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Unsung Hero

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Is there a more "unsung" player in the history of English football than Lee Carsley?

Non-Everton supporting friends of mine are quick to pinpoint Cahill as our best midfielder... and he is; in a sense. Like that egotistical twat from across the Park he gets himself into excellent positions and is a superb finisher but (like that egotistical twat from across the Park) his general midfield play (tackling, passing, instigating, dictating) is often less impressive. Of course this isn?t Cahill?s job so he absolved of his deficiencies (unlike that egotistical twat from across the Park ? the ?best Midfielder in the World?).

Carsley, Arteta and Pienaar on the other hand are the instigators. And Carsley is the most consistently effective ? not for the defence splitters but for all of the other stuff that makes a good midfielder so important to a team. Week-in, week-out, the guy sits in front of Yobo/Lescott/Stubbs/Jags and delivers honesty, craft, effort and a decent 20-yarder every so often. He breaks up play, rarely hoofs it, involves his full backs in attacks, and allows Pienaar and Arteta to do their thing.

Lee Carlsey will probably be forgotten well before Arteta and Cahill but he?s slowly and quietly become an Everton legend in my mind. There he was again on Saturday, at the heart of everything. And he nearly got his 20-yarder too. How will we replace him?
Jeremy Sweetnam, Cork     Posted 17/12/2007 at 11:20:54

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Colin Tunstall
1   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:12:54

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As somrbody remarked the other day,so many people have described Carsley as an unsung hero that he must,by now, be properly ’sung’!
Jonny Roberts
2   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:15:55

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Carsley is indeed a LEGEND in my eyes and I fear will be hard to replace. I know people are all saying that the return of Cahill has coincided with the upturn in fortunes (and it undoubtedly has), but I also think the return to the starting line up of Carsley has had a major impact. Those weeks spent playing Pip or Jags in the holding role were awful and we couldnt buy a result. He is a master of the holding role and I wouldnt swap him for any other holding player in the Premiership!!!
Chris Jones (Wakefield)
3   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:23:58

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Credit where credit is due; WD Walter Smith, a great £1 million buy (sorry, steal) from Coventry City.
Declan OShaughnessy
4   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:18:44

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I think Carsley is getting some of the recognition he deserves, but I think a lot of people still don’t comprehend what he gives the team. Although he is primarily a defensive midfielder, there to break up the opposition’s play and shackle their danger men, he actually does a hell of a lot for us in an attacking sense.

I’ve written on here before (earlier this season) about how poor our midfield was at controlling and passing the ball, and how much they run away from it at the first opportunity. Carsely never does this, even though he’s hardly a playmaker. He never hides from the ball, he never fails to show for a pass, and he never shirks his responsibility. He makes himself available to receive the ball from the defence, and is usually on hand if the midfield need to offload it. He also, and this is vitally important, rarely gives away posession. Yes, he doesn’t hit "Hollywood" balls very often, but he keeps it simple, plays it short, generally finds a player in a blue shirt, and doesn’t make the receiver have to check his run to receive the ball.

Carsely may not be unsung anymore, but he is definitely underrated. Replacing him will be a real challenge for Moyes, and will as like as not cost quite a few million.
Andy Morden
5   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:17:12

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Carsley has impoved with age. He knows his position and Moyes has played him there consistently doing his specific key role for a few years now. He is our Makelele. It is a real shame that he is 32 now, even if he was 4 years younger it would be a bonus. Comfortably Walter Smith’s best Everton buy - I think he is better than Weir. And I must admit I was aghast when Smith signed Carsley, but I am glad to say he has proved me (and many others) wrong. I think Carsley’s example is a lesson to us fickle footie fans in giving a player a chance!
Alan Kirwin
6   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:16:03

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Lee Carsley is magnificent. I watched him at close quarters at West Ham in the cup game last week and his contribution, as always, was superb. Destructive and creative as necessary and, as pointed out, he possesses a serious shot on him. His contribution to the team is acknowledged by all the players but I think the fans need to shout more for Lee Carsley. Amongst many candidates, he’s my player of the season. If he was 5 years younger & Argentinian then the Spanish waiter would be looking to buy him for £20m.

And while we’re appreciating Cars’ brilliant contributon, I’m sure I’m not alone in singing about the best goaly since Big Nev. Talk about "safe hands", Big Tim is another quiet superstar. I’m assuming we all saw that save on Saturday; world class but glossed over because it wasn’t Petr Chek. It’s a testament to just how good Cars, Jobo and Lescott are as a unit that Big Tim doesn’t get too many opportunities to demonstrate his skills.

If I sound encouraged it’s because I’m witnessing the finest performances from my team for over 20 years and, I have no doubt, there’s even better to come. I dare not tempt fate by making predictions, but it’s just a cool time to be an Evertonian. Just sad my little brother, and devoted blue-nut, isn’t here to enjoy it. We lost him 2 years ago to diabetes, aged just 42. If he were here he’d be in heaven, so perhaps that’s OK.

COYB.
Danny Militwitch
7   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:24:10

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Totally agree with everyone, he seems to be improving with age. He knows his role inside out and is always a reliable foundation in our side. We are so effective offensively when he plays because the other players know that Carsley will be there more often than not to break anything up if our attack breaks down.

