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Phil Neville — The Undroppable

By Stefan Tosev :  22/02/2010 :  Comments (63) :

I would have to admit that I am a big fan of Neville, I like his never say die attitude, I like the fact that he is humble guy, I like the fact that he never ever hides in any game, he may not put always the best cross in, he may hoof it but he will always make himself available and help a teammate.

He brought to Everton the level of professionalism required at the top of the game, Cahill and Arteta admitted the way he changed the training culture at Everton and the big influence he is in the dressing room; his organizational and leadership qualities on and off the pitch are undisputed.

Yet a small, vocal and very annoying quarter of Everton supporters are calling for his head, stating that for the last two months he is being “liability” and only being in the team because he is manager’s pet, stopping the development of young Coleman.

That got me thinking – maybe they are right, I had to examine the data and make my judgment. The first part was very easy – Neville’s passing ability has been widely criticized here, after all he is wasting every second pass - so a small comparison between him and Baines shows:

Total Passes 456; Acc. Passes 340 — 75% success rate for Captain Pip vs 68% for Baines (667/977)1. Wow, I have to say I was a bit of surprised here but after all Neville was the best crosser in the league 2 seasons ago.2

The second major point for me were their defensive duties; I watched closely all the goals we shipped since the Burnley game and although he was jointly responsible for Liverpool’s goal with Howard there wasn’t a single goal conceded after a cross from his zone vs 3 for Baines (Brum and Man Unoted) — very decent contribution IM in this component too.

Organizational skills, leadership qualities, intangibles… blah, blah, blah — "give me the bottom line" any financial analyst will tell you. Well here it is: without Neville we played 22 games 3


Equalling 0.42 points per game (p/g)

With Neville we played 17 games4 and our records reads:


or 0.63 (p/g)

I don't know about the rest of you but I like our record with Neville twice as much as without him and I sincerely hope that Moyes will be able to pick such liabilities more often. So it wont go amiss to think about this stats the next time you call Neville undroppale or liability.

2 Liverpool Echo
3 Soccerbase
4 Soccerbase

Reader Comments

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Lyndon Lloyd
Editorial Team
1   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:19:20

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I’ve got to admit that I love having someone around with his obvious passion and have been impressed by how he was geeing up the troops from the sidelines when he was injured and how, as another poster mentioned on these pages yesterday, he goes straight to Moyes for instructions while the rest of the team is celebrating goals.

The thing about statistics, though, is you can often bend them anyway you like. While your comparison with goals conceded on the right versus the left may be valid, football matches are won going the other way and I feel that we have won games recently in spite of being hamstrung down the right flank.

How many of Baines’ failed passes were in the more difficult environment of the final third, for example, say in a tricky manoeuvre with Pienaar? And I still haven’t forgotten how Neville hung Donovan out to dry in the Birmingham game by constantly ignoring him in favour of the failed hoof into the box.

Also, those matches won with Neville in the side also coincided with Pienaar’s return and the great transformation of Fellaini from clumsy walking haircut to world-class midfield maestro. Far more compelling than the presence of Pip, if you ask me.

I don’t want to put Neville down too much because he does obviously provide superb leadership but as he gets older, as Heitinga looks more and more like a natural captain, and Coleman looks like the more rounded fullback, it can’t be too long before he moves from Team Captain to Club Captain and steps down from the starting XI.
Andy Morden
2   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:28:19

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What constitutes a pass? Are we sure those aimless punts forward aren’t being classed as clearances? Also, you aren’t clear if you have looked at the career stats or stats for the last game. Neville has played a lot of games in cente midfield in which he often plays a short 8yd pass to someone like Arteta, thus arguably upping his pass completion ratio.

Stats, interesting things...
Jay Harris
3   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:21:56

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Stefan, never mind statistics — judge with your eyes not some analyst that doesn't have a clue.

Football is not played on computers. If they both played the same position who would be your first choice at full back — Neville or Baines?

I hope you’ve answered your own question.

For what it’s worth, I think Neville is a good influence and is always looking for the ball but since he has come back from injury he is regularly skinned and as for his passing completion most of them are diagonal hooves that somebody just about gets their head to.

For me he is not quite on a par with Hibbo defensively and is very inferior to Coleman going forward although I believe Coleman needs a decent run before we judge him properly.

