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Hibbert ? a more balanced view

By Dan Murphy :  02/10/2007 :  Comments (48) :
The criticism of Tony Hibbert seems to have dropped off a gear since his solid performance on Sunday, although few internet critics could bring themselves to praise him for shutting down England left winger Stewart Downing. I read one match report which tore into Hibbert for Boateng's early chance, citing evidence that Stubbs had a go at him over it.

But didn't that move come straight up the middle i.e. was more like Stubbs's responsibility? And what's new about a senior centre-half blaming a younger fullback for his own mistake? The same review didn't tear strips off Stubbs for O'Neill's wasted chance which was more clearly his fault. (Overall Stubbs had a great game: two games, two clean sheets gives Moyes a selection issue for Thursday...)

Hibbert's critics seem to be endowing him with magic powers whereby mistakes in other parts of the pitch are still his fault. The Kharkiv equaliser is a case in point where he was in position on the right and the ball got played inside and the central defence was nowhere in sight yet after the game everyone ran for the message boards to blame Hibbert.

How quickly people forget the part Hibbert played in our last two Europe qualifying seasons by shutting down the opposition?s left wing. Giggs, Duff, Downing, Young, Robben: he's had the measure of them all. He is a very good one-on-one defender and tackler.

That's not to say he hasn't got deficiencies in his game or doesn't make mistakes. He coughed up a ball to United right across the box at Goodison last season and was caught ball watching for Wigan?s goal on the opening day. Santa Cruz's goal for Blackburn I don't count against Hibbo because it was a (un)lucky deflection off the bar.

He's no great attacking, overlapping, wingback to be sure. He should work harder on this side of the game if he wants to stay at the top but did we see signs of new attacking intent on Sunday with a couple of crosses form the by-line?

Also, those who criticise Hibbert's failure to get forward overlook the fact that we don't play with a right winger. While the line-up shown on telly has Arteta at outside right, in reality he's here, he's there, he's every fucking everywhere. This allows teams playing with a left-winger to push further up the pitch. Your right back can't go haring up the flank all day leaving their left back and winger free to counter.

But the real issue is who would replace Hibbert?

Uhh... ?Phil Neville!? I hear you say.

I don't remember Phil Neville being a top right back at United. His brother was. I remember Phil Neville being an average fill-in left back and getting England thrown out of Euro 2000 by giving away a stupid penalty. Apparently the same Phil Neville who regularly gives the ball away in midfield is going to solve the distribution problems at right back...?

I didn't see the Sheffield Wednesday game where Neville apparently had a blinder of a second half. But neither would I judge someone's ability to play a position in the Premier League on their performance against the bottom of the Championship.

Is Neville a proven fullback you want to risk in a big game like Thursday? I don't think so. Myself, I'm a 3-5-2 man - I'm fed up of watching 4 defenders mark 1 or 2 forwards, although you need the right wingers for that formation.

Don't give up on Hibbert just yet. If you need a scapegoat try someone who played shite on Sunday, like Jagielka.

Reader Comments

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David O Keefe
1   Posted 02/10/2007 at 15:32:24

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Its balanced when dealing with Hibbert, But Neville is the better full-back. He should not be in the middle of the park and the same goes for Jagielka. Moyes has bought too many defenders and not enough midfielders. The result a line-up reminiscent of Walter Smith.
David Bromley
2   Posted 02/10/2007 at 15:57:25

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Distribution wise, I do feel a bit sorry for Hibbert at times. Some of the hospital balls he is given, most notably by Neville, mean that he quite often doesn?t have any other choice but to hoof it! Even if he managed to look up he would not see anyone rushing to give him an option. Neville in midfield is the root of so so many of our problems!!
T Knowles
3   Posted 02/10/2007 at 16:33:00

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I agree that Hibbert can defend and is best suited to having to play against a wide left sided player. The reason he was so badly exposed against Metalists was because the game was much slower than in the Prem & he had more time on the ball - thus exposing his absolutely shocking distribution. I lost count of how many times he gave the ball away. In the current team we are relying on the full backs to provide width and quality delivery. Hibbert cannot do this which is astounding for a prem footballer. It’s Neville for me.
Jimmy the Saint
4   Posted 02/10/2007 at 17:10:30

