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The Deep-lying Midfielder

By Gavin Roberts :  11/07/2008 :  Comments (53) :
?His role was to sit in front of the defence as a nod to precaution while Ronaldinho and the other showmen went through their repertoire.? (The Sunday Times, 23/12/07)

This comment was written about our very own Mikel Arteta during his days at PSG, and as we discuss the replacement for the now departed Lee Carsley I believe we have the ready-made replacement in Arteta.

There are basically two types of deep-lying midfielder; the defensive player, such as Lee Carsley who play as an extra defender and whose role is to win back the ball when we are not in possession, and the attacking player, such as Carrick, whose role it is to maintain possession of the ball and act as a link between defence and attack.

Last season when we were in possession Carsley never offered to receive the ball when we were in possession and so the most important position of ?distributor? on the pitch for ball retention was redundant. Therefore, when our centre backs received the ball, instead of having three options for a pass; to either flank or to the deep lying midfielder, with Carsley in the side these options were reduced to the two full backs. When you consider both Neville and Hibbert are not natural passers and thus not keen to receive the ball the option is again reduced to Lescott, himself a more natural centre back than a full back. The results of which saw us watch Jags and Yobo aim long balls up to an isolated single striker with our four attacking midfielders (Arteta, Pienaar, Osman & Cahill) trying to pick up the scraps.

The ideal solution is to have a player that combines the attacking ability of Carrick and the defensive ability of Carsley, however this type of player is rare, hence Chelsea giving the 53year old Makelele another one-year contract.

The choice therefore is between ball retention and defensive solidity. Moyes has always chosen the latter, a wise policy in my opinion and the reason why over the course of last season we were hard to beat and finished behind the more attack-minded top four yet ahead of the more defensively weak mid-table sides. I am not going to speculate on other deep-lying midfield players that could fill this role in both an attacking and defensive capacity but suggest that with the players at our disposal we would play a better style of football and increase our possession percentage if we gave the deep-lying midfield role to Arteta rather than say Neville. This would hopefully see us make the transition from top 6 side to top 4 side, as we would play more possession football and less hoof-ball.

Reader Comments

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Ciarán McGlone
1   Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:02:39

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I’m getting quite worried about the number of references to Neville in midfield that somemof our fans are making - was it not obvious enough last season that we played blóody awful whenever Neville played in midfield?

Now, assuming Davey has learnt this lesson (and I hope for our sake he has) then Neville is not an option in midfield...

The obvious answer, as you point that we get a player with carsley’s strengths and one who also possesses a decent passing game - a critical factor missing from Lee’s locker...

I think we missed the boat big time whenever we let Mr Diarra got to Portsmouth for a pittance last season..

Lets just pray that we have at least enough money to cover this position so Neville never sees the middle of the pitch again.
Terry Smith
2   Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:10:09

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I agree with comments from above but i think Manny can do that role better plus he does have a bite about himself to which Arteta doesnt!!..I would like to see us sign Fernandes and bring Arteta into the middle of the park which is his prefered position and bring someone in on the right like Lennon of Tottenham.
Dom Roberts
3   Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:34:49

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Gavin, credit to you for putting forward a decent shout for Arteta in the "sitting" role.

In my opinion the perfect template of a player suited to the role we need is Marcos Senna. He has impressed me since the yellow subs put us out of the champions league and his stock has only risen significantly in the following years.

Senna is not a blood and guts defensive midfielder, his strength is his engine, technical ability, and his almost telepathic sixth sense of danger because he is always well positioned to break up opposing team play-at the right time.

I thought he was the player of the Euro’s for Spain-no doubt.

Mikel on the other hand is gifted in a technical sense but I do not think his awareness or strength will enable him to be successful in the role.

He is not very strong in the tackle and I can recall many occasions of him being out muscled off the ball by opposing players. He just would not cut it and would leave us open and exposed at the back.

Those who suggest Manny Fernandes also baffle the hell outta me. When will people get it into their heads that this lad is not in ANY WAY a defensive midfielder, or even a "sitter". Manny is NOT a good tackler, the only times I seen him tackle is when he has had a heavy touch and belatedly chases after the ball that he has just lost.

No doubt Manny is a fine passer of the ball with great vision, and he should be a centre mid, but he needs a destroyer behind him.

