Steven Pienaar, right, has won rave reviews in the English Premiership for his play with Everton. ((Lee Warren/Gallo Images/Getty Images))


Born: March 17, 1982, in Johannesburg, South Africa

Position: Midfielder

Nickname: Schillo

Clubs played for: Pienaar cut his teeth at Ajax Cape Town before making the move to the Netherlands and joining Ajax Amsterdam in 2001. A five-year stint in Amsterdam was followed by a move to Borussia Dortmund in 2006, but the South African failed to impress during his one season in Germany, and he was loaned out to English side Everton the following year. The loan deal was made permanent in 2008.

International career: Pienaar made his national team debut in 2002 in a friendly against Turkey and was a member of the South African side that competed at the World Cup that same year (although, he didn't see any action). Pienaar also represented his country at the 2008 African Cup of Nations in Ghana.

Why is he so special? A player cut from the imposing mould of Patrick Vieira, Pienaar is a solid-two-way player who combines defensive combativeness with creative invention.

His most famous moment: When he scored his first goal for Everton in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough on Sept. 30, 2007.

He said it: "I would definitely say I am a more complete player since coming [to Everton]. I have learnt to think about parts of my game much harder and it's made me a better player. I will track back more than I used to, follow defenders. We work hard for each other in this team."

What they're saying about him: "He is our best player by an absolute mile." (Phil Neville, Everton captain)

Here's an interesting fact: Pienaar's home was burgled last month while he was playing for Everton against Tottenham, becoming another in a long list of Liverpool and Everton players to have their homes targeted while on duty for their teams.