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The fact remains that Hibbert cannot cross a ball, or get down the wing with any kind of success, which is a vital part of a full back’s role. Granted he is decent as a defender, and holds players in a one on one situation, but this just isn’t enough. Neville is an important player for Everton through his experience and reading of the game. However, aside from that he is also more than competent defending as well as getting balls into the box. Given he is not as good a full back as his brother, but few are, and we need to use our resources as best we can. Neville is terrible in central midfield, and would be much more useful at left back.
Sam Morrison
5   Posted 02/10/2007 at 17:17:27

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Well argued stuff, Dan. I thought I was in a minority of one for not thinking Hibbert was the worst player to wear the shirt this season. Unfortunately the stuff he does well is not the stuff that excites the fans. Though I’d still go for Neville over him at right-back I don’t think he needs to be demonised and contrary to popular belief he does get forward now and then!
B Temple
6   Posted 02/10/2007 at 17:07:13

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Hibbert’s main problem is he is too quiet. It really is that simple! Hibbo gets exposed at full-back because he doesn’t let his team mates know what’s going on.

Hibbo can tackle, despite comments to the contrary he can pass (when he’s given some options and hasn’t been given the ball with an opposition player within three feet of him!), he can also get forward and cross the ball.

The only reason that Neville looks a better right-back than Hibbo is that he lets the others know what is going on and isn’t afraid to tell Arteta that he needs to stick to his position once in a while.
Steve Williams
7   Posted 02/10/2007 at 21:59:53

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In all fairness Hibbert did OK on Sunday, no better, no worse. He certainly wasn’t worse than anyone else, so on that performance, he shouldn’t be singled out.

However, Sunday was probably our worst performance of the season - we could and, probably, should have been 4 - 2 down by halftime, we were really that bad. So to hail Hibbert on that basis is really damning him with faint praise. Furthermore, one swallow does not a summer make. He has been consistently dreadful for longer than I care to remember.

Admitedly, the lad likes a tackle and in a one on one situation is adequate, but full back is far more complex than that nowadays. It is the ONLY position on the pitch where a player has any degree of time. For that reason alone, distribution is critical to the attacking AND defensive effectiveness of a team. Hibbert has never looked comfortable on the ball and far too often surrenders possesion cheaply (although he is certainly not the only culprit here). The other principal role of a full back is to size up play when he or his team mates don’t have the ball. He must be able to fill the right space. Hibbert has singularly failed to get to grips with this aspect of the game. Far too often he gets caught ball watching and drifts out of position resulting in chances for the opposition. I can think of three goals already this season coming from that scenario - its almost as if the opposition is targetting his weakness.

All of this mere opinion should have no impact on his future career as, ultimately, his destiny is in his own hands. He needs to continue to do the things he does well and improve on the glaring deficiencies in his game or he runs the risk of being replaced by Neville or Jagielka, in the short term, or a specialist right back in the medium term, much in the way that Baines arrived at EFC. As I say, the choice is his.
Connor Rohrer
8   Posted 02/10/2007 at 22:17:23

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Dan, I dont agree with your comments on Neville. He is a disgraceful midfielder but actually a quite decent fullback. His natural position is fullback and he should play there for us. If he doesn’t play at right back then he has to play in midfield which every evertonian doesn’t want.

He played right back for most of last season and did it very well. Did we no keep 14/15 clean sheets with Neville in defense aswell as him contributing 5 assists. Thats shows to me that while he can defend he is also decent going forward and his crossing is very good.

I agree Hibbert doesnt deserve all the critisism he gets but he is a limited footballer. He is a very talented defender but lacks the basic skills to ever be a good all round fullback.

Hibbert revels when he is facing a winger as he is occupied for most of the game and the emphasis is not on attacking and supporting the winger. I would play him in games against Ronaldo, Young, Downing etc where his main job is to defend but in games where we are going to be attacking all game no chance.