Mal Lockyer
4   Posted 11/07/2008 at 14:57:14

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I would have no worries about either Neville or Jagielka being given a run in the Carsley role.Both played there many times for their previous clubs and I’m sure Moyes had that in mind when he signed them.He was reluctant to include Carsley at the beginning of last season but was forced into it with the need to employ the other two elsewhere due to injuries.For certain he will not be seeing a re-placement as his priority.
Gary Creaney
5   Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:12:21

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MAL: No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no!!!

This has been tried and failed. Jags is an excellent centre back, in my opinion, and Neville a decent right back. As midfielders they are both pathetic and I cringe when I see the team lined out with Neville in midfield. We need a really good new face to fill this role, someone who can do what Carsley done and also pick a killer pass whilst going forward.

Mal, to summarise........NO!!!!!!
Gavin Ramejkis
6   Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:24:47

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Gary Creaney - absolutely spot on - Mal even with Man U’s abundance of talent Phil Neville was rarely played as a midfielder as he isn’t one and without fail when he has played in midfield for Everton he has been shite. Think back to the early Uefa games and Jags in midfield looking and being completely lost, as an emergency break glass only shot not in a month of Sundays should either make it to the midfield.
Chad Schofield
7   Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:33:27

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I take it that you didn’t actually watch many games then last season. Both we’re played there, both were shit.
John Lloyd
8   Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:34:12

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The idea is spot on Gavin but I think Mikels game has come on so much since he was in that team as youngster, his creativity is needed in a more advanced role and he still may be too lightweight to do the nasty jobs that still need doing in the premiership, jobs that Cars was happy to do.

If we did want a ball playing deep sitting midfielder (in a Senna mould) then why dont we pull our fingers out & get Manny! there is a player who has played that position with aplomb for the portuguese U-21s and benfica a lot more recently than Mikel for PSG.

To improve as a team, eventually we have to be in a position where all 11 players on the field are comfortable and capable of playing good football at the minute we’re not quite there, but thats where we gotta aim to be.
Marc Williams
9   Posted 11/07/2008 at 15:48:27

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Mal - Being a ?doomonger? I think you may get a chance to see how wrong you are with this shout as I fear we may end up using one of these as the NEW ?Cars? this coming season. Neville is awful in midfield & ?Jags? looks lost. I seem to remember one away game last season where they were both in midfield (Villa away? maybe...) and they were diabolical!

As others have said, unless it's a dire emergency, keep em in defence and buy a quality replacement.

Dom - agree with you on this. I love to see Manny back but am NOT convinced he?s right for this role, wrong style & temperament.

Martin Hughes
10   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:07:10

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Phil Jagielka in the holding role most definitley, free up Fernandes to join the attack along with the Yak and Cahill, Pieenar and Artea as the wide that’s the answere. Give Manny regular games and we will see a truly aweseom player at GP.

Also Lescott for Captain
Gavin Roberts
11   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:14:53

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In response to those suggesting the use of Jags or Neville in the holding role I would argue this would represent a backward step for us as neither are better than Carsley in the defensive area of the game and both look equally nervous in possession.

As I alluded to in my original post, I believe for us to progress as a footballing side rather than a safety first side the replacement for Carsley must have passing skills as a priority in the mould of Senna, as suggested by Dom. A player with confidence who will demand the ball and set a tempo to our play when in possession. I see no reason why Manny couldn?t also be that player, however at this moment in time he is a Valencia player.

Also, as it is looking increasingly like we lack the proverbial pot to piss in, looking at the players we already have, Arteta would be my suggestion over the more skillfully challenged Nev or Jags.
Guy Hastings
12   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:24:13

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Jags at the back with Lescott. Joey in the holding role. Just a thought. I?ll get my coat then...
Martin Hughes
13   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:38:29

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Nice thought! what Valente

Phil Neville RB and Bainesey LB
Derek Turnbull
14   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:39:33

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Well that’s one reason that pre-season’s there for, to try out things like Arteta in that position.
Den Masters
15   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:38:31

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There is an obsession with Carsley on this site. If he was so bloody irreplaceable, why, oh why didn?t Moyes give him the two-year contract he was after?

Answer: Because he genuinely believes that Neville or Jags can do the job and they are both a lot younger!

Connor Rohrer
16   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:25:02

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Having watched Arteta playing centre midfield for both Everton and Rangers I have to say he isn’t a deep lying play maker. He plays a little bit further forward similar to the role Osman occupied last season.