I’m afraid Neville is in his twilight years and we should be looking to the future so cant agree with your post at all.
Iain Love
4   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:38:50

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Spot on Jay: You spoilt my post, the only thing I could add is Neville will be our next manager after Moyes, so we need to keep him in the loop. I would like to see more of Coleman but i wouldn’t put him in before Neville atm.
Anthony Bailey
5   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:44:21

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I agree for the most part with the comments above. Neville does have his plus points and he does do some good stuff and I would certainly look to have him in the team if we needed to be more cautious. However his passing is shocking. Your stats show nothing. Most of his completed passes consist of 5/10 yard no pressure passes. More often than not his passes also put pressure on his team mates either because they arent very accurate or because rather than play him self out of trouble he ships to someone else that us in much more trouble.

He also gets skinned far to frequently for my liking and thats whats worrying me most. Against Chelsea Drogba just brushed past him on a couple of occasions and in fact their goal partly came from Neville ignoring Maloudas run. If he was solid defensively I would let him stay at RB but when we need to get at teams Coleman should be playing.

Coleman has probably made more accurate and important crosses/passes in his few games than Neville has all season. And truth be told he has probably almost made about as many timely tackles or interceptions. That for me is the problem...
Dave Smith
6   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:45:58

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I remember when we first signed Neville, i was devastated. I couldn’t believe that he could do our any good at all.

Since then, thankfully, he has proved me wrong. Phil Neville has done alot for this club.

At the moment, he is best right back we have. So no complaints from me.
Kevin Hudson
7   Posted 22/02/2010 at 22:48:56

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Personally, I’d be terrified if Pip was to succeed Moyes! Be happy to see him remain in a coaching capacity, but next manager?? Iain, do you know if Neville has or has taken his coaching badges?

The thought of having an inexperienced Roy Keane,or clueless Gareth Southgate type boss at the helm would worry me some!

Mind you, Guardiola was an instant hit...
Dermot Ryan
8   Posted 22/02/2010 at 23:21:57

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I am not a Neville fan. But, this is what the Guardian had to say today. Read the end part about Neville:

Forget United: Saturday’s game at Goodison was really all about the style of Everton’s victory. This has been a transformation as comprehensive as Arsène Wenger’s refashioning of the lingering George Graham era: eight years ago in Moyes’s first game in charge he picked a midfield of Tony Hibbert, Lee Carsley, Scot Gemmill and Thomas Gravesen. On Saturday his midfield was made up entirely of neat, skilful ball-players, three of whom were 5ft 7in or under. Diniyar Bilyaletdinov, Steven Pienaar, Leon Osman and Mikel Arteta more than matched the visitors for invention. Add the injured Marouane Fellaini and Tim Cahill and Everton have arguably the best midfield in the country (perhaps behind only Chelsea). Also: Phil Neville should be in England’s World Cup squad. Who would you rather have playing at right‑back against a team who can attack properly? Wes Brown? Micah Richards? Still quick at 33 and always a sounder option on the right than the left, Neville is the best English right-back playing.

As an ungenerous Irish supporter, I’d be made up if the English chose him as right-back (but for all the wrong reasons).
Iain Love
9   Posted 22/02/2010 at 23:27:15

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Hi Kevin, sorry I don't know if he’s got/ taken his badges, but the guy has far more intelligence than Roy Keane and more of a winning mentality than Southgate, just watch the way he conducts himself and the way the other players defer/ listen to him. We all have commented that we are a better team with him playing although he is probably one of the least skillfull players, also by far the one with the most medals.

I’m not saying ours will be his first managerial post but when Moyes does go I fully expect Neville to take his place, the guy has got a connection with us and, if you think about his attributes, I’m probably right.

Keith Glazzard
10   Posted 22/02/2010 at 23:46:33

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It’s as simple as this.

He is Cap’n Pip. And a very good one at that.

The only position he can play in this super dooper team of ours it right back (but stepped up well to CB in Europe when needed)

Seamus will have to wait his turn. And his turn will come. Then he will be ready.
Kevin Hudson
11   Posted 23/02/2010 at 00:31:21

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Iain, you make a very good point there regarding his influence, and I reckon he’s a pretty studious type. Admittedly, it’s an intriguing thought that he could well manage us some day.

And as you allude to, I would like to see him cut his teeth, and succeed elsewhere, before such a possibility could ever be considered. In terms of character, though, and echoing Stefan's assessment, he does tick a number of boxes.
Conor Skelly
12   Posted 23/02/2010 at 00:33:08

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There's more to a team than great players. I think City can testify to that. It’s not logical but I think Everton are better on grass with Neville, if not on paper.
Scott Johnson
13   Posted 23/02/2010 at 01:48:08

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Good post, Stefan, I appreciate the use of logic and statistics. I don’t think Neville is the best English right-back, like the Guardian article asserts, but I think he is a solid member of the team. I doubt he would be starting every game if he was a liability to the team and being played off the pitch.