In my opinion, a good squad player and nothing more.
9   Posted 03/10/2007 at 05:38:48

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Describes what Hibbert does fairly well but doesn’t touch on what he does particularly poorly which is defending on the post. He’s not too clever on the near post but his back post defending is abysmal. Man Utd couldn’t wait to get Van Orseshead against him on the back post. Knowing how to be part of, and playing with, the rest of the defence really is something a defender at the highest level must do.
Cormac Murphy
10   Posted 03/10/2007 at 07:52:39

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At best, Hibbert is a mediocre player, and would best be suited in a lower division. He gives the ball away far to often and is caught in possession at least 2 or 3 times a game. He is one-dimensional in his passing, and possesses no attacking skills. As you mentioned the awful pass into the box last season giving United a goal was inexplicable. He has been a good servant to the club, but he really should not be in the team.
Rob Wilkinson
11   Posted 03/10/2007 at 08:31:40

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although Hibbert puts his heart and soul into every challenge and does have some good games he isnt a patch on baines. i know i know baines is a left back but if we want 2 b as good as the top 4 which we are still buildin towards shouldnt we have a balanced side ie a right back as good as baines. hibbert will do for now but we all agree baines is fuckin class and we need sum1 in his mould sooner rather than later...
John Lloyd
12   Posted 03/10/2007 at 09:17:06

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I’m bored of this Tony Hibbert debate, fact is he’s not good enough. Would he get in Arsenal’s side, Man Utd’s, Chelseas, Liverpools.....NO. Then ask yourself, would he get in Tottenhams, Man Citys or even Pompeys team.....probably not!! He wouldnt even get in a spanish/italian european chasing squad, never mind team so WHY is he in ours????
dominic duerden
13   Posted 03/10/2007 at 10:03:20

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Hibbert is rubbish , Phil Neville at right back is in a totally different league.
Defensively , teams pick Hibbert out as he is so poor in the air. Add this to his pathetic distribution , and there is no doubt he should be out of the squad. Dan , don’t defend the indefensible.
sean norton
14   Posted 03/10/2007 at 10:21:18

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Hibbert is an outstanding defender but the modern game has moved on and the best football teams are those who can keep possession of the football and therefore control football games. The usual top four teams in the premiership have all made over 3,000 successful passes this season, Everton have half that amount.
Only Fulham and Villa have made less successful passes than us in the entire league. Is it the players, is it the manager or is it a combination of both? I’m not 100% certain but what I do know is that Tony Hibbert cancels out all his good work by constantly giving the opposition the ball back and putting his own team back under pressure. In Europe this will be more of a problem and against Metalist we saw the result. They actually reached the point where they stopped closing down yobo and hibbert because they knew that by doing that yobo would give the ball to hibbert who would in turn hoof it up the park where there 6ft + centre halfs would get it back. If Ferguson still played it might be a half decent ball -he doesn’t and it isn’t. Until Tommy or Tim comes back though I think we will have to wait for Neville to play at full back and suffer Hibberts awful passing.
15   Posted 03/10/2007 at 10:16:47

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I agree with Dan - and hands up I criticised him after the Villa game - Hibbo did have a good game on Sunday and I hope he continues to play well when he is in the team. I want anyone who pulls on a blue shire to play well in the team - I can’t see anyone looking forward to a player having a bad game just so they can have a moan.

My problem with Hibbert is his awful distribution and his inability to cross a ball to one of our players. And he is prone to the school boy error of passing across his own box - I don’t think the United goal last season is the only example. These technical weaknesses are not helped by a midfield which struggles to regain the ball after it is given away and which often results in more pressure on the defence.

I thought Hibbert was less prone to giving the ball away on Sunday because he didn’t play so many aimless forward passes - oh, and he had a skilled midfielder to take short passes - which helps.

Summary - I want home grown talent to be in the team on merit - Hibbert has in the past been an asset - if he can build on what he’s good at, and develop his forward passing (or at least accept his limitations and let someone else do the crossing!) then I see no reason why he can’t become an asset again.
Mark Atkinson
16   Posted 03/10/2007 at 10:18:40

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Hibbert showed bags full of potential early on in his career but he just isn’t looking like fulfilling that early potential anymore.
Dan Murphy, you make some good arguments but what makes you think just because you say he’s very good he is?! The rest of us saw that game on Sunday and I saw Hibbert repeatedly out of position leaving us open, Stubbs did have a go at him and quite right too!
I like Hibbert I really do, when he and Rooney both signed senior contracts shown on the big screens before a match against Sunderland in Jan 2003 I was equally excited by both signatures.
When he came back after injury at the end of last season he looked fit, sharp and solid but this season he has already made more mistakes than you want to see from a defender in a whole season. His positional play seems bafflingly poor.
He has the ability to mark the best of wingers flying down the wing at him. But only when he is fit and at the top of his game but Dan Murphy, He isn’t, he’s not playing well and although I’m not Neville’s biggest fan (should never play in the middle for us!!) Hibbert should make way for Phil at right back at the moment. He?s not being used as a scapegoat, a lot of players are under performing but he?s also not being unfairly criticised because he?s not playing well enough simple as that.
I hope Hibbert finds his form again because when he?s playing well he is a quality player, maybe sticking Neville in at RB for a few matches will improve performances and give Hibbert the drive to pull his socks up and fight for his place.
Griffin Silver
17   Posted 03/10/2007 at 11:03:03

