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Who will be the next captain of Everton Football Club?

By Fran Mitchell :  25/04/2010 :  Comments (40) :
Next season, Everton could arguable be entering its most important season for a long, long time. Many of our best players — Arteta, Pienaar (if he stays), Jagielka, Yakubu, Baines, Heitinga — will all be in their late 20s, all entering the peak of their game. With the league more open than it has been in a long time, this could be our best chance for a successful season.

Success? What this exactly is remains debatable point. For some it's 4th; for some it's silverware; for some it's an actual title challenge.

While this is the best squad we've had for a very long time, we are missing one essential element. More important than a winger with pace, even more important than Seamus Coleman... it is a captain.

This brings me to Phil Neville, a player who divides opinion more than anyone I've had the pleasure/displeasure to watch in the Royal Blue jersey. Whatever his ability, he is a good captain. When he is in the team, it functions better. See the form of Fellaini in games with and without Neville, the difference is noticable. This is what he brings.

However, he is 34 years old. No matter what your opinion, love it or hate it, if your marmite is past its sell-by date, you throw it away. He plays at right back. If there is a position in the team where lack of pace is costly, it's full back.

The team is also moving on: quick movement, short passing, possession football... If Phil Neville is anything, he isn't this style of football player.

So who is the captain elect?

Cahill has been vice-captain, but he seemed to buckle when made captain earlier this season, he is also no longer a guaranteed starter.

No-one else has the experience of being captain, We do not have someone who we could immediately identify as a captain. But there are in my opinion three potential candidates:

  1. Jagielka: A powerful and dominant defender, he would probably be favourite. Other defenders look better when they play with him, this could well be due to his organisational skills. However he does lack expereince at the highest level (International and European), and his reading of the game isn't exactly world class. (Many of his tackles are last-second tackles, while good, show a slight mis-reading of the game... Eduardo's goals when we played Arsenal are evidence for this fault.)
  2. Heitinga: The most talented defender we've had on our books, both in terms of footballing ability and defensive nous. In what will be his second season, he has that Captain aura. He has also played International and European football more than anyone else at the club (minus Neville). He has however shown some lapses of concentration, and his 35-yard shots and occasional unnecessary cross-field balls show his ego sometimes take precedence.
  3. Arteta: He is our maestro, we are twice the team when he is in it. He must hold a huge amount of respect from his peers. I'm sure it's a case of Mikel speaks, we listen. He has showed loyalty — if he wanted, he could have moved to almost any club in Europe, but remains at Everton. He has shown his mental toughness in coming back from that injury and playing the way he has. He reads the game like a book, his positioning and awareness of his peers' movements, these could be excellent attributes for a captain. But does he talk much? Would making him captain restrain him in some ways? Certainly a different style captain to Pip, but certainly not one to be ruled out.

    Who do you vote for, or any wildcard offerings?

    Reader Comments

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    Mike Green
    1   Posted 25/04/2010 at 23:57:43

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    Andy Crooks
    2   Posted 26/04/2010 at 00:08:40

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    It's not cricket, Fran. The captain is usually an honorary position. Phil Neville is an exception to this as his role as captain partly makes up for his growing fallibility as a player. He is, in my view, the best captain we have ever had. To answer your point, I would suggest someone who would improve greatly by being given the honour. Fellaini.
    Pat Finegan
    3   Posted 26/04/2010 at 00:27:54

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    I think it should be Heitinga. He plays harder than anyone else on the team. He has the never say die attitude that I think we need from a captain.

    Tim Cahill has been loyal for years and, like Heitinga, always plays hard. He took the captaincy in a period where we were looking pretty awful as a team, I wouldn't say he buckled.
    Ste Traverse
    4   Posted 26/04/2010 at 01:12:34

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    Arteta as captain with Cahill as his vice captain. An excellent pairing considering the obvious mutual respect these two have. But I suspect Pip will have at least one more season in the role.
    Brendan O'Doherty
    5   Posted 26/04/2010 at 03:50:12

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    The best little Spaniard we know.
    Derek Thomas
    6   Posted 26/04/2010 at 06:30:42

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    As Forrest says, Captain is as Captain does.

