Donovan earns Moyes praise for fitting straight into Toffees line-up
Everton manager David Moyes has praised on-loan Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Landon Donovan for making an instant contribution on his return to the Merseysiders.
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.
As if he's never been away: Landon Donovan has slotted back into the Everton team with ease
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.
Friends reunited: LA Galaxy team mates Robbie Keane and Donovan come up against each other for Aston Villa and Everton
'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.
Premier class: Keane made his Aston Villa debut after agreeing a short term loan deal from LA Galaxy
'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.
The comeback kid: Thierry Henry made an immediate impact as he came off the bench for Arsenal against Leeds
'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.'