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I think Hibbert had a solid game against boro but I don?t think he?s as solid a one-on-one defender as everyone gives him credit for. He gets beat with increasing frequency by pacey wingers and only ever hoofs the ball out for a throw when challenging for possession, which is what the winger may want a lot of the time as they wait for reinforcements. Contrast this with Baines who dispossesses his opponent and passes the ball (to a team-mate).

In Hibbert?s defence, I would hardly say caught ball watching for Wigan?s goal ? he was caught trying to cover 2 men because Stubbs was too slow to turn and run back after his man clipped it wide right. Hibbert was not at fault for that goal. Stubbs was 80% at fault for (a) diving in too high up and (b) being too slow to turn and run back.

I don?t agree with your point that because Arteta drifts a little that means Hibbert can?t go forward. He, like Baines are given licence to push forward and it?s Neville and Carsley/Jagielka?s job to drop in when this happens. That?s exactly their purpose ? defensive cover. So, I don?t buy that as an excuse for Hibbert not going forward.

And yes, Neville?s distribution should (and does) improve at full-back where he has more time and more space and hopefully (if HE?s at full-back) a decent centre midfielder to give it to. So yes, he will offer more than Hibbert.

Your understanding of a 4-4-2 formation seems limited. 4 defenders are not supposed to mark 1 or 2 forwards as you say. The 2 centre backs are supposed to do that, the full-backs mark the wide players on the other team and are supposed to go past them, join attacks and make their opposition wingers track back. It?s a sign of a bad team (or a very negative coach) is the back four are standing back, not joining an attack with only 1-2 strikers to occupy them.

I agree with your assessment of Jagielka against Boro ? he looked completely uncomfortable there and I think will only be there for a short while longer with Cahill and Graveson hopefully coming in. Against Bolton at full back Jags was strong and passed the ball well. I see him as an ideal right full-back for us and a much better option. He?s been average at best in centre mid, and doesn?t seem to want the ball.

Having said all that, I don?t think many people would have picked a much different side against Boro with the players available and fit.

Overall, I?d be sad to see Hibbert leave the club. My argument is that he?s not good enough for us if (a) we want to finish top 6 every year and (b) progress in the cups. I don?t mind if plays home games vs. the Derby?s, Wigans, Boros etc. and makes 12-15 appearances per season, but it is against the better teams that we need more quality and he is just not good enough to be our first choice and never will be. Jags and Neville are much better options.
John Crook
18   Posted 03/10/2007 at 11:52:44

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I think first of all that Phil Neville is the weak link in our midfield. yes he can read the game well but his passing/distribution from a holding position is not good enough. if EFC are going to challenge to get in the top 4 then a quality powerful player with vision and excellent distribution (even if he is a boring player who never gives the ball away will do).

Neville and Hibbert though shall remain as quality squad players. Nevill is a more than competent left/right back (plenty of cleansheets last season and i remeber 2 years ago Pip played centre half against chelski in the cup at GP with a motm performance.

And Hibbert should be used against stronger teams where we may struggle to get forward doen the right or teams who have decent left wingers.