    Lots of things go towards making a good Captain and being the most skillful player on the pitch (as Arteta may well be) is not the be-all and end-all.

    As Andy Crooks mentioned, it's not Cricket and Cricket (and Foootball and Rugby) have had numerous examples of the superstar name being made Captain and promptly losing his form by trying to do too much, let the Bothams, Flintoffs, Artetas of this world get on with doing what they do best... PLAY!

    Back in the 90s, when the All Blacks still did what it said on the packet, instead of being the bunch of over paid and cossetted chockers they are now, the Captain was one Sean Fitzpatrick... also Peter Reid / Dave Mackay / Stuart Pearce — you get the picture, who not only Captained the team but, given half a chance, would referee the game as well, all this while dealing out instant 'justice' in the scrum.

    But when he played for his Club, the Captain was fellow All Black, Zinzan Brooke —top bloke in his position (No 8)... maybe in the World. But did this mean that Fitzy suddenly stopped being and doing what he was and did??... Nah!

    Ratcliffe, Reid, Southall, Sharp, all have and had what the Maoris call MANA, a presence, charisma, bearing, attitude... all this and more.

    The Armband is but the token of the honour.

    Capain is as Captain does, leaders Lead

    Short version: Johnny Heitinga.
    Iain Love
    7   Posted 26/04/2010 at 08:42:11

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    Heitinga, might as well get the armband as he does the job when he's out there anyway.
    Alan Kirwin
    8   Posted 26/04/2010 at 09:32:40

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    By any measurement.....Mikel Arteta.
    Colin Potter
    9   Posted 26/04/2010 at 09:38:43

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    Aiden Doyle
    10   Posted 26/04/2010 at 09:48:50

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    I'd have to say Phil Neville.... to retain the role of club captain whilst gradually handing over on-the-field leadership to Heitinga.
    Ciarán McGlone
    11   Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:25:50

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    Let's hope it's someone who regularly deserves to get into the starting line up on merit!
    Ciarán McGlone
    12   Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:26:40

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    "When he is in the team, it functions better. See the form of Fellaini in games with and without Neville, the difference is noticable."

    Yeah, I guess Fellaini's improved form had absolutely nothing to do with Pienaar coming back or balanced being added to the right by Donovan coming in....
    Dick Anderson
    13   Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:37:45

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    Joao Moutinho.

    A natural-born leader by all accounts.
    Danny Burke
    14   Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:29:43

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    No doubt the captain's role has diminshed over the years but having a true old fashioned captain I think helps the team. It seems that these days there are not enough strong characters in the game and maybe this is why the role is less important than previously.

    I note Arteta had the armband when he put the pen away at the weekend. I think Jags, Cahill, Arteta, Heitinga, Yobo (Nigeria Capt), even Baines have the respect of the dressing room. Heitinga for me although happy with any of the above.

    Gavin Ramejkis
    15   Posted 26/04/2010 at 12:45:54

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    Heitinga... the guy seems, as said above, to take on that role and certainly leads players around him in defence and midfield. He has that air of leadership around him; twin that with ability and he gets my vote.
    Steven Smyth
    16   Posted 26/04/2010 at 12:46:41

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    I'd go with Heitinga, especially playing along side Jagielka. He can see everything from the back... then Arteta as vice captain
    Peter Norris
    17   Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:14:35

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    Heitinga all the way — the nearest we have had to an "Oh Tommy Tommy Tommy Tommy Gravesen"... to get the crowd and the team going.
    Peter Norris
    18   Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:14:35

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    Heitinga all the way - the nearest we have had to a oh tommy tommy tommy tommy gravesen to get the crowd and the team going.
    Matthew Tait
    19   Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:06:19

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    I expect Neville to retain the club captain title next season, even if he may start playing in fewer games (though I'm far from sure of that – he seems to me to be exceptionally fit, even if he may not be the quickest). I doubt Moyes will see any rationale for stripping him of the title.

    In terms of captain in Neville's absence, I would also expect Cahill to retain it as the incumbent.

