The promising debut of Ross Barkley has given David Moyes and Everton fans something to be positive about.
Moyes plans to handle Eveton's Ross Barkley with care
David Moyes is delighted Ross Barkley is giving Everton fans something to smile about but he is mindful of the need to be careful with the young midfielder.
The major positive for the Toffees to come out of their season-opening home defeat on Saturday to Queens Park Rangers - which followed a frustrating summer of limited activity in the transfer market for the Merseyside club - was Barkley's eye-catching senior debut.
Much is anticipated of the 17 year old and his dynamic performance in the game at Goodison Park on Saturday demonstrated why.
Moyes is certainly pleased the Everton faithful have a new hero, although the manager has stressed he will be taking a cautious approach with Barkley, who has had injury problems in recent years.
"I think everybody wants to get excited about players," said Moyes, who was the Everton manager at the time Wayne Rooney broke into the team.
"I think Evertonians have not got an awful lot to be excited about at the moment, so Ross gives everybody something to look at and cling on to.
"But I will have to pick and choose him at the right times and I'm sure people will understand.
"It is not just because of his age, it is also because of his lack of football as he is still really coming back from a triple broken leg, which we have to be mindful of.
"He is a boy who is keen as mustard. He was out on the training ground carrying the bag of balls this morning, and it is great.
"He is a boy from the city of Liverpool who people know, a bit like Wayne.
"Probably because he has missed a couple of years of playing, he is a little bit raw and naive with it, but it's great to see someone with the life and enthusiasm in them that he has. He is quite quiet off the field and doesn't say an awful lot, but he comes alive when he is on the field."
The other good news for Everton from the weekend concerned a far more experienced player, with the club confirming Phil Neville has signed a new contract extension.
The deal means the 34-year-old captain will play on for the club until at least 2013 and Moyes hopes Neville will consider a coaching role at Goodison Park when he decides to hang up his boots and retire.
"If Phil wants, there will always be a place for him as part of the coaching staff here," Moyes said.
"He is such a good pro and he has a great attitude towards his work.
"I don't know if that is what Phil wants to do, but with the type of person he is, we would be delighted to have him around here."
Aside from those bright spots, there has been little to cheer Everton supporters of late, with Bill Kenwright, the chairman, last week saying the club's transfer plans were being hampered by their inability to borrow from the bank.
Moyes is keeping upbeat, though, and ahead of tonight's Carling Cup second-round clash at home to Sheffield United, has urged the fans to do likewise.
"We are positive - we are not getting too down," Moyes said.
"We know within the walls that we are not in any way affected by the talk which is going on, but I did feel on Saturday that at times there was an anxiety in the crowd.
"But it is the same players here as last year when they finished seventh - the same players who lost at Blackburn on the opening day last season and recovered. We were determined and desperate to get off to a good start and we didn't do so.
"But we will try to get a good win in the cup that will hopefully kick us on."
Moyes has dismissed reports that Arsenal have come back in for Phil Jagielka, and says he is perplexed by claims that Joseph Yobo is on the verge of joining Fenerbahce.
Referring to the Yobo speculation, Moyes said: "I've not heard anything about it.
"I've seen a lot of stories saying that we've had an offer - I've certainly not been given it or heard of it, so I don't know where that has come from."