Legend in the making, we just need to find cover for the old man, and I dont beleive it should be Vogel!!!!
Chris Masey
8   Posted 17/12/2007 at 14:50:07

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Carsley seems to be getting better with old age like a mulled wine. 100% commitment every time with Lee. He is irreplaceable in my opinion. Give him another year moyes. To think we almost sold him to Wigan!
David London
9   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:11:04

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I agree Carsley is a top player.I am in the minority but have always enjoyed watching that type of holding midfielder.However not long ago people on this site we after his head.Give players time!
Chris Keightley
10   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:21:17

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I agree he is worthy of the legend status, and i believe baring serious injury he could give us another 3 years, it would be a tragedy to see him replaced in the role he is clearly a master at !! makelle is a player who is brilliant at carsleys role, but i would have carsley everyday,that shows just how far he has progressed, i think giles barnes could be the long term replacement but could we afford him ??
Art Greeth
11   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:20:22

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What has stood out for me in Carsley’s play of late is the tidiness of his passing. I am not going to be a complete revisionist and say that he has always been a tidy distributor of the ball - he hasn’t. But Lee, seemingly like the rest of the team, has an assurity, total confidence in what he now does. Again, like the rest of the team, there is quickness and incisiveness to his play that sees an opening quickly and executes it effectively.

I really hope that he and all the team continue to fly under the radar. The longer the rest of the league takes to recognize just what is happening at EFC, the longer we can catch them unawares. And on that note, is there any statto out there who can tell me if there is any other team in PL history - other than the four usual suspects - that has had such an unbeaten spell as we are now enjoying...? ’cos for the life of me, I can’t recall anyone...
Ben Howard
12   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:32:17

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The year that we blagged 4th (sorry that was a bit harsh) we suffered an inevitable blip had a miserable second half to the season. I believe that we were to some extent ’found out’. I was there at Highbury as we were thumbed for 7.

This year we’ve already done that to a team ourselves (something I couldn’t ever see us do!). What makes me more excited than ever is that we seem to be able to mix our play up so well at the moment! We’ve passed teams off the park Sunderland, West Ham), mixed it physically (Chelsea, Portsmouth), and been beautifully fluid and direct (Fulham).
Best wishes to all my blue brethren. It is indeed a great time to be a Toffee!
John Lloyd
13   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:47:09

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Andy Mordley you have summed up what me & the lads along with most blues it now seems have been saying for last few weeks!!

I also agree that if Lee was argentinian or portugese or foreign some other way he would be getting lauded over now, somehow though he wouldnt enjoy or like that. I’ve had the chance to speak to him on about 5 or 6 occasions & he comes across as a top, top fella. Very funny man, but proper bloke. Couldnt imagine him in some ok magazine spread or with a spray tan, diamond earing an that. he’d get fucking slaughtered by his friends & family. As any bloke who does buy into all that shite should!!
Dave Lynch
14   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:53:37

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Lee is the epitomy of a player making the most of what he has got.
He aint no Bekenbaur for sure, but his reading of the game is getting better the older he gets.
He is essential to the way Moyes sets out to play.
His style of play will probably ensure he has another 2 years or so at prem level.
Keep up the good work Cars, we luv ya XXX.
Glen Strachan
15   Posted 17/12/2007 at 15:59:39

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A couple of things seem clear.

Ben Howard ...maybe one of the reasons that we were ?found out? duriing the season that followed ?fourth place? is that Lee Carsley missed that entire season through injury.

Much is made of the fact that Lee is 32 years old (shock horror...........a true geriatric) but his game is built around stamina and a first rate football brian and if he avoids serious injury (which can happen at any age) , the excellent Carsley could easily be dictating things in centre mid for Everton in three years time .Losing speed is not a problem in his case.

I felt we should have offered him a two year contract back in the summer but that would still be something that could be discussed in the New Year when contract talks start again.

Lee was never blessed with the skills of Peter Reid but he matches Reidy in ?presence?.

Top man our Lee !
Ben Howard
16   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:16:49

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Ooops! Cheers Glen, that was the point that I was trying to make and just got carried away with how fookin’ great we are now!
Sam Morrison
17   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:12:47

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I agree Glen. As long as he can keep trotting along Lee can play a part for a while yet, his game isn?t about bursting box to box and he?s never been quick to start with.

But of course that?s not his game, and he does what he is excellent at, as listed in the original post and several responses. He?s a top player - and it?s fine with me that nobody else notices as long as we do.
Brian Donnelly
18   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:09:35

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Jeremy.
I agree with most of what you have written. But rarely hoofs it?

He hoofs it most of the time (or passes backwards). If he was creative and always looking for the ball, as someone else wrote, he would have been at a ?bigger? club years ago, as defensively he is one of the best midfielders around.

However, he is perfect for Everton when we play 5 in midfield ? not so good when we only have 4.

Connor Rohrer
19   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:23:14

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I think he is unsung by the media as he’s hardly ever mentioned but everyone at Everton respects him and rates him highly. So he’s not really that unsung. He does his job and he does it well and he’s usually a contender for man of the match in everyone’s match report.