Yes, he did have that unfortunate game against Birmingham when he seemed disinclined to pass to Donovan, and that didn’t work out too well, but for the most part he seems to be a good addition to the squad.

I, for one, greatly appreciated his scamper back on defense to stop Rooney from rounding Howard for the easy goal. Even something as simple as taking the captain’s armband and letting everyone else focus on the game is more important than it may seem at first glance.

Ignoring statistics because they do not happen to agree with your personal opinions on a player is not a very prudent way to look at things, I think. I would think that the Everton coaches look at any available statistics that they can put their hands on and use them accordingly, in addition to watching the players every day in practice and in the games. They surely use every resource at their disposal, and it would be foolish for us fans to ignore a valuable source of information because we do not agree with the results.

With that said, I’d like to see a little more of Coleman as well...

Nick Xenos
14   Posted 23/02/2010 at 04:54:45

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I would like to know how many of Neville’s completed passes have actually gone forwards rather than sideways or backwards. Baines has 1 goal and 5 assists under his name to Neville’s none, so there’s your answer right there. What would you rather have, someone with a 7% higher pass rate or one that can provide you with assists and goals.

Look at the wing-backs of Arsenal, Man U and Chelsea... they are all in the Baines mold where by they like to get forward and involve themselves in attacking areas. Neville is not in this mold, Coleman is. Moyes, give the young man a go because it makes sense!
Roman Sidey
15   Posted 23/02/2010 at 05:53:50

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I don’t want to speak badly of Baines because I think he is the best English LB at the moment, just as Pip is probably the best English RB just now too.

It’s funny though that a lot of people have said that statistics can prove whatever you want them to etc. I think you can ignore the statistics you want to ignore to prove your point to.

To use Baines’s goal and assists as an indicator that he’s better, look at it this way:
1. His goal was from a penalty — surely Pip would have buried it also.
2. Baines plays on the left where we have focussed our attack this year in the absence of Arteta and the improvement and introduction of Pienaar and Bilyaletdinov respectively.

Also, whoever said Hibbo was a better defender than Pip, take a good hard look at yourself. I believe or good fortune has coincided with Hibbo being injured.
Nick Xenos
16   Posted 23/02/2010 at 06:11:55

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@Roman - Ok, you’re right about the goal but the assists? If we drill down even deeper, we see that Baines had 7 assists last season to Neville’s 3.

Have you asked yourself why we have used the left wing more so than the right? Is it maybe because the Neville/ Osman or Donovan or whoever combination is not as good going forward? In my opinion, Pip’s an invaluable squad member but not a starter in any position.

Dave Wilson
17   Posted 23/02/2010 at 05:17:49

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The stats provide very clear evidence of the importance of Pip.

We have a talented group of players but in Neville absence, they may as well have been communicating by sign language.
Ok he’s arguably the least talented player in the squad, but anyone who has played at any level knows that 50% of the game is about communication and the higher up the football ladder you go, the more important it becomes. This is where our captain really shines.

Lyndon’s right of course — a large part of our improvement is to do with Fellaini and Pienaar returning to the ranks, but both have missed games recently and we’ve still marched on.

We recently debated the merits of seeing a game on TV as opposed to being at the game; yes, you get to see replays and slow-mos on TV, but the other side of the coin is when you are at the match you can really appreciate the tireless leadership skills of Neville, he doesn't shut up, constantly reminding people what's expected of them and where they should be, he as brave as they come too.

Over the past couple of months, Johnny H has also started to organise, he is bringing a belief bordering on arrogance to GP. These type of players quite simply expect to win... more to the point they know how to do it and to be honest, we can't have too many winners within our ranks.

The winners' bug is contagious, remember how Reidy and Andy Gray infected the entire dressing room? People like Osman, Fellaini and Pienaar are already showing the early symptoms and perhaps the time to introduce Coleman would be when GP in considered a winners only environment.

Next time a flowing move grinds to a halt down on the right, by all means ring your hands in frustration — I know I do — but remember, Phil Neville brings so much more to the team than a Glenn Johnson ever could.

He will not get you out of your seat, not ever, who cares? His task is much greater than that, along with people like Heitinga, he can be instrumental in changing the mentality and therefore the course of this team for years to come.

