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The value of Phil Neville

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There's an interesting article on the site regarding how underrated Phil Neville is. Now, I believe he is an average full back and at best an average midfielder; however, his total assets make him of outstanding value to the club.

John Arlott once said of Mike Brearley, that he would have him in his all-time great side purely for his captaincy. Of course a cricket captain is going to have much more influence than a captain in football. Some clubs offer the captaincy as a reward but, in my view, Neville is as inspirational a football captain as I have ever seen.

I believe he, as much as Moyes, was responsible for the confident aggressive attitude evident on Saturday. There is not a better professional in the Premier League.
Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 11/01/2010 at 11:42:53

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Nathan Ward
1   Posted 11/01/2010 at 20:41:54

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Perhaps the irony is that if Pip hadn’t joined United he would have gone on to play for Lancashire CC........

Think perhaps you underestimate his abilities at right back but agree wholeheartedly that his influence as captain is great. A lot more organised and detirmned with him in the team.
Andrew Flanagan
2   Posted 11/01/2010 at 20:49:01

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Premier League (6): 1995-96, 1996-97, 1998-99, 1999-2000, 2000-01, 2002-03

FA Cup (3): 1995-96, 1998-99, 2003-04

FA Community Shield (3): 1996, 1997, 2003

UEFA Champions League (1): 1998-99

Intercontinental Cup (1): 1999


England Caps: 59

Very Average...

Dave Wilson
3   Posted 11/01/2010 at 20:37:47

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Andy, a couple of weeks ago, your old buddy Ciarán stated he didn't think Neville — or Ossie — should ever be first choice again. I disagreed and stated we would improve start winning as soon as they were back and that everyone would scream "coincidence!".

Well, they are back and we are climbing the table already, Ciarán may ultimately be proved right, but for that to happen we need to replace these guys with players out of the very top draw.

The improvement in our football over the past couple of weeks is largely down to their bravery, not "run through a brick wall" sort of bravery, but the "I’ll take responsibility" sort of bravery, the sort of bravery you need when your teammates are looking for leadership. They set an example; the hoofball that was so apparent in their absence has disappeared, defenders now have an option.

Fellaini and Rodwell have immense potential, but in the absence of senior players we could all see they are not yet ready for that sort of responsibility, only by playing with top top pros like Ossie and Captain Pip will they realise their true potential — look at Fellaini now.

I couldn't agree more with your post; Neville may not be the greatest footballer in the world, but he grew up winning and he knows what it takes, and his displays of courage, his refusal to hide even when he’s having a bad one himself, are exactly the kind of examples I want to see set for our younger players.

Gerry Rutter
4   Posted 11/01/2010 at 21:05:13

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Brilliant comment Andrew. Phil Neville is a fighter and more importantly a winner. I reckon he is as important to us as Keane was to the great United sides. I would have his name on the teamsheet with indelible ink.
Keith Glazzard
5   Posted 11/01/2010 at 20:56:24

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Phil Neville isn’t a great player, but he is a good one, and he is an intelligent footballer. He could give you a running commentary of everything that was happening on the field during a game if you wired him up. And that helps him to be a force in the team - a good captain.

Hibbo, for all his qualities, is where he should be at the moment - in the squad. The problem that Pip poses for Coleman’s progress is more tricky.

Cricket? Schmicket.! (spell-check didn’t like that). Cycling needs, as they used to say, stars and water carriers - the domestiques who enable the stars to win - for the team. Although there are now super-domestiques who add to the value of the team while completing their necessary duties, the basic sporting model remains. I’ve heard a few commentators on the game refer to Phil Neville as a great acquisition for EFC, and I agree with them.
Guy Hastings
6   Posted 11/01/2010 at 21:41:20

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Assuming DM stays for another two seasons after this, then PN will be our next manager.
Ciarán McGlone
7   Posted 11/01/2010 at 21:47:40

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He’s a decent captain and a reasonable right back... But he’s a problem in midfield..