Arteta’s game isn’t about bringing people into play when he plays centre midfield. He’s there to create, pass and move and be effective in the final third. He’s not expansive enough in his passing for me. Despite being an excellent passer he has a tendency to keep it simple and look for the shorter option. If he had a bit more ambition and varied his passing he’d be much better midfielder.

He’s also doesn’t instinct of a deep lying midfielder. If you watch someone like Carrick or even Fernandes they naturally drop deep when the back four have the ball. Arteta doesn?t do that. He?s more similar to someone like Fabregas who likes the ball a little further forward and alot more centrally.

He?s a perfectly capable midfielder though. No question about it and if we don?t get Fernandes signed I?d like us to buy a quick winger and play Arteta centrally. I also think it?s a myth that Arteta is supposedly lightweight, he?s not at all. He like Fernandes is excellent at shielding the ball and keeping it under control when under pressure. I agree he goes down easily but he only does that when he wants too. He plays for free kicks but he?s not lightweight at all.

If we are looking for a real deep lying play maker then Manuel Fernandes is your man. He drops deep; he takes the ball off the back four and his ability to pass both short and long makes him a excellent candidate for the role. He has far more vision than Arteta and is much more suited to the role. So really if I was describing Arteta I?d say attacking midfielder in the Fabregas/Scholes mould whereas is I was describing Fernandes I?d say deep lying midfielder in the Pirlo/Alonso/Carrick mould.

Neither are the answers to the defensive midfield role though. You can get away with playing two deep lying play makers abroad but it?s very difficult in England. The games are faster, it?s more end to end and there?s alot more defensive responsibility. Only Man utd in England have pulled it off successfully with Scholes and Carrick playing central midfield for a full season two years ago.

We need a defensive midfielder to partner Osman/Fernandes/Arteta. Someone who is big, mobile and can tackle. He doesn?t have to be a Carsley by any means but he does have to have good defensive qualities, a high workrate, tidy distribution and good positioning.
Peter Batty
17   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:44:15

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I think the discussion is academic as Moyes will go with 4-4-2 with Vaughan up front with Yak. But if he did need Carsley replacing, I think it would be Jags to do the job as Lescott will insist on playing at centre-half next season.
I expect no more than the odd loan signing and the money the AJ sale makes going towards Kirkby.
Barry Sherlock
18   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:53:40

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Peter Batty,
The discussion is far from academic! JV is a great prospect but do you really think that DM will play him in all of the games? Or do you think he will stay injury free? Against the sky4 DM will want to play 4-5-1. I think there is a good shout for MA to play in the middle.

Totally agree with Martin Hughes; Lescott for captain (yes Peter, at centre half!).
Martin Hughes
19   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:59:02

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Lescott would make a fantastic captain.

From what I can read there is a lot of possibilities for the team, I thinks it?s a long time since we were in this rich position of being able to rotate players.

The only notable absentee is Cahill, should he be sold before AJ? Are we too one-dimensional and predictable when he plays? Yes, he does have an aerial prowess, but what about AJ streaking off to left or right flanks? Surely that stretches a team thus freeing up the Yak.

Gary Hughes
20   Posted 11/07/2008 at 16:45:47

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What is a deep lying midfielder anyway? The holding player is a modern myth. Not so long ago a standard 4-4-2 formation would have two central midfielders, when one went forward the other sat & vice versa. I think a central pairing of Fernades & Arteta has good balance & great potential, unfortunately DM is far too cautious to even consider it, he prefers having players there to win the ball back rather than not losing it in the first place.
Kunal Desai
21   Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:09:32

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I think an ideal replacement for Lee Carsley is someone who has been rumoured to be on the move with boro apparently looking to make a move, for around £3.5 - 4M . James Harper from Reading would be perfect to fill in that void.
Bradley Nolan
22   Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:12:28

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Well Said Gary, this ’holding’ role should be binned. We need more goals from midfield to make the top 4. Any player in the midfield should be capable of defending when we don’t have the ball and attacking when we do. We need to take the next step & the holding role is the ball of fluff Davey needs to disguard. It served its purpose. Incoming signings should now have more than work ethic.
Thomas Hesketh
23   Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:19:23

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Why is it when people are talking about Lee can?t pass a ball Carsley, they rave about him as if he was in the Reidy mold.

He was sold as he was to slow, can?t pass straight unless it was sideways and 2 yards. Personally I would prefer one of the young lads in the reserve team to be given a shout i.e Rodwell, he may be young but we have been here before (Shrek & JV).