Michael Tracey
18   Posted 23/02/2010 at 07:30:16

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Dave Wilson, I couldn’t have put it better myself. Here, here!
Paul Gladwell
19   Posted 23/02/2010 at 07:51:20

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Dave, well said, and by all accounts the playing staff think the same regarding our captain.
Mike Gaynes
20   Posted 23/02/2010 at 07:51:33

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Well analyzed, Stefan, and beautifully expressed, Dave. I don’t put much stock in stats myself... and if you watch Cap’n Pip play, on talent alone he’s ordinary at best. But for leadership, will and intelligence, there is no man in the EPL I would trade him for. He contributes well on the field, but I believe he contributes monumentally where none of us will ever see him — on the practice field, in the changing room, and at the table over a beer.
Geoff Edwards
21   Posted 23/02/2010 at 08:23:03

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Kevin, Iain,

Phil Neville has taken his coaching badges and, along with his brother, was rated by the instructors as a highly promising coach. The thing I read (unfortunately can’t remember where as it was 3-4 years ago) said the instructors were raving about them!

Still wouldn’t want him to succeed Moyes in his first job. Tall order...
Kevin Hudson
22   Posted 23/02/2010 at 08:58:51

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Thanks for the info, Geoff, and I agree with you there.

Dave, spot on...

Phil Roberts
23   Posted 23/02/2010 at 09:47:09

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And well done our manager for looking at the whole picture and realising that the 11 best players is not always the best team.

He picked up a substitute utility fringe player who was in his very late 20s and most remembered for a stupid tackle on a Romanian winger in the last minute of a Euro Championship match which knocked England out — but he saw he was the man to bring the leadership on the pitch that was needed. Genius.
Ciarán McGlone
24   Posted 23/02/2010 at 10:18:55

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Ahhhhh, the misfeasance of statistics...

What was it Disraeli said about them...

Neville is the weakest link in our team. I also think his captaincy merits are well overstated... But, as you say, for Moyes he’s undroppable.
Ciarán McGlone
25   Posted 23/02/2010 at 10:23:01

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Oh and what about the Chelsea goal?
Matthew Mackey
26   Posted 23/02/2010 at 10:25:00

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The only Neville that was a liability in last Saturday's match was the one with the latter "G" on the back of his shirt.
Getting one over your big brother... priceless!
Ciarán McGlone
27   Posted 23/02/2010 at 10:24:40

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"Also, whoever said Hibbo was a better defender than Pip, take a good hard look at yourself. "


Yes, I’m taking a long hard look at myself.

Perhaps you should take a good hard look at Neville...and Hibbert.
Matthew Mackey
28   Posted 23/02/2010 at 10:35:23

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Taking the ball off Rooney in front of the Gladyws Street when he’s got an open goal gaping...........priceless
Matthew Mackey
29   Posted 23/02/2010 at 10:40:35

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Putting knob-ed Ronaldo on his arse with an absolute cruncher of a tackle and kick starting last season ..........priceless!
Brian Wilson
30   Posted 23/02/2010 at 11:13:20

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Agree with most of the positives about Pip, tho’ inclining towards the less effusive. However, Heitinga looks like a natural leader and skipper in waiting while Coleman (subject to improving the defensive side of his game) offers more than Pip or Hibbo could ever do going forward.
David Booth
31   Posted 23/02/2010 at 13:23:10

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I must confess to being less than enamoured when we signed Phil Neville, but have been persuaded otherwise.

I think it’s fair to say he’s dependable rather than spectacular - but it’s the other qualities he offers that make him so valuable.

His bred-to-win attitude cannot be undervalued and his apparently calm influence and vast experience must be so important within the dressing room. He’s also immensely versatile of course.

Currently he’s under a disporportionate amount of scrutiny however, as most of us (me included), are very impressed by what we’ve seen of Coleman so far.

David Moyes must have noticed too, but don’t judge his apparent unwillingness to make the change at right back as an indication that Neville is undroppable.

Moyes clearly would not wish to leave him out right now and will find a way to fit him in the team wherever possible, but the time will come soon enough. I would expect Coleman to feature a lot more regularly next season and still have a part to play before this one ends.

But right now, I think it would be a surprise if Moyes made such an experimental change to an emerging winning formula.

Think back to Paul Power and the amazement that surrounded his signing by Howard Kendall. He went on to be player of the season - not so much for his ability, but for what he brought to the team.

Neville is very much the same and is a serious rival to Lee Carsley in the most underrated player of recent times league.

Gerry Western
32   Posted 23/02/2010 at 16:46:31

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I don’t doubt his commitment or question his efforts. He’s impressed me in that respect. However, he’s part of that safety first approach which has a tendency to stifle creativity.

His failure to get into more advance positions makes us very predictable in that we have to continuously attack the opposition down the left. . As it is, Baines is expected to run his nuts off week in week out.

The down side was well and truly demonstrated in the recent derby. On the rare occasions Donovan got any kind of service he took them apart down the right. Unfortunately Neville starved him of any kind of supply.

