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Finally off that bandwagon...

By Jarrod  Prosser :  12/11/2007 :  Comments (14) :
It?s taken me a long time to get to this point. But I feel that I can now step forward and make this proclamation without any shadow of a doubt:


There?.that?s better.

When I first heard the rumour that Pip was coming to Goodison, I was actually quite excited. England international ? albeit much maligned ? still in his prime, coming from a winning culture, with extensive experience in Europe and at winning games against ?big? teams. This is a guy that could alter the whole course of our club, I thought.

And I still think I was right to an extent ? looking at where the club are now: extended campaigns in both Europe and at home on the cards, and strong performances in the league, with a definite ?in to win every game? type of mentality. Some of this, I think, has to come down to Neville?s influences. The guy knows how to win.

I wasn?t even too concerned that Moyes openly said he would play him in midfield ? Ferguson played him there for United, and if it?s good enough for Sir?. but slowly, slowly, that anticipation & admiration, became concern, frustration, & eventually, after yesterday?s 45-minute debacle, resignation.

Whilst he was great for the team when he arrived, Everton has grown around him, and Pip has been left behind.

The two main features of our team nowadays are discipline & liberal smatterings of skill ? both of which Neville lacks in any great quantities. Yes, he can cross a ball quite well, but that?s about it, skill-wise. His inability to hit an accurate 15-yard pass is well documented, but his control, his constructive heading of the ball (as opposed to just clearing it with the head), and his tackling are all adequate at best, diabolical at worst.

His discipline is a perplexing issue. I think that as a full-back & in midfield, he organises those around him very well, as he is obviously well schooled. However, he still seems to have that ?I?m Manchester United, you can?t do that to me? attitude when it comes to physical confrontation. Prime example in the last game, late in the first half, when Mikel (I think) robbed him of the ball in a hard but legal challenge, after a brief moan that the ref rightfully ignored, he sprinted 10 yards to bluntly shove Drogba, giving away a free kick 20 yards out.

It?s great that he loves the physical side of the game ? we need a captain that will lead us into battle, so to speak ? but Pip so often steps over the line from ?hard? to ?reckless?. Then, after the inevitable yellow card, he becomes somewhat of a spectator, as he can?t ?lead the line? physically anymore.

Despite this, I think that he still has a huge role to play at the club. He is, after all, a model professional. Always fit & ready to play, always seems to have a positive attitude, and by all reports, the undisputed leader of the dressing room.

But therein lies a problem: he?s a fine captain, but isn?t an automatic inclusion at either fullback or midfield. Is it really feasible to have your captain play the game, just because he?s your captain? He doesn?t, for mine, line up as a first ? or even second ? choice at either fullback or in midfield.

Not the influential player he was, but still a huge influence. So what to do with our captain?

I would suggest that at the end of the season, presuming Pip?s place within the depth list at the club stays roughly the same, he could show true leadership, and rescind the captaincy to a deserving player that does play every week: Yobo, Lescott, Cahill etc. Neville will still have his seemingly huge influence on the club and the playing group, and will probably enhance it by very publicly putting the team ahead of the armband.

I would hope that he continues as captain this season, but it is becoming increasingly clear that Phil Neville the footballer, no longer matches up to Phil Neville the professional.

Reader Comments

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Arthur Jones
1   Posted 12/11/2007 at 08:48:12

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As much as I hate the fact but you?re so right , Phil is the consummate professional , never gives less than 100% , first in to training , rarely injured , loves the club , a fantastic family man and makes a point of coming over to the fans at the end of every game to applaud them but your statement , " the team has outgrown him " is spot on , it?s why Sir Alex let him go from Utd , He may be able to do a job at Birmingham , or Sunderland , whatever he does I ?ll always have the greatest respect for him
Michael Yau
2   Posted 12/11/2007 at 09:08:35

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I agree that he should remain an influence but rescind thecaptaincy, and for those that think hisinfluence on th team will be affected......all I can say is if any of you have watched England Rugby the tha last couple of seasons and seen the influence that ex-captain Lawrence D’allaglio has on the team when evr he is playing, even when he just comes on in the last 10-15 minutes......
George Geery
3   Posted 12/11/2007 at 09:16:38

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The least talented player ever to win 50+caps for England.He finds it physically impossible to find a blue shirt with a pass most of the time because he does everything in such a bloody hurry.He was never a midfield player and the return of Carsley has demonstrated what we were missing using Pip in his role.Prior to yesterday I would have said he just had it over Hibbert at right-back but the latter was awesome at Chelsea and can’t possibly be dropped.To me Neville is a liability and I suspect Moyes is beginning to see that!
Ed Casey
4   Posted 12/11/2007 at 09:25:40

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Jarrod, I think you’ve underestimated Pip’s talent - in all of your article you haven’t mention his speciality long throw in!!!!!!
David Moore
5   Posted 12/11/2007 at 09:32:17