But i still think we should buy an out and out right back if one becomes available
garry martin
19   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:01:23

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I’m not a supporter who jumps on a players back after one bad game but, for me, Hibberts performances this season have been wanting, His distribution is dodgy & on many occasion I’ve witnessed his wandering out of position
Gary Carper
20   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:12:19

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Forgive me if I´m wrong but wasn´t the idea of the purchases we made to give us options and cover ?At the moment we have two of our best midfielders out.tim and Grav.I think should drop hibbet drop him now to the bench and put Jags at right back with Cars in front of the back four then arteta, grav cahill, or pienar or ossy for now would in my opinion solve the lack of creativity in the middle.In the meantime put Jags a right back and cars in front of the back four because For me he´s better than Neville in the middle.Or even put Nev at right back but not in the middle.
luke jones
21   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:33:37

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I belive chelsea will slump to 20th in the league and also i believe in peace, partnership and respect, LACK OF RESPECT HURTS! Also depression is on my mind, tony hibbert gives me depression and i have killed myself repeatedly because of this. Also steven gerrard is a b***** cos he runs over children in birkdale repeatedly whilst holding there hand which suggests an emotional peodophile. Murghhhh!
Peter Roberts
22   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:36:29

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Dan, people blame Hibbert because he’s the easy scapegoat. He is also easily the worst player we have at this club, because he lacks so much needed at the top level.

That said, people blamed him for the Metalist goal because he was the one who gave possession away too cheaply with our centre halves nowhere in sight. You make a mistake at European level and 8 times out of 10 you will be punished for it. The only thing that is keeping Hibbert in the team is injury to our centre midfield meaning we’re playing our first choice RB in midfield. Did you not see last season where we played a lot better with Neville at RB rather than Hibbert?
Kevin Clarke
23   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:18:20

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A well balanced argument, but you could make the same argument for a few of our team. Much as i’d love to have world class players in every position you cant ignore the fact that we’ve got a few passengers. You know who they are & i’d like to think David Moyes does. I’ve said this every time i’ve argued in Moyes’ defence, that he’s young & learning. But it wasn’t such a long time ago that he was pushing Hibbert for a place in the England side. At what sport i dont know! He trys but he is poor. Phil Neville has ’earned’ the best part of SIXTY CAPS, due to his versatility no doubt. He’s no midfielder, but still a better right back than Hibbert. Its just a negative system at the moment, when Cahill, Vaughan etc are back we’ll have a better side. But DM will NEVER take a gamble, too many defenders in the team at present which makes us look like we’re defending most of the time. BE PATIENT. We’re 5th & not playing too well? I’ll take that.
24   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:22:05

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How about Hibbo at centre-back? It seems we all agree on him being a great defender but poor going forward - surely he has qualities that could be used well in the middle?
andy jennings
25   Posted 03/10/2007 at 12:44:12

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I agree with the majority of comments, on how bad Tony Hibbert really is! There is no question about his tackling skills, but the modern game requires a full back to be able to get up and down the wing and put in good crosses. Unlike Hibbert who can get up the wing, but not back and can very rarely put in a good cross. His positional sense is probably his worst asset, whilst watching him you realise he doesn’t know half the time where he should be, this usually comes with age but should have come by now with Hibbert. Maybe as someone has already suggested he doesn’t appear to talk much to the players around him, could it be that simple (wish it was). Also because he always gets in the side maybe it’s down to complacency and needs dropping from the team.
Peter Singer
26   Posted 03/10/2007 at 13:11:36

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Chaz, his heading is not good enough for a centre-back.

Comparing Neville to Hibbo goes like this:

-Tackling: On average Neville’s not much worse than Hibbo but he has two or three reckless tackles each and every game. Tackles which are worth yellow cards, he sometimes receives sometimes escapes but really dangerous anyway.
-Distribution from the back: Neville’s distribution from the backline is just as poor as Hibbo’s. But while Hibbo fails to do anything about it, Nev can convince midfielders to help him out. (Why don’t they do it without being shouted at is another matter. Gravesen links up with the backline well, Arteta also does it sometimes, but other than that, nobody.)
-Going forward: This is the area where Neville is considered superior to Hibbo. While Neville is no Baines either, he tends to run reasonable routes close to the action and knows when to do it. Hibbo, on the other hand, makes typical oldschool fullback runs, an arching path over the touchline and always a bit late. But when they eventually get to the byline, their crossing is fairly identical. Nothing really wrong, just a little bit high, just a little bit slow, just a little bit behind the target.
-Set-pieces: Hibbo is prone to being beaten to the ball from a standing start but so is Neville and we’re back to the subject of rash tackles.
-Last-ditch tackles: Hibbert is undisputedly the better of the two when it comes to that. But at the end of the day we want to eliminate the need for last-ditch tackles. (Hibbert’s apparent good performance during the CL-qualifying season was based mostly on him defending well as the last man saving many of our precious 1-0’s.)
27   Posted 03/10/2007 at 13:45:13

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I’m sorry but Hibbert is just not good enough, plain and simple.

