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Donovan absence will be felt at Everton - Neville

Everton captain Phil Neville believes the departure of Landon Donovan will leave a gaping hole at the club.

The USA international's second loan spell at Goodison Park is over and he will now return to LA Galaxy for pre-season training ahead of the 2012 MLS season.

Neville felt that Donovan was better in his second stint with the Toffees and is aware that he will be tough to cover as the Merseysiders go about their traditional improvement in the second half of the campaign.

"Last time he came here, he lit the place up," Neville told the club's official website.

"He came back this time a couple of years older and with more expectation on his shoulders.

"He was really on a hiding to nothing and I think this time he's performed even better.

"I know how he felt when he had to miss the game (FA Cup fifth round against Blackpool). He was devastated.

"It was just nice that he could thank the fans for a tremendous two months. He was a breath of fresh air around the place.

"He immersed himself in the whole club - not just on the pitch but off the pitch as well. We will miss him."

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Andrew Slevison
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Andrew Slevison

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