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The Neville / Coleman Issue

By Mike Oates :  24/01/2010 :  Comments (32) :
It's nothing new when I say that the majority of our goals in open play come from our left hand side and particularly when Pinnear is teamed up with Baines. They both know each others moves and most teams find it difficult to cope with them, when they are on song. The problem is that 19 other Premiership teams also know that bottling up our left hand side dramatically cut the opportunities made against them.

If… we only had a right hand side that could also carry the same threat. Many of you, me included, would say we possibly could... just give Coleman a chance and team him up with Osman or Donovan and let the partnership develop. Coleman’s speed, energy levels and total commitment would be a massive boost to us.

But this leads to the $64k question – what do we do with Neville? There have been many post already saying the return of Neville has been one of the reasons why we have improved recently. He alone brings the experience, drive and leadership we have been missing most of the season. So... do we play him? — and if so, where do we play him?

I’m sure most of us are looking forward to Arteta, Fellaini, teaming up in the middle of the park with Pienaar, Donovan or Bily providing the width, with Rodwell and Osman in reserve — so where does Neville fit?

I don’t know myself and I’m sure it’s a problem for Moyes as well. He must want to give Coleman a run but he just can't put Neville back into midfield. Moyes will also be slightly worried that he doesn’t want two untried Premier League players together on the right-hand side.

My possible team if there were no injuries, all were fit (Yakubu, please note) and all were playing to their full potential (Bily, please note) would centre on the following, with alternate choices in brackets:-

Coleman (Neville), Jags {captain}, Heitinga, Baines
Donovan (Osman), Arteta, Fellaini, (Rodwell)
Pienaar (Bily)
Yakubu, (Saha), Cahill (Vaughan)

Reader Comments

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Gavin Ramejkis
1   Posted 25/01/2010 at 07:04:40

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Mike you could also look at it this way. How about Moyes thinks two ways. He starts defensively with Neville at RB and brings Coleman on to replace him later to chase the game (sadly a DM trait). He starts with an attacking line up with Coleman who he can later replace with Neville to defend a lead.

Either way, Neville is still available should he be required to cover midfield through an injury.
Alan Williams
2   Posted 25/01/2010 at 08:04:43

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Coleman is not ready yet; good going forward but not yet a defender of Premier League standard. He has been very lucky on his forward runs with the ball falling for him but this can easily change... when teams attack fast, he will lose the ball (like Brum); best to have a defender first. In the games he has done well, EFC had to attack at all costs so he had a free run at it.

Fingers crossed he will replace PN in two years time when he will be just 23 so no need to panic yet he is one for the future. COYB

Colin Potter
3   Posted 25/01/2010 at 09:13:04

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If Moyes wants to give him a run in the team, he should give the lad a chance and stop his dithering. Maybe moyes could promote Nev to assistant coach. Round seems next to fucking useless to me.
Richard Dodd
4   Posted 25/01/2010 at 09:23:57

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Leave decisions like this to Davey. He hasn’t let us down yet, has he?
Philip McAvoy
5   Posted 25/01/2010 at 10:20:14

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Out if interest, Colin, do you have any idea of what Rounfd does? How he does it? And how do his skills in those areas compare to Neville’s? Or are you just blowing hot air?
Simon Kirwan
6   Posted 25/01/2010 at 11:01:57

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"What do we do with Neville?"

Drop Him!
Neil Waring
7   Posted 25/01/2010 at 11:24:06

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Neville was terrible on Saturday, so many attacks broke down and he often delivered terrible crosses into the box when the simpler pass was available... His motivation values can't be ignored though... so I suggest his new position should be head cheerleader... he’d look great with a couple of pom-poms.
Russell Smith
8   Posted 25/01/2010 at 12:18:57

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I was sitting a couple of rows from the halfway line on Saturday and couldn't believe the amount of space Neville was getting down there in the first half. He had countless opportunities to cross the ball and as much time and space as he could want to pick out his man. Neville was awful. His crosses went straight to their first defender or over the top of everyone.
James Stewart
9   Posted 25/01/2010 at 12:22:50

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Gavin, I would rather he thought like the latter, personally!
Michael Lynch
10   Posted 25/01/2010 at 12:20:25

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Alan Williams, you are absolutely spot on there mate. Coleman is not yet an accomplished defender. Great potential though. I would have Neville starting every day of the week. If we need to chase the game then bring him on for last half hour.
Paddy Francis
11   Posted 25/01/2010 at 13:09:33

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Our captain has 59 England caps, is obviously the most vocal player in our side, and has more experience of playing at the very top level than everyone else put together.

Coleman will learn from Phil every day in training and, when the time comes, may be good enough to replace him. But that’s some way off.
Colin Potter
12   Posted 25/01/2010 at 14:34:20

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Ok, a bit of hot air after such a bad display, but is’t Round there to gee them up, and bollock these players when they are playing so bad, I don’t think he hardly gets off his arse all the game, he doesn’t need to take notes to see who needs a kick up the arse.
Jay Harris
13   Posted 25/01/2010 at 15:15:41

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I think it’s horses for courses and, in a game like Saturday, we needed somebody to get behind their defence on the overlap — something Coleman is good at and Neville isn't.