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your not entirely true in saying that he can?t pass it to a blue shirt. He did it very well yesterday with pin point accuracy. There was just one problem... we we?re playing in white and black. BTW our away strip is crap!!!! last years was so much better
James Elworthy
6   Posted 12/11/2007 at 10:17:30

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Neville is a right back and nothing but a right back, fullbacks do not make good midfielders they never have. Utd very rarely used him in that role, thats why they bought Carrick and previously Butt played in that role for them. Neville used to fill in for his brother or the left back.
Changing subjects
The owners of Mascherano want 17m for him when the RS think he is only worth 10m. This is another example of 3rd party ownership significantly inflating transfer values. Manny Fernandes was being banded about for 12m which was probably double his value. I think FIFA should ban this type of ownership because transfer fees are already extortionate enough without having to pay these shady companies who own these players mainly latin americans, spanish or portuguese.
Steve Williams
7   Posted 12/11/2007 at 10:31:01

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Whilst I agree that Neville has clear limitations and those are amplified when he plays in midfield, to suggest that he is third choice right back is a gross over-reaction. I would play him instead of Hibbert every day of the week, notwithstanding a decent 2nd half from him yesterday (1st half he was the usual liability). Add in his outstanding organisational abilities, the clear huge respect he receives from his fellow players and his desire and professionalism, and you have someone who deserves a place in the team - however that place can only ever be at right back. I do fully accept that his midfield outings should be consigned to history. Keep it all in perspective lads, we’re not a team blessed with world-beaters just yet..
Bill Markham
8   Posted 12/11/2007 at 11:08:52

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Neville has been a liability since he arrived. He gives the ball away so’s embarrassing. We’ve looked so much better with Carsley back in midfield.
Stefan Tosev
9   Posted 12/11/2007 at 11:03:45

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Where to start from, I am just shaking my head in disbelief. After recent articles questioning Arteta, Vaughan, Hibbert of course its now time for P. Neville.

I dont know what do you understand under liability but P. Neville was 5 best defender according to Actim Index last season. Granted he is not at his best in his midfield role, he never was, but its not his fault that he is played there.

However as a right back he is more then capable and you to state that he is not automatic choice is ridiculous. I will not go in details, as I really find some the of the recent articles as wind up. Argue whatever you want, he is beeing picked up by managers like SAF, Ericsson, Moyes and is well respected among the players as a captain and organizator and trust me he will be there to stay, although there will be "great football brains" to say " How is he on the pitch when 50-60-70 000 can see that he is crap?"

Just wait for the next loss or draw and you will not be alone in this thinking.
Martin Anderson
10   Posted 12/11/2007 at 13:43:26

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Hi there - I was at the game yesterday and yes, Pip, just doesnt have it in midfield anymore and the only place for him really is right back - I think he is a good captain and inspirational, but he just doesnt keep the ball and loses it in bad places. I like him, but right back or nothing for me...Joey looks to be the next Captain..

As for the game - when Cahill scored his superb goal you could hear a pin drop!!

Great to beat the Oilgarchs!

Steve Taylor
11   Posted 12/11/2007 at 19:04:35

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100% agree. Neville is a full back - end of.
I think the problem lies with his own pretentions to be a "midfield general" & Moyes inability to tell him it’s RB or the stiffs!
Moyes is no fool & he can see the same "Pip" as we do every week, he’s blatantly not good enough to play centre mid - but he still keeps putting him there - strange..........

Maybe yesterday was a defining moment - giving him the hook at half time was fully justified & hopefully that’s the last we’ll see of Neville in CM.

Personally I hope we get a bid for him come January - we need a top notch RB & the ageing Neville (on mega bucks salary) would effectively become 2nd choice RB.

Anyone got Big Sam’s number?????

Jarrod Prosser
12   Posted 12/11/2007 at 21:47:16

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Agreed - Nev is 2nd choice full back.
didn?t word that part of the article all that well.
Ben Jones
13   Posted 12/11/2007 at 22:36:56

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This is argument has gone since the start of the season.. Here’s an easy solution.... he’s not a very good centre mid, decent holding mid and a very competent right back.
Now considering he is captain.. Moyes should just play him right back because.. even though Hibbert has had an awesome game at Chelsea.. he’s still our best right back!! Now.. it’s all gotta stop now... can’t we think of positive debates since we have had a very good run of results at the moment.
Dawson Boyle
14   Posted 13/11/2007 at 02:14:26

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Why would we need another club captain when Stubbs does so well in the role?

I say get rid completely. There was enough interest at the start of the season.

If we want talismen at the club there’s enough ex-pros (Parkinson and Wagga in Nuremburg) to let Neville become the journeyman he should always have been destined to be.

A few soundbites on doesn’t give him any right to starting place.

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