    I'm sure Heitinga would do a fine job as captain, but giving him the job would run the risk of angering senior players who would Cahill or some other long-standing club member to be given the honour.

    As people have said, it's largely an honorary position. Since it's not going to make much difference to Heitinga's game (or Jagielka's) if they are made captain, or to the team's play, there's no real reason to change.

    By the way, I don't agree that Cahill isn't currently assured of his starting place (our best center-mid trio is very clearly Arteta, Cahill and Fellaini in my opinion). Nor do I agree that being captain affected Cahill negatively previously.
    Jay Harris
    20   Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:34:20

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    You only have to look who was given the armband when Neville went off yesterday... Step forward, Mikel Arteta.

    I also Think Ossie would make a good captain!!!!!!!!!
    Matthew Tait
    21   Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:42:53

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    I've got time for Ossie as a player Jay, and I get a bit sick of some of the abuse he cops...

    But captain? You're having a laugh, right?!

    It helps if your captain has at least some chance of making the first team in the absence of injuries to other players!
    Danny Jones
    22   Posted 26/04/2010 at 14:28:15

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    I personally would like to see Heitinga have it. But as has been said, Arteta got it after Neville was taken off and I think that says all we need to know.

    Another point is the Captain is seen as the face of the team/club and used extensively for promo work and, as lovely as Neville and Heitinga are, only their mums would say they were handsome!
    David Thomas
    23   Posted 26/04/2010 at 14:03:00

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    Phil Neville will be captain next season. David Moyes has gone on record as saying Neville is a great captain numerous times, so unless we have a change of manager in the summer he will be captain for the forseeable future. With regards a long term captain once Neville retires in my opinion Heitinga seems to have good credentials for filling the role.
    Ernie Baywood
    24   Posted 26/04/2010 at 15:08:32

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    Neville... but as he plays less and less, it should be Arteta who wears the armband.

    The central point in our team, and who knows it might be enough to convince him to stay... (Does no-one think we'll be getting bids for him?)
    Jay Harris
    25   Posted 26/04/2010 at 15:37:26

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    You're right Mathew it was tongue in cheek.

    I rate Ossie as a player and do feel as if he has come in for some over the top stick as Hibbo Has but IMO the Captain has to be a lot more than a good pro wearing EFC on their hearts thats why I agree with most posters on Arteta and Cahill with Heitiga as a future captain with a few more years at the club.
    James Stewart
    26   Posted 26/04/2010 at 17:20:48

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    Eric Holl
    27   Posted 26/04/2010 at 17:24:24

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    It must be Tony Hibbo!!!
    It's his fault we are going to be without a captain.

    (Johny H for me)
    Tim Lloyd
    28   Posted 26/04/2010 at 19:33:48

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    Reading the comments already posted,I guess the player with trhe most recommendations is Johnny Heitinga.

    Have to say I agree with that choice, I have always felt a Captain should be chosen from a commanding player from defence or midfield..

    There are two possibles to choose from, Johnny and Mikel. I give it to Johnny cos he has that streak of hardness about him which I feel is needed. Mikel is a better footballer but Johnny has that streak of meanness which he might need to drive a team mate who he feels is not giving 101%. I somehow don't think Mikel has; he is a lovely player in every sense of the word.
    Rich Roberts
    29   Posted 26/04/2010 at 20:02:46

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    How about one really from the "left field" .....

    Andy Morden
    30   Posted 26/04/2010 at 20:40:31

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    I don't think it would be Cahill. Moyes has gone on record this season as saying that when Neville was injured all of the people he tried either lost something in their game or couldn't fill the void.

    Arteta may be an option. He wore the armband on Sunday, but Heitinga is injured. Would be interesting to see who wore it if he was on the pitch. I personally think Moyes will be monitoring how Heitinga gets on behind the scenes in the coming season as well as on the pitch - how he grows and establishes himself as a man and as a player with his colleagues. Arteta would be a different captain, sort of like our Fabregas. And Fabregas inspires Arsenal in more ways than one.
    Bob Parrington
    31   Posted 27/04/2010 at 01:01:58

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    Goin' back to the "how about a player from left field???" I see nobody has suggested the guy from right back between the sticks... our own Tim Howard.