He is an Evertonian through and through but he’s not going to bring us onto the next level. I agree that Neville is no great shakes but I do feel he has the edge over Hibbo in a lot of areas.

One thing he does have is a mentality of a winner and what it takes to be a winner, something which only a player coming from a more successful club in recent years would know anything about. It’s certainly an important element he can pass on to the rest of the sqaud. He is certainly not the most gifted player to have ever worn a Man U shirt but Alex Ferguson saw something good enough in him, and considering the trophies that clearly was not an awful decision.

Unfortunately Hibbert has lasted at this level for a lot longer than he should have. Last season almost every team tried to expose his lack of height, at that point alarm bells should have rang.

Moyes has to move Neville to right back if only to take him out of the midfield where in my opinion he’s not good enough to be !
Steve Hopkins
28   Posted 03/10/2007 at 13:58:00

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The problem with Neville, is that he’s captain. Playing a bit of champ manager here, if we were the boss then Neville wouldn’t be an automatic choice on ability alone, however Moyes made him captain when lets face it we had a team with a fair amount of shite in it. Now that we’ve improved the personnel we’re still left with Neville as captain. I’m sure that he’s a good leader but being a big CM/FM fan I know the conundrum of do you include a player because they score 20/20 on influence but cant do much else?
John Lloyd
29   Posted 03/10/2007 at 14:26:09

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Still no-one answered the question (look at my response above)

Is he good enough? Even having this debate is going to make things worse for him because everytime his name is read he will hear groans or everytime he loses possesion, gets skinned the crowd will be on his back straight away.

For his own sake (& ours) drop him, take him out the firing line for a few weeks. If he can improve & comeback then well done to him & the coaches/management at the club. If, on the other hand he doesn’t improve, then he will be allowed to leave on good terms.

Either way he needs to be dropped from team.
Ray Robinson
30   Posted 03/10/2007 at 14:53:47

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Here’s abalanced view on Hibbert. If you played him at left back he’d be equally hopeless!
Peter Singer
31   Posted 03/10/2007 at 14:52:35

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Is he good enough for what? He was good enough against Boro.

We tend to oversimplify the management of a team: put your best eleven players on the field, tell them to attack as hard as they can and that’s about it. Well, it isn’t. (It’s not rocket science either but certainly complex enough.)

Against teams building up on the flanks, Hibbo is good enough to break their attack down. He needs support when he gets the ball but he can cancel out any winger.

Against teams going through the middle, he’s not enough. You can put Neville in RB, drop Stubbs, push your defensive line upfield and so on.

Danny Gorman
32   Posted 03/10/2007 at 15:01:41

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The problem with Hibbert is that when he gets the ball - its the equivalent of a misfield in cricket, because he either miscontrols it or is so slow that by the time he sticks his head up there is nobody to pass to.
Peter Singer
33   Posted 03/10/2007 at 15:16:50

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Danny Gorman, in fairness to him, even though he can’t see it, but we happen to know that there would still be nobody to pass to if he raised his head instanlty.
John Lloyd
34   Posted 03/10/2007 at 15:26:36

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Peter, I have to disagree with you mate!

He’s an overrated defender & a bad footballer. Against Boro he was ok at best & because of his awful performances recently that seems to be enough for a lot of people who have been defending him. I’m not getting into a slanging match about how he once showed potential, or about his involvement in the year we finished 4th. All I’m saying is that at the present moment in time he should not be starting for Everton. We have a footballer who has shown he is far more comfortable at right back in Neville who will do for me until we can get someone in next summer.

People cant critisize moyes for style of play but defend Hibbert, as he is one of the reasons we aren’t more effective or comfortable in possesion. Coupled with the fact that he is not that good a defender then I see it as being quite simple.
John Lloyd
35   Posted 03/10/2007 at 15:35:06

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Peter, I know your not Nevilles biggest fan but if you have watched him for Everton then even you can see his performances at right back have been quite impressive!

Forget his time at Man U or with England, he is steady in the tackle his distribution is quite good & it gets him out of the middle where he is not doing it.

