Everton No2 Irvine praises Stubbs

He told the club’s website: “I have always been of the opinion that defenders improve with age and that is the case with Stubbsy. We have been lucky to have him and, in the past, Davie Weir to offer so much. They are terrific professionals to have around.

“So, when you think about it, it would be foolish for the likes of Joleon and Joseph not to tap into the experience of Stubbsy and I’m sure that they would be quick to acknowledge the role he has played in their development this season.

“We are pleased to say that whatever partnership we have played in the centre, the amount of clean sheets we have had has been very good and we hope that can continue through to the end of the season.”

Irvine added: “Alan was absolutely fabulous against Arsenal. But it shouldn’t really be a surprise that he did so well. With the vast experience he has, he will always be in the right position and make the right decisions. You’ll never see him get caught for pace.”