    Mikel is great and well respected but I'd like to see him get the opportunity to really get on with his game for a while without having to think about the captaincy role. Johnny is really solid too but perhaps too new to the squad.

    Ossie?? I don't think so, even though his heart is in the right place. Jags might be given a go too, particularly if you don't like a GK or attacking MF or a striker as capt.

    James Gardner
    32   Posted 27/04/2010 at 00:52:37

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    Here's a spanner in the proverbial. Tim Howard!

    I know at times his decision-making can be a bit off, but he has hardly missed a game for us this season and has preformed consistently for us for the past few seasons (a few blips aside). Tim's passionate for the team, always wants to be on the pitch, and always gives 100%

    Let the outfield players concentrate on playing their quick tempo, fluid football, and let him control the defence, the guy has bags of experience and more importantly I think it will bring balance to the team.

    I know he is in the same boat as Neville, reaching the end of his career but I think he still has 3 or 4 seasons left with us (look at Van der Sar at United).

    I don't think that Moyes will drop Neville from the role next season but food for thought, guys.

    Art Jones
    33   Posted 27/04/2010 at 08:44:27

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    I think Cahill and Arteta are too much like "one of the lads" to be able to have that detachment needed to be captain in the same vein as Neville, Weir or Stubbsy, so I think the mantle will go to Jags or Johnny H with my preference being Jags who I think has a bit more self-control than Johnny. I'm looking forward next season to their central defensive partnership; I honestly think they'll benefit each other and having them as captain & vice captain could be a smart move
    Tommy Gourlay
    34   Posted 27/04/2010 at 12:13:55

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    I think Heitinga as well.

    When Tim Lloyd posted there of Johnny having a "streak of meanness which he might need to drive a team mate who he feels is not giving 101%" then it made me think back to Baines (in those early days with us) when he tore strips off of Yak for not giving enough effort and I would take him seriously for the job based on that.
    Liam Reilly
    35   Posted 27/04/2010 at 15:42:53

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    You are all presuming that the current captain will have his games reduced next season. That's not going to happen. Pip when fit, is a guaranteed starter under Moyes and he'll be running out to Z-Cars for some time yet.
    Sean Keigher
    36   Posted 27/04/2010 at 20:41:25

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    Johnny Heitinga

    He looks like a captain in the mould of Roy Keane, not afraid to give a team mate a bollicking when they deserve it and willing to get stuck in and be counted.

    Doubt we'll see it till 2011-12 season tho...
    Gaute Lie
    37   Posted 28/04/2010 at 16:18:51

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    I would go for Johnny Heitinga. The way he shouts and controls the back four-five guys is a delight to see. He looks like a sweeper in full control (if I understand the sweeper role) of the whole pitch, including his opponents.

    And he has a hair style as myself (no hair) and this I think is a big plus. It's a mans hairdo. Not a girly one like that of all the red shite girlies.

    The only thing speaking against him is the fact of him being at Goodison for just one year.
    James Stewart
    38   Posted 29/04/2010 at 00:30:45

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    Pains me to say it but I think Liam is right on this.... Wishful thinking....
    Jason Lam
    39   Posted 29/04/2010 at 03:19:56

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    It's going to be Osman.
    Pablo Mc
    40   Posted 30/04/2010 at 10:34:19

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    A few of us have been debating this for most of this season as it has become clear to most that Phil Neville is something of a rarity — he's actually a better captain than he is a footballer!

    Personally, I think he'll still have it next season with a gradual handover, and — although Arteta would do well and would be equally deserving — for me it's between Jagielka and Heitinga. I've noticed Heitinga on the sidelines talking to Moyes a lot during breaks in play and he certainly seems well capable of doing the role.

    I'd be happy with any of Arteta / Jagielka / Heitinga (all 3 of them definitely "get it") but, if it was my choice, then I'd probably plump for Heitinga.

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