t allowed to ask about ongoing transfers…

Limitations aside, there was something quite Everton about finding a quiet spot off the side of a road to talk about the Blues like it’s half 4 in the morning in your mates’ kitchen.

Right okay. So, 38 now. Seems like yesterday really when it was you, Arteta, Cahill, Pienaar. Baines on the overlap. Scored some great goals. Does anything come close now to that feeling of playing football?

Erm. Well, probably not. I mean the team you just mentioned was an awesome team to play in. To be turning up every day and every weekend to know I was going to play along side, first of all those players, second of all those characters. You know they weren’t the only ones; there’s another couple that you’ve missed out in there. The quality of player matched the quality of character, so it was a great time for us as players at the club. Unfortunately, all things come to an end. Players get old, things move on. The disappointing thing was that we didn’t win something which that team should have.

We came close and definitely deserved to. I suppose at that point we probably (really) needed that elusive striker, you know. Again it’s looking now like that’s what we need. But you look at say the traditional number 9 and you think maybe clubs are moving a little bit away from that now. Is it as important as ever to get a traditional number 9 in today’s game?

Well you have to move with the times. When I first came through it was strictly 4-4-2. You had 2 strikers; you had a big man, you had a little man. You had say the likes of, I remember Kevin Campbell say with Francis Jeffers. The 2 of them linked up, bounced off eachother. And then as time developed it became the likes of let’s say Yakubu, Jelavic, Saha; played with a Cahill or Fellaini behind them and it was 1 up and 1 off. (Ossie starts making formations with his hands at the side of the road) Now we’ve developed into 1 centre forward and 2 sort of… wingers; but they’re not quite wingers, they’re strikers. So, football will always develop, football will keep moving on. You’ve got to be able to move with the times, you’ve got to adapt quickly. You’ve got to find a striker that fits first of all the style of play you’re trying to play, but also compliments the players around you. You know, that is vital because make no mistake about it, a striker is probably the most important player on the field. He needs to get the goals that your team deserve.

Do you think Everton are starting to attract a higher calibre of player now under Moshiri, Brands and Silva?

I think you’d have to say yes. But I think that’s been building over the course of many years now. You show what you’re capable of. You show your intent by bringing in certain calibre of players and people outside the club look at that and think that they want to join that project. They want to play with those quality players. It’s very rare that it happens over night when suddenly the top players in the world want to come and play for you. You have to build up to that and we’re certainly building.

Yeah I think maybe now we’re starting to look like we’ve got a vision again and maybe we’re able to sell that vision more clearly now to these players that are coming in. The last time we had that was probably, I don’t know, possibly a bit of Martinez but it kind of veered off since then didn’t it? Do you think Everton have got a clear vision now?

As you said, you’re selling the vision. I remember that we sold the facilities at one point; the training ground. Come and play with the team. We’re building towards this and look at what we can offer you. Yes, we lost our way a touch when a couple of years back, where we first got the investment and a lot of money and went out and bought like kids in a sweet shop I suppose. So we’ve learnt an awful lot from that. Fair play to the heirarchy for that. We’re a lot cleverer now. We’re a lot more focused on who we want, who will be a good addition to the team. And on top of that, of promoting the squad we’ve already got, the vision for the future, we’ve now got the prospect of the new stadium as well. So things are looking good and we’re certainly moving in a good direction.

So Idrissa Gueye, been a fantastic player for us. He leaves big boots to fill. Was it the right time to let him go?

Well you never want your top players to leave and make no mistake about it he was a top player. That’s why PSG come calling, but you can’t keep players playing for your team if they want to go and play elsewhere. It works the same for a manager as it does for a player. If a manager doesn’t want you, you’re bound to move on and same if a player gets his head turned by a Paris Saint-Germain of this world then that has to be the case. I think fair play to both him as a player and to the club. It was heavily linked in a previous transfer window and both kept their high standards up and come to an understanding over this. So you know, both the player and the club walk away with a good handshake. Made an awful lot of money in a short period of time on him and hopefully that’ll be reinvested as successfully as we had a transfer window last season.

You look at Fabian Delph; very experienced, covers a few areas. How important is it to get that mix of experience along side raw talent?

Vital. With the fact that Phil Jagielka left the club, and the signings we made last season. A lot of youth joined the club and as I said Phil Jagielka’s experience leaving, Leighton doesn’t play as many games as he used to. So to find a player with the wealth of experience Fabian Delph has got; the winners medals, the clubs he’d played for. He’s a current international. So it’s vital that he’s come in and even in the short time he seems to have a real understanding with Andre Gomes in the middle of the park. They’re both so comfortable in possession. And the main thing which I think we’ll see as the season progresses: he looks for the forward pass as early as possible, Fabian Delph. And that is a great plus for the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson.

What’s the aim for us this season then?

Well the simple aim is to finish as high as we possibly can. I think we have to aim for at least Europe; that has to be a minimum aim. If we can get a bit of momentum and if the so called big 6 are not all firing as well as they can, then can we break into that? Can we become part of that and make it a big 7? That has to be an aim of ours.

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