In the past few games Leon Osman has been wonderful. He has been the creative fulcrum in a team shorn of stars. That this Everton, a pruned squad facing the business end of the season, has done better than the superstars who started our season and flattered to decieve opens up a lot of questions. Perhaps those worried about our lack of transfer funds, and potential summer sales, should cast their minds back to 2004-05 when we finished 4th, after selling Wayne Rooney the previous summer and Thomas Gravesen half way through the campaign.
Despite excelling in a weakened side, finally playing in the position that is best for him, the criticism of little Leon has continued. In the eyes of his detractors, he is a bell hop, merely fit to carry the bags of our stars, and then there are whispers that he isn’t even up to that job.
Others say he’s physically unable to compete in the Premier League, persisting with the view that he is toothless and weak, that he floats around midfield following the opposition like an over-attentive waiter.
Surely this vocal minority will wake up soon. Wake up to the fact that when he plays in his best position, centrally, with freedom to roam wide, he is excellent. Wake up to the fact that far from being a defensive liability, he made almost three times as many successful tackles as Phil Neville did on Saturday against Blackburn. And finally, wake up to the fact that you can’t judge this little book by its cover. Leon may be small, but surely we’re beyond the myopic view that positions depend on physique. That the tall ones play centre half, the little ones play on the wing, and the fat ones in goal?