People rightly point out that he can make important challenges but I’m afraid his lack of pace is leaving him increasingly exposed and he’s been taken to the cleaners a few times recently. He’s often credited with organising things at the back but in truth it’s Hetinga who’s brought that to the team.

Coleman I think deserves an opportunity. I’m not advocating Neville be consigned to the bench permanently but it might be that Coleman would be a better option against certain opposition and this would help him gain the experience he needs.
Keith Mattson
33   Posted 23/02/2010 at 18:54:40

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I’m new to the Toffee fan base (Landon brought me into the fold), but have watched all the Everton games on U.S. tv since Jan. Can’t comment on Neville’s leadership, but I assume he’s made a real difference at the club. But his passing is unimaginative, and doesn’t demonstrate confidence in his midfielders. Players like Osman, Arteta, Pienaar, and Donovan are skilled ball handlers and more worthy of getting short passes out of the back line. Everton is a dynamic looking club, with a lot more depth than I thought they had. Neville should demonstrate more confidence in his midfield.
John Sreet
34   Posted 23/02/2010 at 19:37:54

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he’s a great captain, and I think when he is on the field he breathes confidence in the rest........captains aren’t captains because of the armband, leadership comes from within, and he might not be a world classs full back, but he’s damn good and he leds with dignity, authority and humility. We would be poorer without him.
John Sreet
35   Posted 23/02/2010 at 19:37:54

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he’s a great captain, and I think when he is on the field he breathes confidence in the rest........captains aren’t captains because of the armband, leadership comes from within, and he might not be a world classs full back, but he’s damn good and he leds with dignity, authority and humility. We would be poorer without him.
Steve Pugh
36   Posted 23/02/2010 at 19:40:56

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Phil Neville as an individual player does not improve the team, what he does, and what was missing so badly during his absence is that his attitude makes everyone else play better.

To put it simply say Nev is a 50/100 player whilst Coleman is a 65/100 player and the rest of the first XI are 70/100. With Nev in the team everyone else’s performance moves up a notch so they become 75/100 giving a team score of 800 points. So whilst Coleman is a better individual the team with him in it would only have 765 points.

That is why he needs to play at the moment. However, as people like JH start to have a Neville like effect on the team DM will be able to bring Coleman in and push the team forward a bit more.
Paul Gladwell
37   Posted 23/02/2010 at 19:50:55

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What I have seen of Coleman (everyone of his few hundred minutes he has had) he looks very promising, but that is all.
He has had a chance as sub to show his attacking abilities a couple of times and the two games he has played fully he looked what he is, inexperienced.
I fully expect him to do the business for us but I do not believe some of the singing for him on here when people have hardly seen the lad.
Moyes is not stupid and throwing him in against some of the teams we have just had would have been just that and the results proved this.
That tackle by Neville on Saturday was just as important as any of the goals and that was a tackle full of experience and yet still the shit is thrown at him.
One defeat in the last twelve league games and three defeats in the last seventeen games is a team flying with confidence and on Saturday they all showed that against the most in form team in Europe at the moment.
Dave Wilson
38   Posted 23/02/2010 at 20:04:21

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I wonder what the stats are on people who dont do stats being wrong.

Funny how the same people crop up all the time to say our players arent good enough, not in a particular game, but not just not good enough . . Ciaran/ Gerry if you’re going to the Spurs game give me a shout, I’ll lend you both a pair of my rose coloured specs, they’re really sound, we keep beating really good teams when I wear them.

If you cant enjoy this current run guys, you should consider giving the game a wide berth, Seriously, you aint never gonna be happy.

We are not just beating these teams but playing them off the park, If you two really believe we are doing this whilst carrying passengers then I’m sorry, you are either too mean spirited to give credit to players that have made mugs of you, or you fail to grasp the very basics of the game
Paul Gladwell
39   Posted 23/02/2010 at 20:51:43

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Dave , I read yet again this site getting slaughtered today elsewhere for just that, you wonder why some people bother, but then again some of them dont.
Gerry Western
40   Posted 23/02/2010 at 22:27:44

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As this thread is about Neville, I’ve refrained from widening the discussion. Rather than going off on a tangent and out of respect to the author. I’d really like to hear what you’ve got to say specifically in relation to each of the points I’ve made in the post above.
Mike Jones
41   Posted 24/02/2010 at 00:00:18

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Back in October/November? (I think) 2009 I wrote an article to Mailbag extolling the virtues of Phil Neville as a man. My views haven’t changed. Hibbert may be a better right back than Neville (as may many in the Premier League) but he is a leader, if not the greatest footballer, although I don’t think he is anywhere near as poor as some make out.