This was more pronounced because Donovan wandered inside which obviously left the space for Nev which he didn't exploit very well.

I think Neville’s a solid and vocal presence but does not add the x-factor that Coleman does.

When you’re talking about defensive qualities, where was Neville’s marking for their first goal?
Ajay Gopal
14   Posted 25/01/2010 at 17:10:31

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In response to your post, Mike Oates, I sugesst that DM play BOTH Neville & Coleman for the Sunderland game. Distin had a nightmare game (by all accounts, although I did not get to watch it on TV).

My team for Sunderland:

Howard, Coleman, Neville, Heitinga, Baines, Donovan, Fellaini, Osman, Pienaar, Cahill, Vaughan

Subs: Saha, Billy, Hibbert, Baxter, Rodwell, Nash
Roger Domal
15   Posted 25/01/2010 at 17:55:19

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To the poster who mentioned all the space Pip was getting on the right side: Do you think if he could cross the ball he would get that much space? Simple logic. If a player can do something really well, a premier side will be well aware of it and close that player down before he is allowed to do it.

I still can’t believe the first goal was scored because our free kick hit Donovan square in the head and the we never were able to get back and commit a tactical foul to stop that play.
Dermot Ryan
16   Posted 25/01/2010 at 18:22:19

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I agree with Ajay. Why can’t we have Neville at center back? At least, until we get someone competent there. Didn’t Heitinga cover the left when Neill was around? That worked ok. Stick Neville on the right? We have done that in the past and brought Coleman on. Then Neville can support Coleman in defense. At least do it against teams that we are determined not to attack like Birmingham or aren’t that good at it (Sunderland, Stoke, Hull, etc).

I can understand why Moyes wants to keep Neville on the pitch: team morale (he’s the captain), loyalty (obviously highly valued by Moyes), experience.

But, he just doesn’t bring anything to our attack down the right. Long term we need to recognize that as a serious gap in our squad that neither Hibbert and Neville fill.
Pat Finegan
17   Posted 25/01/2010 at 18:55:19

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I think Neville would make a better centre back than Distin. Until Jags gets back, I think that would be the ideal back 4. It’s a confusing situation. Neville’s presence is such a boost to the team but Coleman is better at RB, Fellaini is better as the holding mid. I think we need Neville on the field, it’s a matter of who’s talent we sacrifice for his leadership and experience.
Andy Crooks
18   Posted 25/01/2010 at 19:32:22

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For now, Coleman should get a chance on the right of midfield.
Gerry Western
19   Posted 25/01/2010 at 19:36:32

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I really don’t understand this idea that a place has to found for Neville, apparently on the basis of his motivational qualities. Some have suggested he was fundamental to our success in recent performances. I’ve no idea how people arrive at this conclusion.

Cahill was the inspiration at the Emirates whilst Fellaini was the driving force against City. As a full back he’s distinctly average. I’m not about to proclaim Coleman another wonder signing. To be honest, I’ve not seen enough of him but, from what I have seen, he’s an awful lot better than Neville at getting into advanced positions and delivering quality into the box.

That leaves us to consider how he handles his defensive duties and for me he’s certainly matched Neville in that department. What he lacks is experience but then again, if not going to get a run out, how on earth does he gain the experience?

Roger Domal
20   Posted 25/01/2010 at 21:25:03

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Gerry, could it possibly be that the presence of Neville in the starting 11 allows those other players to go play the game the way they need to play if in order to be successful? I’m a big believer in organizers and galvinizers, and I think Pip does that. I think he has to be in their right now — at least until we can get a decent crossing right back who is not named Coleman. (Just had to throw that last one in there...)
Gerry Western
21   Posted 25/01/2010 at 22:08:23

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Roger, I’ve only seen Coleman play in a few games. Believe me he certainly new how deliver a ball with maximum effect in those games. I have to assume you’ve seen a lot more of him than I have then in order to make that statement.
Gavin Ramejkis
22   Posted 25/01/2010 at 22:13:52

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Roger, Pip was there on Saturday and he didn’t do much motivationally to stop two shite goals amid piss poor defending.
David Alexander
23   Posted 25/01/2010 at 23:09:40

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It's a squad game and there is room for all of them at one time or another but if it's a choice between Coleman and Neville I’d play Neville every time. A right-back has to defend first and attack second — that's doubly true if the left back is going to be bombing forward all the time.

Coleman has potential and looks another smart bit of business but at the back experience is the most important thing. If you want to sort out the right side then I’m pretty sure that we have a little Spaniard who can do that for us in just a few weeks time...

John Williams
24   Posted 25/01/2010 at 22:22:21

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"Neville’s a bootlicker" — well said, Tevez, couldn’t agree more. It's the only explanation for why our own Neville gets a place in the team whenever he’s fit. A bit harsh? Well, let's consider his attributes.

On the negative side, we have the following: he has no pace; he has no stamina (just watch his gentle jog back to defence if he ever does advance up the pitch); he can’t pass the ball forward to save his life, 9 out of 10 of his passes are made sideways, backwards or are hoofed up the pitch; he can’t go past an opposition player with skill; he can’t shoot; he can’t cross the ball; he simply doesn’t add anything to the team in an attacking sense — ask yourself how many assists you can remember in the years he’s been with us... few and far between aren’t they?

