Moyes lauds loan ranger Landon

Arsene Wenger and Alex McLeish have hinted Thierry Henry and

Robbie Keane will be used primarily as impact players after

temporarily linking up with Arsenal and Aston Villa respectively

from Major League Soccer.

But Donovan has immediately been slotted into the Toffees

starting line-up and Moyes pinpointed him as the man of the match

in the 1-1 draw at Villa Park.

He was energetic and creative throughout, on the right, then the

left and finally in the centre, and set up Victor Anichebe’s

equaliser which cancelled out Darren Bent’s opener.

Moyes said: “Robbie Keane and Thierry Henry have come back to

the Premier League from America and they need a bit of time to

settle because of having a break since the end of the MLS.

“But Landon has come in and played three or four 90 minute games

already on the bounce since he arrived and that says a lot.

“It’s a testament to the professional he is. He was the best

player on the pitch at Villa.

“His work rate was terrific. I played him on the right, left,

then down the middle because he was the one who looked as if he had

the energy.

“We’ve never had the chance to take him off in games because we

need him so much with his running and the quality he has on the

ball.

“Now we are going to try and give him a couple of days off so I

don’t burn him out before he goes back to LA.”

Donovan believes he is not yet at his best but is confident

Everton can become a force once they overcome a lengthy injury

list.

He said: “With my form, I’m getting there. I don’t think I’ve

been at my absolute best yet and I think I have more to offer

“Not a whole lot has changed in the two years since I was here.

Of course, every time you lose players like Arteta and Pienaar,

there is going to be a difference in quality.

“But the mentality is good and I think we are just a little bit

away from being special again.

“Everton always seem to do well in the second half but you don’t

want to count on doing that. It’s a little dangerous.

“But if we can get the four or five injured guys back then the

manager will have decisions to make and it will strengthen the

squad a lot.”

The most pleasing aspect for Villa boss Alex McLeish is the

renaissance of midfielder Stephen Ireland after an up and down 18

months since his move from Manchester City.

Chants of “there’s only one Stephen Ireland” from the Holte End

indicate he is winning over the Villa fans.

McLeish said: “Stephen was instrumental in a lot of the good

football we played against Everton.

“He is in a good moment, there is no doubt about that. He is

such a clever player.

“When he is in the mood like that, and he has been in recent

weeks, he is real quality.

“I’ve spoken to him about a couple of things to help endear

himself to the Villa fans. He’s listened and he has seen that

through and it was nice to hear the fans chant his name.”

McLeish is urging Villa to move forward after ending a run of

four successive home defeats.

He said: “It is a step forward because I know the opposition

managers will be speaking about our home record before they play

us.

“They will be saying ‘if we keep Villa quiet, the fans will not

be with us the entire game’ and I understand that. It’s

football.

“We have got to entertain our fans and finally in the second

half we played some great football and the fans were with us all

the way.”