Aretea would be a good foil for that role however, what would we do when we play away from home as he goes missing.

Either that or BK gives the DM 20Mil for Ashravin!

Just seen KW down in Kirkby looking at Horse & cart routes for new transport links to DK.

Drew Phelps
24   Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:35:59

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I like Guy’s idea (using one of our centre halfs for the deep lying mid), but would try Lescott instead of Yobo that role. He’s big, quick, can tackle, read, pass, he’s got the whole list of skills everyone is clamoring for in this position.

A core with Yobo, Jags and Lescott would allow us to build from strength.
Liam Loftus
25   Posted 11/07/2008 at 17:42:24

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Gavin, that is officially the worst idea I think I've ever heard. it really is.

Let's put our most creative attacking player - the only player we have with the genuine ability to beat a man - and put him in the DM role. Carrick's excellent at that position due to his positional sence, he can't play out wide though so that argument's out the window, they're completely different players with completely different attributes.

i dont know if you follow Arteta?a career but he has played there before and he wasn?t very succsesful at all. Real Sociadad bought him as a direct replacement for Alonso and he was such a flop he couldn?t get in the team. That's why we got him so cheap! What Moyes has done is get a player with genuine football ability and harnessed it to get it out of him by using his as a creative force.

He wasted his early years playing that position, let's not waste him again

Simon Skinner
26   Posted 11/07/2008 at 18:03:41

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Just to play devil’s advocate, whenever Jags played in midfield, didn’t he play alongside Carsley, and indeed ahead of him? i.e. he was the one expected to get into the box whereas Carsley just held. He was cr*p, of course, but maybe, just maybe, if he had the 100% holding job he could do the same job as Carsley (though clearly no more).

Yes, it’s not ideal, and we are all hoping for a box to box centre mid who can win the ball and score goals too, but face it, we have limited funds and Jags almost certainly WILL play DM at least ones this season, due to injuries if nothing else.

Also, the defensive midfield role is NOT a modern myth. It may be in england, but it’s been standard in Europe for years. Think Matthaus or Guardiola in the 90s. One was a ballwinner, the other pretty much the definition of the "water carrier", who takes the ball of everybody and quickly moves it to another area of the pitch.

The modern change has been the movement towards more athletic players all over the pitch, which has let to the combining of the roles, resulting in your Makeles, Vieras, Flaminis, Diarras etc who do both roles.
Adam Hunter
27   Posted 11/07/2008 at 18:35:33

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Jagielka in midfield....No No No. How do i explain this simply?

Last seasons peformances by Jagielka:
Defence : Excellent
Midfield: Dire

We all know(or should do) that Neville is just as bad... here?s a radical idea, why don?t we buy some specialist midfielders, where midfield is there actual position! Also Arteta is not at his best in the centre, the play is too congested, he is more valuable to us and more productive out wide.... where he can actually beat a man or whip a cross in.
Sean McKenna
28   Posted 11/07/2008 at 19:36:47

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I keep reading that were broke, its fecking doing my head in!!!!

Suppose AJ goes for £9 million as stated in the papers, £5.5M for McFadden in January, and a number of players off the wage bill, that's at least £15 million....right?? So the board would have to back Moyes and at least give him £15-20 million to compete?? That's £25 to £30 million, if he dosn't get the backing this year he is off, simple as that.

Now back to the question, Nev and Jags are defenders fullstop. Arteta does not have the positional sense of a defensive midfielder so they are out of the question for me. Answer: Diarra, top notch if we could get him; Luncho Gonzalaez excellent; Manny and Giles Barnes.... me happy now..COYB
Martin Hughes
29   Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:19:33

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OK then, what about Cahill in the holding position?

We missed out big time on Sidwell , Villa’s gain our loss.

How about this for a punt in midfield - Benayoun Arteta Cahill Lennon
Martin Hughes
30   Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:24:21

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I reckon we are broke

I reckon DM will go befoe the start of the season
Geh Looker
31   Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:37:21

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very funny, nearly as outlandish as Neville playing in midfeild.............. wait a minute
Bilbo Baggins
32   Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:52:42

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Why the hell are we talking about playing players out of there natural positions and taking them out of there comfort zones. We should be in a position to buy 2-3 midfielders not fucking around trying to put square pegs in round holes.
This discusion only reinforces whats happening to the once great Everton FC and its fans, we have become used to watching avarage football, getting more and more depressed with every transfer window and waiting for the scraps in August.
Kevin Mitchell
33   Posted 11/07/2008 at 20:32:20

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Martin, definately not Cahill in the holding position as he can’t tackle legally to save his life.
Good shout on DM leaving before the season starts though.
Going to Chester races tomorrow, might throw a tenner on that.
Mike McLean
34   Posted 11/07/2008 at 22:43:37

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Kevin, if you’re going to Chester, you’ll find a prominent Liverpool story bang in the middle of the tourist centre.
The buggers seem to keep it wel stocked.

