The situation of Leon Osman has been something that has particularly captured the imagination of Everton fans so far this season. He has endured varying fortune over the last few games and due to this, it is worth debating the future of someone who has been a loyal servant to Everton over the last decade.
It is fair to suggest that the last two league games have shown what Osman offers/lacks in the Everton team. Coming on as a substitute against Aston Villa, he provided a cool head and experience, which eventually told against a young Aston Villa side, with Osman proving the game changer. But against a tougher Spurs side, when starting the game, Osman was mostly anonymous and had a sloppy game in midfield.
From giving some fan forums a scout, the consensus seems to be split about Osman’s current effectiveness/ability. Obviously, this does not represent the entire demographic of Blues fans, but it provides an interesting perspective none the less. Some newspapers have also picked up on the current form of Osman, with one fan blog in the Metro suggesting that he should retire at the end of the season. Of course, all fans are entitled to their opinions, but is it really justifiable for people to write off Osman at this point in his career?
With continuing regards to the current campaign, Roberto Martinez’s use of Leon Osman this season can suggest a number of things. It may in fact be a sign of the times that Osman has not held down a place in the team in a specific position so far this year. He has moved around from a holding position, to playing out wide, to playing in the hole behind the striker, and the conclusion could be drawn that maybe Osman is not the player he once was. But it must be also be pointed out that Osman has being used to playing in a number of different roles over the years, (including as a striker on one brief occasion!) and arguments have always raged over what is his best position.
Nevertheless, at moment Osman seems to be moved around the team to accommodate other players and fills in where needed. Although this may justify a suggestion he is no longer a first choice pick, to e.g. play behind the striker, it still shows his importance of his versatility as a squad member.
At 32, Leon Osman will soon be entering the twilight of his career but it was only very recently that he was rewarded with an international call up. Though it may not happen again, it was nice to see his efforts in the blue shirt recognised as he did enjoy a real purple patch last season, with highlights being the goals against Liverpool and Manchester City. However, it is arguable that the level of Osman’s performances has since dipped a fair bit. For the best part of the end of last season and the beginning of this year, Osman has looked pretty leggy and fatigued and it is hard to argue with Ross Barkley emerging as the favourite to play behind the striker.
Maybe with Barkley coming into the side, it can be seen as a time of change in the Everton first eleven for the likes of Osman, as there are potentially more young midfielders ready to come into the fray, such as John Lundstram. But Leon Osman provides Everton with much more than just a position on the pitch. This is someone who has graduated through the ranks of the youth team and someone who ‘gets’ the club. Personally I don’t think the importance of something like this can ever be overstated. Also it regularly seems to pop up in interviews with players that ‘Ossie’ is the joker around the team and although I am not privy to what goes on at Finch Farm, the general impression from these interviews is that he is a well-liked member of the squad.
Roberto Martinez recently provided an excellent quote about it being in Everton’s DNA to win trophies and something else he has regularly drawn upon was the importance of keeping together David Moyes’ squad and building on it. You cannot look past Leon Osman being an important part of the DNA of Everton’s current squad and he certainly has a lot to offer to the many young players ready to break into the team and any potential new signings. This experience offers an invaluable quality to the squad so I don’t imagine Roberto Martinez will be discarding that any time soon.
Still, it is certainly obvious that the fans are split over what to think about Leon Osman. Although some thought that Osman would be a casualty of Moyes leaving, others thought that the style of Martinez would suit him more, but his season has so far proved hit and miss.
It would be interesting to know what the St Domingo readers feel about this.
Can Osman still pose a real threat against the top sides for Everton?
Is his role just to be a squad player now?
Or would you go as far as saying he is finished at Everton?
Please comment below.