I personally think our most unsung hero is Joseph Yobo. He never gets the plaudits he deserves despite being one of our key players. Since Lescott came in he’s been moved into the background and hardly mentioned unless he makes a mistake which is totally unfair in my opinion. He was excellent last season alongside both Stubbs and Lescott and he’s been brilliant for the majority of this season. Quality player and very underrated in my opinion. His pace and aerial ability are key to our back line.
James Bernard
20   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:34:19

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I think Carsley can continue to play for us for many seasons to come. I mean look at Giggs and Scholes who are still playing for a top 4 team. They are older than Carsley and still playing top football. I have always been a big fan of Carsley and when he is in front of goal with space there is no better striker of the ball than him. Stay till you retire mate :)
chris keightley
21   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:37:45

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What about Jags?? for the money we spent hes been a great addition, especially if he makes 30 or so appearances, many were doubting his ability but i think he is now showing his worth, he shone in a poor sheff utd side and im sure given a season or so will for us, remember give them time, this is as he said when signing a massive move for him, now hes settled lets get behind the lad he has the ability to come good !!!!!!!
Dave Wilson
22   Posted 17/12/2007 at 16:15:57

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Carsley improving ? he was always exellent, what has improved has the movement throughout the team, the willingness to show for every ball. Lee did go through a bad spell, but we were without Tim, we didnt have Pienaar, we were static, we had a midfield who were great at stopping the opposition, lets face it Phil Neville isnt a footballer you give the ball to and expect him to create, opposition knew they only had to nullify Micky and we were reduced to Hoofball, now confidence is growing, Carsley is happy to play it to the feet of more creative players, Leo, Micky, Pienaar, and Tim are giving more options than any Everton midfield have for 20 years and guess who gives them the freedom to do that
Carsley - the insurance man
Micky Norman
23   Posted 17/12/2007 at 18:33:47

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Super Lee has never really changed his game although sometimes, such as in a 442 with Gravo he was expected by some to be more creative and was slagged off for not being so. We now have creative midfielders who can do this so Cars can do what he does so brilliantly and the. team benefits enormously. If he had been in the England team for the last few years we would have been In the Europeans next Summer without a doubt. He would be my first choice as captain. I still think that Real Madrid thought they’d bought him when they signed Mad Dog- and then put the Dane into the "Carsley role" their loss.
Mark Pendleton
24   Posted 17/12/2007 at 19:44:33

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I’m with Colin Tunstall on this as Cars is so much of an unsung hero that he is trully sung now!! And Glen Strachan touched on what i was thinking in that i believe despite the Arteta’s, Cahill;s and, i sincerely hope, Pienaar’s of this era Cars will be remembered a la Peter Reid. Also, it’s of note that many many Evertonians will never forget a certain Joe Parkinson. I firmly believe he could have gone on to be one of the greats had his career not been cut so cruelly short. I’m also very pleased to say that i was delighted when i heard we were likely to be signing Carsley.
Karl Masters
25   Posted 17/12/2007 at 20:00:15

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The year we came 7th he played most of the matches, but missed a lot of 2003/4 through injury as we slumped to 17th.

He was a virtual ever present in the team that came 4th.

He then got injured and missed almost all of the 2005/6 season when we dropped to 11th.

Back as a near ever present last season, we came in 6th and this year are up there again with Lee as a near ever-present.

Say no more - the man makes us tick and was easily Wally Smith’s best buy.!
David Nicholls
26   Posted 17/12/2007 at 20:08:03

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Personally I’g like to see us mix it up a bit with regards free kicks, Carsley is much more than simply the water carrier he is portrayed in the media. I reckon he knocks in a smashing dead ball (remember Newcastle a few years back) I think a bit of competion would do Mikky good anyway, he has a Beckham-esque monopoly on free kicks at the moment.
Trevor Tannenbaum
27   Posted 17/12/2007 at 20:15:25

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I went to the fantastic game versus Sunderland. 7-1 and Carsley was my man of the match. He was everywhere and many goals instigated from something he did a few minutes before. We seriously wouldnt be half the team without him. Lets the other midfielders relax and concentrate on attacking
Give him 2 more years and put him in the legends box.
Roy Coyne
28   Posted 17/12/2007 at 21:41:02

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I am glad to see Cars getting the credit he deserves I remember Dennis Stevens in the 60s having a similar role but never got the recognition he deserved for John Owens merry xmas mate please feel free to visit any Everton site as you might learn a few things about football that you have sadly missed out on like giving credit to teams that beat you like utd apparently it was the low life that robbed Gerrards house that where to blame they put him off his game and the best one to date if our mate Mark was the ref we would have won
Jer Sweetnam
29   Posted 18/12/2007 at 09:34:42

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Seems I got it wrong. He is appreciated after all. I?m happy with that. And I honestly don?t think he?s a hoofer, as one response indicated above, he?s more creative than he?s given credit for. He?s no Arteta, nor is he a Pienaar, but he CAN play...

Anyway, that is all.

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