Former Everton defender Alan Stubbs has lavished praise on right-back Tony Hibbert by labelling him 'the perfect role model'.

Stubbs, who coaches Everton's Under-21 side, was speaking after Hibbert helped his side to a 2-1 victory over Middlesbrough.

Hibbert has only made five Premier League appearances this season - having been plagued with injuries since he last featured for the Toffees against Manchester City at the beginning of December. 

Stubbs, speaking to Everton's official website, said on Hibbert: "Hibbo is obviously a top pro and you only need to look at the way he went about it.

"He’s a great lad and always gives what he has got. He is always seven or eight out of 10."

Stubbs revealed Hibbert is ready to return to the senior side with the long-serving defender pencilled in to make a full comeback against Sunderland on Saturday.

“Hibbo is ready to be called upon now. He just needs to keep his fitness up for when that time comes. His injuries are behind him now, which is great, and he’s ready for the manager," explained Stubbs

David Moyes may be reluctant to start Hibbert against Paolo Di Canio's Mackems due to Everton's participation in the race for Champions League football and the outstanding form of Irish defender Seamus Coleman. 

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