Underrated #8

Leon Osman
Leon Osman Leon Osman of Everton celebrates after scoring the fourth goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Everton and Wigan Athletic at Goodison Park on April 5, 2009 in Everton, England.  (Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Leon Osman
Article by Thedamnedunited
Leon Osman's been around a fair old time now but in that time he hasn't really been in the limelight all that much. He's never moved away from Everton, never been called up to the England squad, and never won a piece of silverware. He's almost been the forgotten man in the Everton midfield, as players such as Landon Donovan have come and gone, overshadowing him in the side. In my opinion he deserves a lot more recognition than he actually gets, which I a shame.

We should all know about Leon Osman by now. He's been playing for Everton since the age of 16, and has been running their midfield since the age of 23. Since then he's become more well known for being a typical box-to-box midfielder who doesn't mind putting a shift in for his team. But in his time he's found himself appearing everywhere across the midfield, forward and defensive positions, and also on the wings, probably making him Everton's most flexible, and to many,  their most reliable player over the last 9 years.

Since first breaking through into the Everton team in 2003/04, after loan spells at Carlisle United and Derby County, Osman has really been able to develop his game, helping him become known as one of the most consistent midfielders in the Premier League. He has a tendency have a real go at the opposition when his team don't have the ball, tracking and chasing all the way back go inside his own penalty area. And with players like Phil Neville, Phil Jagielka and Leighton Baines behind him in defence, you can count on at least one of them winning the ball, prompting Osman to surge forward tirelessly. Even now at the age of 31, the effort he puts into each performance hasn't gone down. 

From his point of view there's probably only two things missing from his career; the first being winning some silverware. You have to say, he and Everton came pretty close to winning the greatest cup competition in the world back in the 2008/09 season, finishing runners up in the FA Cup to Cheslea, after they had scored the quickest goal ever seen in the final through Louis Saha (34 seconds). Ironically, it was probably the best English midfielder at the time in Frank Lampard that turned it around, turning and 1-0 win into a 2-1 defeat for the Evertonians. They haven't come close to any form of silverware since. 

The second thing missing for his an all-important England call-up. Some prominent football pundits believe Osman to be one of the best currently-active players to have not represented the England National Football Team. In his career he's deserved as much of chance as anyone else. He's been everything a manager would want a modern midfielder to be. He's got vision, confidence on the ball, technique and ability. As I said above, he did have to compete against free-scoring Frank Lampard, as well as Steven Gerrard from across Merseyside to name two. But what's astounded me is the fact he hasn't even been considered for friendly games, let alone World Cup Finals matches. At some stage in his career (or maybe even now for that matter) he must have been worth a run-out, well all know he's good enough for it anyway. He deserves more recognition than what he has got over recent seasons, but hopefully if his form this season continues he might well get it.