It used to be an Everton store ... !
Davide Roskini
35   Posted 11/07/2008 at 22:53:28

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KIM KALLSTROM! Young, tough, good size, can pass/distribute the ball, int’l experience, CL experience, a cannon for a shot, not dramatically overpriced (I’m guessing). Pick up him for 9M, Manny for 7M, a right back for 5M, and a young winger for 2-3M. That’s all we need. 24M. End of story.

BTW, I know this thread is about Arteta in the holding role - not a terrible idea, but Moyes would never do it. He’s too valuable in the attacking third.
Dave Southword
36   Posted 12/07/2008 at 00:00:30

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Who was the defensive midfielder out of Reid and Bracewell? Answer - Both, and Neither.

I don’t buy this defensive midfielder stuff. When I first started playing midfield I asked our boy’s team coach what I was supposed to do. "Defend and Attack" was the answer.

Let’s have midfielders that can do everything, that can interchange, that can keep the opposition guessing. Most importantly - let’s get ones that can pass and trap the ball aswell as tackle.
Derek Thomas
37   Posted 12/07/2008 at 06:26:29

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See you and raise you, the holding midfielder is NOT modern. In the 50’s the original sweepers played both behind and infront of the back line, they floated, moved back to cover and then moved forward and infront to deliver the forward pass.

Fast forward to 1966 Nobby Stiles sat infront of the back 4.

Moyes won’t play his best player in a withdrawn position. At PSG Arteta was not the big star, thus he got the shit job and foreign influx not withstanding he could get away with his average tackling in the French league.

Fact(?) we only play 5 in the middle coz we don’t have 4 good enough to do the job...5 @ 80% = 4 @100%

Until Arteta is the least among equals in a midfield 4 will we do any good

If it comes to mixing and matching the pluses and minuses of the various candidates and still being unable to find one person to fill the gap. Why not go with 3 at the back, Jags, who is a right sided CB; Yobo, a centre CB; Lescott who is a leftsided CB, Baines as L Wingback...anybody except Hibbo and Pip as R wingback. Arteta and Manny plus one other (cahill ? peanut ?) in the middle. JV and the Yak .

Rob Paterson
38   Posted 12/07/2008 at 10:12:29

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Not sure if Martin Hughes has already suggested this- but what about Valente in the so-called Carlsey role. Great tackler, good positional sense and not as exposed (as he has been to quicker right sided midfield and wingers)- also good distrubution. Of course it would ony be for the 6 games a season that he is fit, but worth a try ?
Robbie Muldoon
39   Posted 12/07/2008 at 14:14:01

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Shit. It has just dawned on me... Phill Neville will be replacing Carsley next season.
ste kenny
40   Posted 12/07/2008 at 14:24:59

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I can appreciate we are looking for solutions to what is probably the area of the teams that concerns us all the most, but please!!!! nuno in midfield, there is a good reason why he’s spent his long international career at LB. And suprise suprise it’s because he’s a left back.

It used to kill me when we had no choice but to play people like steve watson upfront, unsworth in midfield etc and if we find ourselves doing this again it will signal the end of our resurgence and make us a laughing stock throughout the league.
Martin Hughes
41   Posted 13/07/2008 at 07:19:29

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Message to Ste Kenny

You're right; we will be lthe laughing stock of the league.
Paul Rimmer
42   Posted 13/07/2008 at 07:51:29

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I like Derek Thomas’ idea and it’s something that should be tried in pre-season but Moyes prefers 4-5-1. I’d give Rodwell a go as he seems to have most of the attributes. Certainly not Jags, Mikky or Neville. Manny if we get him could do a job there and would be good in games against lesser opposition but in games against teams who pass the ball better than we do we need a more defensive player to break up their play. That said we should be in a position to buy an experienced DM.
Terry Smith
43   Posted 13/07/2008 at 10:48:43