On the positive side, we have the following: he can tackle well (or can he? I've seen many poor tackles on the edge of our penalty area giving away stupid free-kicks, and, let's not forget, he was our defensive midfielder in what was perhaps the worst humiliation I personally have ever sat through at GP — the 6 - 1 defeat by Arsenal when Fabregas destroyed us and Neville simply didn’t get near him).

He’s a good organiser/shouter on the pitch — could be something in this but I’d have thought that ability could only improve the performance of the team by a small percentage — and isn’t Moyes standing on the touchline doing that anyway;? — he’s got a very loud clap.

His performance against Birmingham was a disgrace — Birmingham conceded acres of space to him knowing that he would lose possession, in contrast they man-marked Baines with Larsson.

Coleman may be the answer; he was certainly outstanding against Spurs and dragged us back from the dead in that game. However, it seems we’ll have to wait a long time before we will find out if he is the RB we need to balance the team. Neville is Moyes’s favorite and it seems he’s first choice on the teamsheet. On the bright side, Moyes’s boots have never looked so clean.

Robbie Shields
25   Posted 25/01/2010 at 23:54:09

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Paddy, our captain has played 59 times for England and been one of the most vilified players in international history (But what do ALL supporters of Football Clubs in England know eh?), he was actually booed when he came on as sub for one of his last games, he also gave away a silly penalty to get us knocked out of the World Cup or Euro’s (can’t remember which) and finally he played left back!

The worst thing that could possibly happen is if Coleman learns from Neville.

I can see it now... "Right Coleman, when crossing a ball, always hit the first defender, if he’s moving too much and you think you can’t hit him then loop it slowly into the penalty box so their goalie has 5 minutes to judge the cross and catch it, then quietly turn around and jog back.

"At every opportunity when you are in defence, hoof the ball as hard as possible aimlessly into the opposition’s half, then you can show how good you are at defending again when they attack in 10 seconds time.

"If they play you in midfield you must pass sideways or preferably backwards, putting you defenders and goalie under pressure, that way they will hoof it themselves and bypass you in midfield while you recover from your exertions, but if you can’t for any reason then pick out the easy pass and find one of their players.

"When you give the ball away, you have only half done your job; wait until their midfield gets into a dangerous area around the box and then lunge at him with no intention of getting the ball, you can then look important whilst you (as captain) organise the wall..."

Message to Coleman, don’t listen to a word of what Neville has to say, play your own game and be your own player!

Vishal Poorundersingh
26   Posted 26/01/2010 at 06:56:49

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What about Hibbert.........
David Ellis
27   Posted 26/01/2010 at 07:20:30

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Robbie Shields, It was one of the Euros (I think 2000) vs Romania that P Neville conceded a last-minute penalty as England gave up a one-goal lead in the last few minutes. Phil has never appeared in a World Cup Finals.

Having said that, if we must have him on the pitch, I think right back is his best position. Certainly not in central midfield (where we now have the mouthwatering opportunity of Fellaini and Arteta — more fun than the Hilton sisters in a hot tub — as someone else once said on this site). Cetainly not in central defence where surely one of Distin or Senderos (or Yobo) will find some decent form until Jags is back on his game.

Personally I would like to see Coleman given a run out. I think Arteta and Heitinga can fill the leadership vacuum left by Neville’s absence.
Ciarán McGlone
28   Posted 26/01/2010 at 10:30:11

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Can anyone explain to me where this great influence that Neville has on the team was in the first quarter of this season?
Derek Thomas
29   Posted 26/01/2010 at 19:40:47

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Somebody said (more or less), well he will have to wait until Pip's contract and thus Pip is over, after all he will only be 23.

23... that's two 4-year contracts and maybe a short extension or two.

Well I don’t know when Coleman's contract is up and the odds are he might get International games to showcase himself. But I can’t see him waiting until he is 23 to break in to our 1st team.

We don’t seem to be able to defend now so, whatever the defend attack breakdown % is of his total game, he can’t be any worse than what we have, or (in Hibbo and Pip) have not.

He’s 21; get him in... let him learn by doing... NOW!!!
James Stewart
30   Posted 26/01/2010 at 20:06:23

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Spot on Derek. Neville, although committed and a loyal pro, is well pretty shit.

It’s about time the mantle was passed on to Coleman.
Gerry Western
31   Posted 26/01/2010 at 23:13:53

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Moyes has a dilemma on his hands. Having stated on more than one occasion that some of his players have have been under performing and that he will make changes when numbers permit. I guess that time is fast approaching.

Neville started off the season playing poorly and, since his return from injury, little has changed. How on earth will Moyes justify leaving others out if he continues to show faith in Neville?
Ciaran Armstrong
32   Posted 28/01/2010 at 22:15

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Leaving the RB decision aside... I’m drawn to the fact that, with everyone fit and in form, you would pick Yak over Saha!!!

I’m sorry, but what is that about? Are you assuming that Lazyitis is a real illness? ;-)

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