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Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Osman praises current Everton squad

Mike Whalley

Everton midfielder Leon Osman has hailed the club's current side as the best in his decade as a first-team player at Goodison Park.

• Blog: Clinical Everton march on

Saturday's Premier League home game against Swansea will mark the tenth anniversary since Osman, 31, first made his debut for David Moyes' side as a late substitute for Li Tie in a 4-3 defeat at Tottenham on January 12, 2003.

Moyes' current team are fifth in the league - two points off a Champions League qualification spot - and secured a place in the FA Cup fourth round with a 5-1 victory at Cheltenham on Monday.

Osman believes Everton have never had it so good during his time as a Toffees player than as they do now, and he has challenged his team-mates to maintain their form for the rest of the season.

"I would say this is probably the best Everton team in my time here," he said. "We've had some good teams over the years and some good seasons where we've finished high up in the league and got to cup finals. But, with the football we are playing and the games we are winning, I'd have to say this is the best team. We've got a bit of variety to our game. We pass but we are happy to go direct as well and mix the game up. That's difficult to defend against I suppose.

"We hope we are getting closer to winning a trophy. We've been developing as a team and we are finding the way to win games now. We drew a lot at the start of the season. Hopefully we've found a way to turn them into wins and that will put us in good stead until the end of the season."

Everton have lost only three of 21 league games this season and Osman feels they are well placed to maintain a challenge for the top four.

"Maintaining things for the whole season, that will be the test" he said. "In the past we've managed it for half a season, most of the time during the second half of the season. We've had a reasonably good start this time and can we maintain it over the whole season? We need to have a bit of luck, keep our important players fit for long spells."

• Pick your Premier League fantasy squad for the second half of the season now and challenge your friends.

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