David Unsworth has spoken about his time at Everton under David Moyes.
Unsworth who scored the first goal of the Moyes era, also opened up about dealing with Paul Gascoigne and watching Wayne Rooney emerge as a youngster.
“The perception of David at Everton was that he was cautious but I didn’t get that impression,” recalled Unsworth.
“He’d always bang the drum about ‘winning’. Bill Kenwright (Everton’s chairman) said when he interviewed David that he said ‘winning’ 40-odd times in the space of half-an-hour.
“David’s football daft. He’d be at Bellefield (the old training ground) at nine in the evening, and go to a game every night if there was a game.
“David was phenomenal, the best coach I’ve worked with. Everything in training was relevant, geared towards the game. David would always take the defenders.
“He loved clean sheets. David had two or three fitness coaches in the space of a year. If he didn’t like them they were out. His detail of fitness work – body fat, strength work and diet – was more than any other manager I had.
“David and Alan were mad on Pro Zone, on detail. David would talk us through what we’d done well and what we’d done badly. He’d be critical in the right way.
“With David, it wasn’t ‘my way is the only way’. He had an aura about him that you knew if he lost it he meant business, but there was no throwing tea cups.
“He’s a family guy, compassionate. When a couple of family things happened to a few of the players you saw that compassion in him.
“He’s very humble, no ego.”
One of the players Unsworth played with at Everton was Paul Gascoigne.
“When Gazza was in his prime, he’d be running at you and could go either way,” said Unsworth.
“When he came to Everton (in 2000), even though he’d lost a yard of pace you could still give him the football in any area and he’d always take it.
“It’s just a crying shame what has happened to him now. Gazza’s a great guy and would give you his last penny and that probably cost him.
“As senior players, all that me, Duncan (Ferguson), Kevin Campbell and Alan (Stubbs) wanted to do was put him in the car and take him home and look after him, to save him from himself.
“A couple of times I went over to his hotel to have meals with him to keep him occupied. He’d get bored quickly.
“Unfortunately when we weren’t there, he’d have a drink and that would be his downfall.”
Unsworth also watched the emergence of a young Wayne Rooney.
“I will never forget Wayne’s first session. He came in as a 15-year-old, training with the seniors, and it was a ‘wow’ moment. ‘Cocky’ is the wrong word, but there was an aura about him then.
“I saw his desire. He knew he could compete at this level. He had everything: he could compete physically, run, got a trick, clever, can finish.
“Wayne’s a nice guy as well. People don’t see that side. I know he’s had his issues. I’ve been to United a couple of times to watch training. Wayne was straight over to say ‘hello’, have a chat, nothing ‘big time’.
“I’m an Everton fan – so is Wayne. Once a Blue always a Blue – he made that famous didn’t he? He might end up back there at the end of his career.”