Individuals with leadership characteristics can and do influence greater, but shyer, talents more than perhaps we give credit to them for. He is a positive influence around the club; I hope he is here in some capacity to utilise that influence for many years to come.

Pat Finegan
42   Posted 24/02/2010 at 01:27:17

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Neville is an asset and a liability at the same time. He isn’t a great football player but he makes the team as a whole much better. No one will say he is a top class defender or distributor of the ball but he is, without a doubt, a top class leader.
Chad Schofield
43   Posted 24/02/2010 at 06:43:10

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Dave Wilson, great first post.

Matthew Mackey... those will always be the soundbite pieces for our "Dirty ol’ man"-faced captain.

He’s a great leader on and off the field. He does have attacking limitations, but then he is a defender. No matter how experienced a player they can always improve, and I’m sure they’ll be calls for Coleman to do so once he is offered an opportunity and is "to blame" for something or other.
David Thomas
44   Posted 24/02/2010 at 10:17:34

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Paul Gladwell

I agree 100%. I think people always need someone to moan about. I think if we went and won every competition we entered people on toffeweb would still say we achieved our success in spite of certain people in the team.

Ciarán McGlone
45   Posted 24/02/2010 at 11:55:57

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Who says I’m not enjoying the current football?

Not only am I enjoying it, I predicted it - Not really in Russell Grant territory, but you get the point.

Is it not possible to calmly discuss the merits of certain areas of the team without being accused of being miserable?

The team may be playing well...but to limit discussion on this basis is, to use your new favourite word - ’churlish’... and so is telling people they know nothing about football - while ludicrously implying a team cannot play well while carrying passengers.

Neville has been consistently poor all season - and if you disagree with this then I’d have to question your eyesight...
The question is whether his merits as a leader are enough to keep him in there....

Any chance of a discussion on that pertinent issue? Or are you going to continue to think using the word ’mug’ can somehow avoid sensible debate?
David Thomas
46   Posted 24/02/2010 at 12:33:29

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I don’t think Phil Neville has been consistently poor all season and i have been to every game we have played this season. Obviously there has been games were he has been poor at the start of the season, but you could list nearly the whole squad as playing below par in some games early on this season.

I presume you have also been to every game this season or at least the majority of them to make a statement like that.
Dave Wilson
47   Posted 24/02/2010 at 12:16:33

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Dont be offended by the word Mug, its not meant that way,

I’m still reminded to this day how having seen Kevin Sheedy play for the first time, I stated that he was a lazy twat and would never be of any use to us, footballers continually make mugs of us, all of us, so to do Managers - ask the Ed

The thing is when they make mugs of us, we should be gracious enough to admit it, by digging your heels in and refusing to give Phil Neville - and Ossie - their due credit because of derogatory remarks you have made about them in the past, you look really rather petty

Silky skilled Phil Neville isnt so you can be assured, theres nothing wrong with your eyesight, but by underestimating or refusing to recognise what he brings to the team you display a lack of understanding . . . you continue to be a mug
Ciarán McGlone
48   Posted 24/02/2010 at 12:47:53

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You seem to have a problem reading...

I have given Osman credit - uncategorically - whenever it has been deserved..Your continued ignoring of that FACT - makes you the mug mate.

The fact that you even fail to acknowledge there might be a debate over the merits of Neville commanding a starting place - simply displays an outstanding arrogance bordering on stupidity. This seems to be simply based on your observation that Mr Neville tells the other players what to do during a match...

Now, on that basis perhaps you can explain to me, what advice Phile Neville has for any of our midfielders on the pitch, or Saha...or Heitinga for that matter..that means he is indispensible in teh starting line up...

I know this kind of discussion is no replacement for calling people ’mugs’ - but bear with it Dave...You never know, you might even get the measure of this whole debating thing...
Dave Wilson
49   Posted 24/02/2010 at 13:54:26

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Sorry, Ciarán, but that simply isnt true, I distinctly remember you trying desperately hard to underplay Ossies role at the Emirates and until the last two games where he has quite literally rammed the words down your throat, you’ve given him no Credit at all, dispite MOM performances. . . although I’d be more than happy to retract that if you can point me in the direction of even the faintest of praise.

Please don't lecture me about debating skills either, I posted a lengthy detailed account of the qualities Pip brings to Everton, you replied with some garbled shite about some distant politician and followed that up with the blindingly insightful "what about the Chelsea goal" - did you not know every goal is somebody's fault ?

To dismiss Nevilles role as "somebody who tells others what to do" is like saying Napolean occasionally pointed a few troops in the right direction,
I’m convinced you dont rate Neville because you dont get him.

