Tim Cahill has thanked David Moyes for giving him the opportunity to shine in the Premier League.
The Australian joined Everton from Millwall in the same week in 2004 that Wayne Rooney left Goodison Park for Manchester United.
He has since established himself as one of the most dangerous attacking midfielders in English football and helped Everton challenge consistently for Europe.
Cahill believes Moyes deserves much of the credit for Everton's success and is grateful to the manager for showing such faith in him.
"There are other managers who say they wanted to sign me, but this is the manager who did it, and when I met him and the chairman (Bill Kenwright), I knew this was the club for me," Cahill told The Independent.
"Even now, five years later, I'm still grateful every single day for the opportunity he gave me.
"He threw me in for my debut at Old Trafford because Tommy Gravesen was ill, and we got our first draw there in eight years. It was sink or swim that day, and I've been swimming ever since.
"He has built a core of players he knows and trusts, and I talk to him all the time."
Cahill is confident Everton can beat Manchester United in their FA Cup semi-final on Sunday but accepts it will be a difficult test.
He said: "We need four or five of them to have an off day, and we all need to play well.
"The basis of our team is character, strength, passion and belief. Everyone knows that.
"We have talent too - Phil Jagielka is one of the best players in the Premier League this season - but when you think about what we're missing, Yakubu, and Mikel (Arteta) the maestro, who makes the team tick, and you think that we're still looking good to finish sixth, or fifth, then what does that tell you about our spirit?
"I have to believe we're going to beat United. If I don't believe that then my dreams will never come true."