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Jan 12, 2013

Osman to sign new contract

Leon Osman is set to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his Everton debut by signing a new contract.

• Blog: Behind the scenes part 2

Osman has become a key part of David Moyes' side since making his first appearance as a substitute in a 4-3 Premier League defeat at Tottenham on January 12, 2003.

Moyes declared on Friday that the 31-year-old is in the best form of his career, and wants to keep him at Goodison Park.

The Everton manager told the Daily Mirror: "We are giving him a new contract because he is such a valuable player to us. If he stays free of injury, he can go on for some years yet.

"I think Ossie is perhaps the example of how there has been a big style change in the Premier League over the past 10 years.

"When he first came in 10 years ago the Premier League was a more physical place. You even look at the champions at that time, Arsenal, and yeah they had Dennis Bergkamp and Thierry Henry, but they had Patrick Vieira and Emmanuel Petit, Sol Campbell and Kolo Toure, and they were a physically imposing unit.

"Some of the laws have changed, there is less tackling and no tackling from behind. It is more about covering now and positional play. The back pass law has changed things too.

"Barcelona perhaps have changed things with how they've done so well with small, talented footballers, and that has paved the way for smaller guys to thrive in this league - and that's helped.

"Early on, Ossie had the skills, but he did what he had to, so he could get a game, and he developed a competitive edge. If he had to mix it, he wouldn't shy away from that.

"We looked after him, played him off the side and also further forward at times, but for me, now in this climate he is as good a central midfield player as anybody in the country right now."

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