We are all mugs Ciaran but You seem to be offended by the term, I would ask you this:

If TW’s next poll ask: Would you describe somebody who said "Neville and Osman should never be let near the first team ever again" as a mug — how do you think it would go ?

Ciarán McGlone
50   Posted 24/02/2010 at 16:05:49

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How did Ossie’s display in the Man united and Chelsea Games have any effect on what I said about him in the Arsenal game?

You seem to be under the illusion that people seem to be able to change the past..this is not stargate, or a journey home for spock.

Again, I’ll repeat - I have given him credit..and you’ve read it on deny that fact simpy, makes you a numpty.

.....I’ll repeat a coupkle of them just so you can ’retract’..

"Osman had a pretty good game" "it was a very strong performance."

"He played a blinder on Saturday, no doubting that" [in an actual exchange with yourself]

I could go and get good appraisals from the Chelsea game Maibag articles too but they’ve disappeared...

So Dave...are you going to retract?

Are you going to answer my questions about Neville?

Is your real motivation that I don’t have Osman in my starting XI?
Ray Roche
51   Posted 24/02/2010 at 17:02:22

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One thing I will say in Nevilles favour is this. When he slotted into midfield and Hibbo was at right back, Neville never once went missing. He always made himself available to Hibbert, even if Neville’s distribution sometimes leaves a lot to be desired he was always there to help Hibbo, or whoever, when they had the ball and needed an outlet. If anyone on here can name a more decent and intelligent man in the Prem than Neviile please do so. And you don’t enjoy the success and win as many medals and caps as he has if you’re a crap player.
Although I am very impressed with the improvement in Heitinga’s performancees I wish he’d stop playing short hospital balls to Neville and Distan. What is the point in passing 15 yards to a player with a man marking him?
Richard Dodd
52   Posted 24/02/2010 at 17:19:16

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Take it from me, Captain Pip is already a shoo-in to succeed the Sacred Davey but it won't be for many, many years. I know that our present manager’s aim is to become the longest ever custodian of the post — and then some. But one day, it WILL be Pip’s turn, believe me.
Nick Armitage
53   Posted 24/02/2010 at 18:24:56

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If all Everton players had his attitude we’d romp the league - if all Everton players had his ability we’d get relegated.

Phil Neville’s most important attribute to Everton Football Club is the fact that he keeps Tony Hibbert out of the team.

If we need to look to a position in defence it is left back, we have no cover whatsover there should Baines get crocked.
Paul Gladwell
54   Posted 24/02/2010 at 18:32:54

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Ciaran, I would rather not get into one of your arguments as for one my plane awaits for Lisbon in a few hours, but it is hard not to bite.
We are on a roll and all you can do is still have pops at Neville. Rather than give him praise for his match winning tackle or his part in Pienaar's goal last week you prefer to bleat on about the fuck up at home to Chelsea which in the end made not a blind bit of difference.

Even your praise for Osman and his pretty good game was begrudging as he had a bloody cracker.

As for your previous shouts about how watching on TV is a good as being there, well you know what it is not, I make a point of watching certain players off the ball, most notably Neville, and he never shuts up organising and pulling the strings — something the new Roberto Carlos (Coleman) some people would have you believe cannot offer that yet.

Dave Wilson
55   Posted 24/02/2010 at 19:38:50

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I quite clearly state that Until Ossie rammed your words down your throat in the past couple of games you gave him no credit at all, plenty of stick, but no credit.
So in what? The next two or three years? You've been posting on this site, you cant find a single post of yours where you’ve given Ossie even the faintest of praise? NOT ONE?

Read the challenge properly, I asked you to point me in the direction of anything positive you’ve said about this guy BEFORE the past couple of games, rather predictably you’ve failed. NO RETRACTION
Paul Williams
56   Posted 24/02/2010 at 20:19:04

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Unlike the OP I can’t say I’m a big fan of Neville’s. He brings a degree of professionalism and leadership to the team and has certain intangible qualities which are useful but, for me, his lack of footballing ability outweighs this. I can only go by the evidence of my own eyes and whilst all players make mistakes, poor decisions on the field of play etc they generally have some sort of physical, footballing redeeming quality to balance the scales a quality I think Neville lacks

Tackling - gives away far too many silly freekicks and fouls. Pace - left trailing by opposition players far too often for my liking. Strength - Too easily brushed aside or left flat on his back. Heading - Distinctly average. Assists - a few assists here and there. Goals - Not his job so no problem on that front.. Technique - Way below standard for this level. Passing - Truly dreadful. Passes which go directly to the opposing player on numerous occasions. Balls chipped out of play for a throw-in. Over-hit / under-hit passes when under no pressure at all.