Either that or see if we can get Gary Stevens outta retirement, he wasn’t bad!! ha ha
Nick Thomas
36   Posted 03/10/2007 at 16:13:06

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I would play neville at full back -simply because moyes will not drop him under any circumstances (and he is having a stinker of a season (he is escaping a lot of criticism, because Hibberts having a shocker as well -thus the only way to improve the situation is to get rid of one of the two.(and neville will not get dropped) -i noticed Hibbert on Sunday with his head permanently down in his boots, he looked liked a forlorn boy for the full 90. the lad really needs a confidence boost. of some good performances The other problem we have is that Neville has played in the centre of the park this season with two identical type players in carsley and jagielka. we produce nothing through the middle -why oh why oh why oh why -he needs anther attacking midfielder, and then we can afford to play one of jagielka,, carsley, or Neville, but at the moment it isnt happening. And if we play the same central mid combo tomorrow -we are shafted
Neil A
37   Posted 03/10/2007 at 16:36:10

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Dan is right in his summation of Hibbo, however I feel that Everton shouldn’t have to put up with any deficiencies in players. Yes he can tackle well, yes he has played a part in our recent resurgence in terms of consistent league position but he cant pass and put him in a role like against Metalist and he cant deliver.

Looking then to who can do a job that involves tackling, crossing and passing at a decent level at Everton now. We have either Neville or Jagielka who is supposed to be a right back too.

When the Neville brothers were young at United, the accepted theory was that Gary was the better tackler, but Phil the better passer and crosser. I think he can pass well from fullback, but put him in the middle with players all around him and i dont think he has the awareness or composure to cope with 90 miles per hour hurly burly. With his right shoulder to the touch line however, he finds his bearings ok.

Neville delivered quality from the wide last season when Hibbert was injured. His leadership qualities and experience make him a prime candidate for this role.

Jagielka is similar to Neville in most respects with the exception that i think he is quicker, although less experienced. When he plays with Neville or Carsley he takes up similar positions and often gets in the way. This means that he has to try and do something different, resulting in him losing the player he should track, and losing team shape and balance. I am sure he is a right back or cover centre back plain and simple. Perhaps he could play right midfield?

Longer term I want a partner for Cahill, and give Neville the right back job with Jags to cover. Leave the both out of the midfield, it doesnt work .

I am afraid that Hibbert needs to move on, he is whole hearted, a Moyes type player and a great Evertonian, but limited, and not the future for us.

tony gee
38   Posted 03/10/2007 at 17:24:17

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Dan Murphy...

Jagielka to be used as a scapegoat instead of Hibbert... get a grip you fool...

Jaggs may need an entire season to get used to the Everton system, and thats providing he is played in the same role every week.
Tony Hibbert has had fucking ages to fit in and play in the same role every time he’s picked, and he’s still bastard useless....

solid on sunday, do me a favour. he merely did what we actually pay him to do...... for once!
seany blue
39   Posted 03/10/2007 at 17:18:23

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hibbo had a decent game against a poor middlesbourgh outfit..downing is overrated by a mile, i think the yak could of stopped him (downing)even if he was at right on sunday!!!!! lol

however on a serious note, lets not forget the facts..hibbo is OK in the air...OK at tackling..has got OK pace...but its just not good enough at this level to be....OK. over the years our promising right back is getting worse every year no improvement at put the AVERAGE nev in right back and put a CENTER MIDFIELDER IN MIDFIELD for a change!! pienar is starting to look half decent so my line up for thurs would be...

jimmy hoffa
40   Posted 03/10/2007 at 17:34:42

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I feel that Arteta should be moved to Central Midfield and let Jagielka occupy Right midfield while Neville goes back to Right Back.

That’s how i think the game should be played. Arteta usually works magic from the center and from the center he can support the left and right part of the attack.

Hibbert shouldn’t play at all against Metalist Kharkiv. it’s a slow game and he’s not equipped for that kindda phase.

He should be rested for the Toon game.
Hannon 1878
41   Posted 03/10/2007 at 18:17:19

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well said Dan. its about time that someone actually appreciated that hibbo is nto the bad right back that everyone makes out. he is a great tackler ok his distribution and positioning need working on but they can only get better with age. Neville is a very poor centre mid his distibution is atime worse than hibbos and he thinks he is a much betta player than he actually is. He makes out he is mr everton when he really is still a manc and always will be he is always going to be in the team because moyes is soo far up his a** and it makes u a poorer team i say neville out an give hibbo a chance.
Tony Hawkins
42   Posted 03/10/2007 at 18:50:37

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Balanced view of Hibbert? Were you watching the same Metalist game that I was?