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Just seen on one website & The People that Moyes is trying to persuade Gilberto Silva to Join Everton instead of Panathanaikos!! The fee is under £2m but they can offer Champions League football.
This lad would be a perfect replacement and would improve the midfield quite a lot. Beside from Champions League football that they don't stay long in, why would he knock us back for them? Surely we can match his wages.
David Jones
44   Posted 13/07/2008 at 15:27:30

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I’d always take a deep-lying playmaker over a carthorse. If you are better on the ball you give it away less, hence you spend less time chasing shadows trying to get it back.
Martin Hughes
45   Posted 13/07/2008 at 18:14:58

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What about Steed Malbranque of Spurs, he is quick mobile and whats more available. I hear sunderalnd have £2.5 million with the premisership experience under his belt.. I reckon he would be great aquisition, Gilberton I think will be good for use plently of CL expereince as well as Premier League
Jason Lam
46   Posted 14/07/2008 at 03:06:05

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It’s going to be Phil Neville. With Arteta, Pienaar, Osman, Cahill in front of him. Assuming they’re all fit.

If you play Arteta at DMF he’s eventually gonna to lose dribbling..
EJ Ruane
47   Posted 14/07/2008 at 10:20:02

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Have to say I like the idea of Lescott as Captain, as I like the idea of someone who nobody will argue with, in charge on the pitch.

This is something I think we (and many other clubs) get wrong - ie: Who?s the senior pro? Make him captain!

We have been a quiet side for a long time and although Neville points and shouts a lot, I feel his unthreatening demeanour doesn?t instill enough fear in those around him.

I realise Lescott is not the genuine nasty bastard I would like to see as captain, but he?s big and maybe given the armband, he could grow intro the role.

Phil Neville NEVER will (and I?m NOT a Neville Hater - compared to many, I actually have a lot of time for him)

Anyway, until there?s a change, I?ll just close my eyes and remember the days when we had a few captains on the pitch, all at the same time (smiles at mental image of Peter Reid crippling Marwood out for having a go at Inchy or screaming at Sheedy "HEEEEY!!! FUCKING WAKE UP YOU!!!")
Barry Sherlock
48   Posted 14/07/2008 at 13:14:55

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EJ, I agree with you.
PN is exactly like that; points and shouts but nothing comes out of it.

But I have to say that we have got a few captains on the pitch; Yobo (Nigeria), Lescott (Wolves), Jags (Sheff Utd) and of course we had Cars last year.

We can only hope that some of the signings that come in are of the ilk of past players.
Martin Hughes
49   Posted 14/07/2008 at 16:23:41

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Gilberto would certainly stand out as a player with captain qualities.

Lets hope Moyesey signs this contract, I reckon once signed we should see some action in transfer market.

Gopal Suppiah
50   Posted 15/07/2008 at 03:53:10

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Jack Rodwell is the answer for the defensive role. maybe not immediate but surely down the years. i still think manny can still do a job in the middle, offering some defensive cover.
Vijay Nair
51   Posted 16/07/2008 at 14:58:28

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Has any considered the idea of trying Lescott in that holding role? With Jags and Yobo playing behind him i think that would be quite solid, and would also free up the left back role for Baines (though we still need a quality right back). Lescott has the defensive qualities required for the holding role and he certainly has no problems going forward. Just food for thought!
Mike Allison
52   Posted 17/07/2008 at 08:30:41

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The holding role is a specialist role, you can’t fit average defenders into it and expect to do well. Forget Neville, forget Jagielka, and certainly forget Lescott, who should be the first name on the team sheet, and playing centre back every week. We need a specialist, really, we need two. Someone above said there are two types, the tackler and the playmaker. We MUST sign Fernandes as he is capable of being both, but we should also sign an out and out tackler, for certain games and for when Manny is injured.

What will actually happen though, by the looks of it, is that we’ll sign another right back (we’re being linked with two at the moment) and Neville will be the ’out and out tackler’, despite not being able to tackle. I’m feeling very upset this summer, as I always do, with the lack of transfer activity, while players we could do with go elsewhere.
Nick Parker
53   Posted 17/07/2008 at 10:26:45

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Like the idea on Lescott as captain but what about Cahill?

Nobody has mentioned Shaun Wright-Phillips as a target.........worth a go but the Fernandes on-off loan debacle must end and we must sign him permanently ASAP.

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