Everton captain Phil Neville welcomes Mirallas' return from injury

The veteran has believes the Belgian, who has been out for nearly two months with a hamstring injury, can boost the Toffees chances of qualifying for the Champions League

Everton captain Phil Neville has welcomed Kevin Mirallas’ return to first-team action after the Belgian spent almost two months out with a hamstring injury.

The summer buy from Olympiakos made a 25-minute cameo during side's goalless draw against Southampton, his first appearance since Everton's 2-1 home win over Sunderland on the November 10.

The 25-year-old has scored three goals in 14 appearances for his new club, and Neville believes the returning forward can help lift the Toffees into the Champions League places.

5/1 Everton are 5/1 with Bet365 to finish in the top four
"It was great to see [Mirallas] back," Neville told the club’s official website.

"It showed when Kevin came on, when their defenders dropped off a little bit, that they knew there was a player with pace.

"He brought others into the game. I thought Victor Anichebe made a huge change as well, causing them problems, and that was important for us."

After a promising start by Southampton under new boss Mauricio Pochettino, Everton grew into the game and Neville feels his side might have come away from St Mary's with all three points after an improved second-half showing.

He added: "We just didn’t start the game well. Southampton, with the new manager, came out of the traps really quickly. They had some chances and Tim Howard kept us in the game.

"But in the second half we played a lot better. We got control of the game and I thought that if there was going to be one team that would go on and win the game, it was us.
"We had some good chances - Victor, [Nikica] Jelavic and Mirallas all had good chances. But football’s like that – no two halves are ever the same."