Hibbert was out of position on a number of occassions had caused knock-on effects to the other defenders. It was often because Hibbert was pulled over to the left or stuck up the field that the others had to cover - the Metalist goal was partially (possibly largely) due to Hibbert being nowhere to be seen.

There were a number of occassions in the match where Hibbert tried to pass the ball through the centre of midfield from the right which is rarely ever going to work.

There were a few moments where I sat up and watched as TH showed some quality and skill as a defender/player but overall he was poor.

What I saw was precisely what lots of people had been mentioning for weeks but I have been unable to see (due to not watching the matches or highlights)

I will give one thing to Tony Hibbert and that is he tries and he tries hard.
The Scientist
43   Posted 03/10/2007 at 19:19:29

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Tony Hibbert cannot be criticised for anything that went in the Metalist game,the whole team couldnt fathom the system we played that night,moyes should take the full blame for that catastrophe.Ask yourself why our right back comes to have so much of the ball before you get on the lads back,stop kidding yourself we have any chance of winning anything with that limited midfield,Arteta apart theyre all limited footballers and uncapable of creative play add moyes negative tactics and we stuggle to move the ball through midfield,Hibbo is then stuck with the ball and with no one in the middle looking to collect, the hoof will follow.Now its plain to see he aint no Paul Bracewell in the passing department and his crossing is atrocious so surely moyes can see it and should have the lad practising these weaknesses in training,got to say he has a terrible habbit of ball watching again this shouldve been spotted by moyes and put to rights,the bottom line is he either sorts his defficiencies out on the training field or drops out the team,also Baines has looked iffy defensively,great footballer but he has a tendency to get caught with the ball deep in our half leaving us very vunerable behind.So get off the lads back moyes picks him when neville is much better at right back and the midfield are so unconfident in their own ability that they give him no option but to hoof.Quality all round footballers at full back are essential in the modern game they should be confident on the ball and able to join in the attack and cross when required.In conclusion i think that Hibbert is one of several of our current players who would never be in a consistently successfull side but then neither would moyes be the manager.
44   Posted 03/10/2007 at 23:18:23

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Hibbo is not good enough at premiership level, simple as.
45   Posted 04/10/2007 at 09:26:51

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So the consensus amongst Hibbert supporters is that he works hard and is a trier but is low on confidence. Therefore we should all get off his back and let him have a run in the team. But he isn’t good enough. Period. Hibbert fans needn’t worry though because Moyes will stick with him tonight and he will also play Neville and Carsley in Centre mid.
We’re doomed Mr Mainwairing. We’re doomed.
Marc S
46   Posted 04/10/2007 at 14:26:19

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During the transfer window which of these two teams can you more likeley imagine sticking a bid in for THibb? 1) Yuventus 2) Yeovil
And there you have your answer, unfortunate for a top 6 starting right back i think!
George Lazenby
47   Posted 04/10/2007 at 15:24:16

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Of course hibbert is not the epitome of competent and is no where near the class of a dave watson or ratcliffe but he gives his best not every time but on a frequent enough basis. he will never go done as an everton great but he works hard and his heart is in the right place. all said in the january window if it has to be done then hibbo out and two extra more efficient (sorry anthony) midfield players in. i will watch this evenings game on five and hibbert will be watched as will other players who could prove pivotal in any future progress. dont know why but i always felt hibbert would have been more at home with the bash street kids rather than playing for us. i always say regardless of how a player looks, plays or your overall opinion they are playing for everton football club. of course players such as gerrard are talented but personally i cant stand him and i am more than pleased he does not play for us and for some horse crap across the park. well done marseille. tonight you will see another merseyside club show you how it is done in europe. hibbert included!
Ken Murphy
48   Posted 05/10/2007 at 12:40:29

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I am glad that someone else has aknowledged the part Hibbert played on Sunday, I thought he played a solid and workmanlike game, well done Tony, he does not get the credit he deserves, every Evertonian I have spoken to admits to his contribution on Sunday, I have knocked him in the past, but I have also knocked other players when they don’t play well, so come on, when our players have a good game, have the good grace to let them know.

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