Like I say I’m no Neville fan and and I’m just responding to the Phil Neville- Undropable Article. Just calling it like I see it. But I do wonder how many people would appreciate his leadership skills, determination and passion coupled with a distinct lack of ability if he didn’t play for Everton? I don’t dislike Neville I’m sure he’s a perfectly nice guy but for Everton I expect a better standard of player playing for and captaining the Blues.
Gerry Western
57   Posted 24/02/2010 at 21:18:14

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Dave, it’s unfortunate that you seem unable to formulate any kind of reasoned argument without resorting to mud-slinging or worse, misrepresenting the views of others, and in some cases refusing to acknowledge contributions.

For the record my view of Neville has always been that as a central midfielder he was poor. I do not deny that. However, he’s a decent right back, average in my opinion. Generally speaking in the past he’s done enough to warrant his selection in that position, He’s not had the best of seasons to date, although there have been occasions on which he’s played well.

As for your suggestion that I take no pleasure in our turn of fortune I’m afraid your way off the mark as my contribution following the recent City game clearly illustrates.

‘Have to say that performance was a throwback to the glory years. I thought we performed terrifically at the Emirates but yesterday’s performance took it to another level. For the first time in many many years we had class players available in every position on the park and it really showed. We now look like a team who on their day can take on anyone.’

Incidentally, Dave, Phil Neville was on the field that evening, for me it was on the night, a class performance and he played his part as did everyone else on that evening. It’s regrettable that in your latest rant you conveniently choose to ignore such comments in a shameful attempt to mislead others.

You’ll have to forgive me if I don’t share your enthusiasm but I’ve learned that a team is only ever as good as their last result.
Dave Wilson
58   Posted 25/02/2010 at 05:43:08

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Do you really think that post you provide as an example of generous praise gives due credit to Neville ? really ?


Your praise would have seemed so much more heart felt if you hadn’t qualified it with a but, however it was praise, regardless of when or how faint and on second thoughts I think its fair to that I retract

Read your posts on this thread guys. have I really misrepresented you ?

Maybe I have this wrong, maybe you are just not the sort of people who throw compliments around, but if faint praise really is damning you two could earn a living as public executioners.
Throw a few bouquets from time to time, it’ll bring some balance to your argument, besides its good for the soul

Ciarán McGlone
59   Posted 25/02/2010 at 10:04:28

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"As for your previous shouts about how watching on TV is a good as being there, well you know what it is not"


I didn’t say that at all....
Ciarán McGlone
60   Posted 25/02/2010 at 10:06:22

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Oh right Dave...

So I don’t give Osman any credit..apart from when I gave him credit..

And even when I did it wasn’t ’heartfelt enough’ ...Very disingenuous Dave.

Perhaps I should ask you to provide an instance were you called him as being shit...

Admit it, you’re in love with him.
Dave Wilson
61   Posted 25/02/2010 at 10:21:21

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I tried to let you off the hook because we are rapidly approaching the stage where I get a ban, but you wont let it go.

You’re begrudge praise followed by "its about time too" proves to me you have no real clue what you post from one game to another, this was off the back of several performances where he was considered by many to be a candidate for MOM, your embarresing attemtps to edit the spiteful digs that invariably follows your "praise" fool nobody.

This is not about Ossie - who incidently wouldnt be in my first 11 either - its about you and people like you constantly whining about your right to critisise whilst being totally oblivious to the fact that there is a flip side. People are entitled to post glowing tributes without you pissing misery on their bonfire

You’ve had your words rammed down your throat, if you cant take that dont fucken utter them in the first place
Ciarán McGlone
62   Posted 25/02/2010 at 11:18:40

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Your problem appears to be that you are promoting your opinion that he had MOTM performances a fact. It simply isn’t. I would kindly suggest your clear infatuation with Osman clouds your judgement.

Regarding ’flip sides’ - I’m quite aware there’s a flip side Dave...I can I prove it - as I’ve done above - by pointing towards the praise I’ve given WHEN I THOUGHT it was DESERVED!

I can’t prove it to you, because you’re too ungracious to even acknowledge it’s existence - by your own logic, I guess that makes you a mug.
Dave Wilson
63   Posted 25/02/2010 at 11:55:24

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Well thats me hatrick anyway, I’ve been accused of being in love with Hibbo, Big Vic and now Ossie on this site - A right tart me you know.

What was it you were saying about debating skills ?

I’m off, enjoy the match tonight . . .at least the bits you understand

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