DAVID MOYES believes there has never been a more deserving England call-up than Leon Osman – and hopes it can prove the catalyst to spur the midfielder on to even greater heights at Everton.
Osman was this week handed his first international recognition in 14 years when he was named in Roy Hodgson’s squad for next week’s friendly against Sweden in Stockholm.
It is just rewards for the 31-year-old after his succession of impressive displays have helped Everton into the Champions League qualification berths.
Osman appeared for England at under-16 but has since been overlooked by his country, despite being an Everton regular for the best part of a decade.
And a delighted Moyes believes the homegrown midfielder, who will line-up against Sunderland at Goodison this afternoon, can gain further confidence from his England nod.
“There hasn’t been a more deserving player to win a cap, in my view,” said the Everton manager.
“He was embarrassed on Thursday when we told him he had been called up and you can imagine the ribbing he has been getting here. Players have been joking that he’s changed already!
“Behind that embarrassment though you can see he is extremely proud and his family are no doubt delighted.
“I hope it will kick him on again. He played great for us last week. I hope he gets a chance to earn a cap.”
Moyes added: “I’ve been asked many times in the past about Ossie and England and I’ve always said that I thought he was just going to miss out.
“The competition to play in central midfield and other midfield positions for England has been difficult. I hope he gets a chance to get a cap.
“It will be recognition for someone who has been a really good professional, worked hard at his game and been a regular for Everton for 10 years.
“And I’ve always said that as long as I am here, then there is a place for Ossie in my squad.”