STEVEN NAISMITH will be a big hit for Everton – according to the manager of tonight’s friendly opponents Dundee United.
Tannadice boss Peter Houston worked with Naismith in his role as assistant to Scotland manager Craig Levein, and believes a move to Goodison was the right choice for the 25-year-old.
He said: “I think he can be a very good signing for Everton. I’ve always rated him highly but it wasn’t until I worked with him at the Scottish national level that I realised how good he actually is.
“Naisy’s got a bit of everything. He has heart, can take knocks, runs with the ball and scores goals. He’s also versatile and can play in number of positions which is a big plus these days. If he was going to the Premiership at all I think Everton was the right club for him to go to. I say that because he’s got a manager who will make sure he gets the best out of him. David is an excellent manager who has worked wonders at Everton and it is always good to see another Scotsman doing so well down in England as a coach.
“I have no doubts he (Naismith) will play a part for Everton next season because he has fantastic ability and despite his injury last season, he has always been a fit lad so he will come back every bit as strong as he was before the injury.
“Everton have got themselves a fantastic player and for Steven it is a magnificent opportunity to go down to the EPL and ply his trade. From an international viewpoint it is also fantastic for Scotland that Steven will be up against such difficult opponents each week.
“I have no doubt he will improve as a player and Everton will reap the benefits of that as well as Scotland.”
It remains to be seen which of Everton’s senior first team players will be involved in the game, although it is unlikely Naismith will get a run out.
The ex-Rangers forward has yet to play since rupturing knee ligaments at Ibrox last October, and will continue to build his fitness before figuring later in his new club’s pre-season schedule, possibly on next week’s trip to play in the Java Cup in Indonesia.
Tonight however, Everton should be in for a stern test. Houston’s side are on form after beating local rivals Dundee 3-0 at the weekend, and will play in the Europa League this season.
But the Tangerines boss insists his players will have to step up a level when they face Everton.
He said: “For us it is all about preparing for the Europa League third round qualifier which is now just over two weeks away. Everton are an ideal opponent at this stage, because they are a top team with some tremendous players and will provide our lads with a really stern test. Likewise we have some very good players who will provide a test for the Everton lads so it should be an exciting spectacle.
“Our fans will appreciate the chance to watch a team of Everton’s calibre and will be treated to two teams who play football in the correct manner.”
Tickets for the Everton game are priced at £10 for adults and £5 concessions.