LONDON (AFP) – Everton’s Nigerian striker Victor Anichebe has returned to first team action at just the right time club manager David Moyes said on Tuesday.
The 24-year-old showed little sign of lacking match fitness as he returned to the side and scored in last Saturday’s 2-1 English Premier League victory over West Ham leaving them fifth in the table.
Moyes, who has gained many admirers over the years for keeping Everton competitive by spending wisely the little money he has been allocated, is especially pleased Anichebe has returned now as the impressive Belgian international Kevin Mirallas is struggling with a hamstring problem.
Anichebe may well lead the line against third from bottom Wigan on Wednesday.
“Victor has played very well. He is an important player for us and a lot of people under-estimate what he can do for us,” said the 49-year-old Scot, who has been in charge of Everton for 10 years.
“Not having him available means we have not been able to change many things in the attacking areas.
“Not having Mirallas available for the last couple of months at different times has meant we have been limited in forward areas and probably not won as many games as we should have.
“We want to keep him (Anichebe) fit and him to have a bit of self-confidence and I am sure that goal will do that for him.”
Moyes, who has at times been slated as being the ideal replacement for Alex Ferguson when the venerable Scot steps down at Manchester United, will likely be without Mirallas while his highly-rated compatriot midfielder Marouane Fellaini is definitely out.
Fellaini, who will be serving the second of a three-match ban for headbutting Stoke’s Ryan Shawcross, will be replaced by Leon Osman, whose form recently earned him a call-up to the England squad at the relatively advanced age of 31.