DAVID MOYES is hoping to build a new, young Everton side around the inspiration of his towering Belgian, Marouane Fellaini.
The midfielder was in outstanding form against Aston Villa on Saturday – controlling the pace and pattern of the game and going close to opening his goal-scoring account for the season with several impressive efforts.
Afterwards Moyes declared: “I’ve said all along I think Fellaini is a really good player in the Premier League. And he’s young. He’s only 23 now so you think what he could be like when he’s 26 or 27.
“But we think he’s already come on a lot. He’s physically stronger, much more disciplined in the job he has to do in the team. He still has a tendency to run out of position but that can upset the opposition because of his size and you saw how good his feet are today.
“I think he’s a real good player. He’s got a lot going for him.”
Fellaini is currently negotiating a new long-term contract with the club and Moyes hopes that the Belgian can be the heartbeat of his side.
“I’m having to look to try and build a new side from what we’ve got, not necessarily with lots of new players,” explained Moyes.
“I need to get myself in the right position in the league, but also need to see where we can take it on and try to find the new Cahills.
“If people hadn’t seen the Greek boy (Apostolos Vellios) who came on they’d say ‘boy oh boy, you’re not the worst are you? You’ve done okay and were unlucky not to get one or two goals.’ And we have another couple who are similar to that.
“The problem is if you are trying them out in the Premier League it’s a risk - and at the moment I’m risking them.
“Ideally you would go and get them Championship experience so they know what the speed is like and the game is like and what they have to do. But because of our numbers we have to use these boys either in the team or to fill out the bench.”
Moyes explained that captain Phil Neville was left out after Tony Hibbert impressed in the Carling Cup victory over Sheffield United recently.
“Phil Neville was fine,” he said. “Johnny Heitinga had a bit of a knock from the Holland game.
“But what I’m trying to do is reward people who are playing well, and there were a few today who upped their performance on what they’ve had in recent games.
“It was frustrating because our performance probably merited more.
“We needed to do better to finish it off. But you have to give Aston Villa credit for the way they defended against us.
“We missed a couple of chances, but our play was exciting at times and we tried to score good goals and do the right thing. Overall there weren’t too many bad things. I’m disappointed we conceded two goals, one from 30 yards and one from a cross but I’ve got to say I thought today’s performance was really good.
“Three or four of the players really got at them and gave us a start and that got the fans right behind us as well. It’s a great place when the fans are up and it was today. The crowd probably responded to how well the players had done, especially in that opening period.
“I think I said after the first game against QPR the supporters rub off what we do on the pitch and we didn’t play that well. We didn’t play well against Blackburn, but the boys didn’t half play well today.
“It didn’t go for us and we had a couple of mistakes defensively, but you couldn’t fault the attitude, the commitment, the effort the players showed and I think the crowd picked up on that.
“I thought the crowd was terrific in the ground today, but I have to say I’ve always found them terrific.
“They obviously picked up on how the team was playing. And I thought the team did well so it’s easier for the supporters.”