Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe can barely believe Sylvain Distin is almost 38 as the defender prepares to face former club Everton on Saturday.
Distin, 38 next month, made a record 450th Premier League start for a non-English outfield player in Bournemouth’s 2-2 draw with Swansea last weekend.
Howe hailed Distin’s work ethic and clean living as central to his 16 years of top-flight English football.
“For this game to come off the back of his 450th league game, it’s good times for Sylvain,” said Howe.
“That’s an incredible landmark. And now he’s coming up against his former club it will be interesting to see how he does.
“He’s a very good player: I don’t think you make that number of appearances without being a good performer at the level.
“What amazes me about Sylvain is his physical well-being, how he’s managed to look after his body at his age and the games that he’s played.
“You still look at him and think he’s a lot younger than he is.”
Howe added: “He’s been a really good role model for us this season away from the games, in training and how he conducts himself.
“How he treats his body has been an eye-opener for a lot of our squad. That’s how he’s managed to stay in such good shape, so full credit to him for being himself really, in how he manages his body.”
Boyhood Everton fan Howe admitted it would still come as something of a shock to take on a club whose players he idolised as a youngster in Watford.
Despite supporting the Toffees in his formative years though, Howe insists his long-term bond with Bournemouth has turned him into a hardened Cherries follower.
“I’ve never envisaged managing a team against Everton, I would never have thought that was likely,” said Howe.
“I was an Everton fan when I lived in Watford, in the 80s Everton were a really successful team and the 1984 cup final sticks in my mind as a game I watched from a Watford perspective, then really enjoyed the way Everton played and ended up following them from then onwards.
“Everton was really important to my early memories and involvement in football, but moving down here, I ended up falling in love with Bournemouth.”
Bournemouth have been linked with January moves for Crystal Palace striker Dwight Gayle and New York Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Howe downplayed the rumours however, insisting any action now would prove premature.
“We’re always looking at the market,” said Howe.
“But that changes in an even shorter space of time than we have between now and January.
“So it’s still too far away. We’re aware there are one or two areas we may look to strengthen but it’s too early for that yet.”