Everton's Leon Osman Deserves His Long Overdue England Call Up

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Everton's Leon Osman Deserves His Long Overdue England Call Up
Alex Livesey/Getty Images
Osman getting his just desserts.

There is a well-known idiom here in England that states when someone gets what they deserve, they are said to be “getting their just desserts.”

Yesterday, that phrase related to Leon Osman, who has been included in Roy Hodgson’s England squad to face Sweden next Wednesday.

With that in mind, I would like to echo the sentiments made by Joe Tansey and commend Hodgson for Osman's well overdue England call-up.  

Over the years, Everton supporters and pundits were collectively surprised that Osman had been overlooked at the international level, with England managers electing to call up players like Jordan Henderson and Stuart Downing instead.

But all the heartache will be forgotten if the extremely talented and likable lad from Wigan gets his first cap next week.

So, why has Osman been called up at the grand old football age of 31?

It is an extremely simplistic question to answer because, unlike the majority of England’s workmanlike midfield, Osman can unlock opposition defences with his astute awareness, range of passing and excellent ball control.

But, do not just take my word for it, his future England international teammate Jack Wilshere once tweeted, “Osman plays a bit like Iniesta….#underrated,” and though some Everton fans would choke on their coronation chicken sandwiches at the very notion of Osman being likened to Iniesta, Wilshere did make an interesting point. 

I have been an Everton fan for over two decades and Osman is definitely up there in terms of the most naturally gifted footballers I have seen at the football club.

Mark Runnacles/Getty Images
Everton's own Iniesta?

When he came back from his loan spell at Derby County in 2004, I seriously thought that he would become the midfield talisman for years to come.

Unfortunately, he failed to solidify his place in the first team, thus becoming Everton’s utility man, filling various roles and positions in the team, with Mikel Arteta becoming the main focal point in Everton’s midfield.

When Arteta was transferred to Arsenal, we began to see how important Osman was to Everton. From February onwards last season, Osman—along with Steven Pienaar and Leighton Baines—dominated games, effortlessly unlocking the opposition defences, as teams including Newcastle Utd, Sunderland and Fulham all failed to cope with the diminutive midfielder.

He has now firmly established himself as vital cog in Everton’s wheel.

However, Osman is not without his flaws.

His main weakness revolves around his inconsistency, which enrages Everton fans on a weekly basis. One week he looks like Iniesta, the following week he is more like a one-legged Luke Chadwick.

Osman’s shooting is also erratic at best.

His goal against Larissa in the UEFA Cup during the 2007-2008 season showcased what he is capable of, but sporadically scoring world-class goals is nowhere near good enough.

His senior career has seen him score only 39 goals in close to 300 games—a stat which illustrates a disappointing story.

At 31 years old, time is now against him, making you wonder how successful his career could have been had he shaken off that inconsistency tag.

That said, he is well overdue for his international call up.

What he lacks in physical stature and consistency, he makes up for with his twinkle toes and clever football brain—two traits the English midfield is desperately in need of.

Nov. 8, 2012 was the day Leon Osman finally got his just desserts.

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