“Like a lot of the Southampton players who have moved up through the leagues, he's done very well,” admitted the Toffees boss.
“Some of them have gone the distance with them, some of them have joined in as they've gone along. I think they've tended to keep the soul of the club and I think Rickie Lambert's been a great goalscorer through his career and continues to be so now.”
He has been pleased to see players like Lambert proving that the lower leagues can still produce top flight talent.
“It's very encouraging,” he added. “I think it's something we have to try and embrace because if not we're going to be going abroad trying to buy all the players.
“It would be great if we were still able to go and buy players [from other leagues]. We went and we got people like Tim, Joleon, Andrew Johnson and people like that from the lower leagues in England.
“Lower leagues may not be the right words because at times some of them had played in the Premier League but I think people get the message that we have tried to pick up players from a little bit lower down if we can.”