Osman set for old battle

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Leon Osman is looking forward to resurrecting an old rivalry when his Everton side take on Liverpool in the Merseyside derby at the weekend.

Osman and Liverpool full back Stephen Warnock have long been rivals, starting at cubs when they were 11.

They have now gone on to be good friends having played together with England's schoolboys and their careers have mirrored one-another's.

Both struggled during their youth careers with nasty injuries, Osman with his knee whilst Warnock suffered three broken legs, but since then have progressed to play Premiership football after spells at lower-league clubs.

The Everton midfielder is now just grateful for what he has achieved in his short career having almost been forced to pursue another path after the knee injury.

"We're from the same district and we have known each other for a long time," said Osman in the Daily Express.

"I went to cubs when I was under-11 and we met then and we used to play against each other for our school teams.

"We played a good few games against each other, they had the better team but we nicked a few matches.

"Then we played for England schoolboys together so we know each other quite well.

"We both did well at youth level, but we never broke into the first team straight away.

"We had a few knock-backs with people thinking we weren't ready or weren't good, and the injuries.

"But that just makes you tougher and means you have to believe in yourself. We proved ourselves at other clubs.

"I do appreciate what I have now, and I am determined to keep myself at this level and I'm sure he is just like me."