Happy enough to have him playing in right back — even though Hibbert’s been solid this season — rather that than messing with the middle.
Nick Dommett
8   Posted 11/01/2010 at 21:57:56

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He should be at RB - he is the best allrounder in that position. While Hibbert is maybe a better defender, he gives a lot more going forward (cross to Cahill - can you imagine Hibbert doing that?), while Coleman is better offensively, his defensive side is not the greatest plus he is still largely untested. Add in Neville’s organisational abilities and its a bit of a no-brainer...
Ian Kearney
9   Posted 11/01/2010 at 22:10:28

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Our turn-around in form started, much like last season, when we started playing a proper CM in that position. Fellaini was running the show weeks before Neville returned, and last year it was Arteta’s move to the centre that changed our fortunes, not Neville’s tackle,as Mark Lawrenson would have you believe.

But the more fit players we have obviously the better we will, Neville is a far superior right back than Tony Hibbert, and does appear to have a positive influence on the younger lads, and defence in general, but he is not Bobby Moore Mark II.
Tom Bowers
10   Posted 11/01/2010 at 23:10:17

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Quite agree, Pips is as good a defender as any at doing just that — defending. Finesse is not his forte but who cares? The back 4 on Saturday were superb and so disciplined. Heitinga and Neill showed all their experience against the Arsenal passing prowess and it took two wicked deflections to get them a point.

Baines needs to get his crosses better, being the only one who gets forward... but also played solid at the back but Capt. Pip makes such a difference leading by inspiration. Would have liked Coleman to have come on in the last 10 minutes for the tiring Osman with Pips moving in front of the back 4 to tighten things up.

David McKenna
11   Posted 12/01/2010 at 01:03:19

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Phil Neville is vitally important to Everton and I think he is a great professional.

Before last season, I used to think he was a good full back for us but I absolutely hated him in midfield cos I felt he was too shaky and hesitant with the ball at his feet. But last season he completely changed my mind and I think his best position is in midfield.

I was won over when he stopped Ronaldo at Goodison and then when he banged in a pen against Utd at Wembley.

He’s a great player for getting stuck in and winning the ball and driving the team on, and his professionalism and captaincy qualities make him a better player than he actually is ability-wise .
Ste Traverse
12   Posted 12/01/2010 at 01:06:27

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Nick, You’v contridicted yourself by suggesting Coleman’s defensive side isn’t the greatest but going on to say he’s largely untested.
Spragg Johnson
13   Posted 12/01/2010 at 01:45:17

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Hmmm ... yes he’s a battler but he makes some very poor decisions ... giving Lampard too much room cost us in the Cup Final and if you watch the Rosicky/Neill deflection goal it’s Neville who gives Rosicky room by committing to Vela. I’m sure he gees the lads up but he’s no superstar. One more season in him ... but as a right back. With Fellaini and Rodwell we’re sorted for holding midfielders.
Alan Clarke
14   Posted 12/01/2010 at 09:49:47

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Neville’s best stint in midfield was alongside Arteta where he can offered protection to the Spanish wizard. Once Arteta got injured, Neville was crap because he had to try and be more creative. Neville is our best right back and now with Fellaini starting to show his worth in the middle, Neville should stay at right back.
Danny Burke
15   Posted 12/01/2010 at 11:59:42

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I like Neville and I think he is an exceptional captain. He is a good footballer but not a great one. Therein lies the problem: to push on, we need to replace him with a great player but then we lose the exceptional influence he has on the team. I think if Fellaini continues as he is in the holding role, then the only option to play Nev is at RB.
Kenny Lloyd
16   Posted 12/01/2010 at 12:14:07

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I must admit that when Moyes first signed Pip I did have concerns but he’s gone on to prove me wrong and I’m absolutely made up. His attitude is second to none and as Dave Wilson alluded to – even when he’s having a mare himself, he doesn’t hide, still takes the ball and continues to try and lead the team. We are one of those teams whose sum is greater than the parts in some respects and Phil Neville with his winning, never say die attitude is integral to it.

I’d happy to see him in the team whether it be right back or centre mid. I do think RB would be the best positioon for him given the midfield options we have and his somewhat under-rated attacking ability / crosses that he can provide from RB. If he was to play CM then he ideally needs the playmaker alongside him so he can give it simply and therefore not have to try and be the creater himself which to be fair we all know he’s not.

But he’s an outstanding pro and one of Moyesies best and most shrewd signings.
Norman Merrill
17   Posted 12/01/2010 at 12:41:46

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Andy, some weeks ago I commented on the fact that since Phil has been out injured, we have had at least 4/5 different captains. David Moyes rates him very highly, and he appreciates his organising qualities. We all have our opinions on his best position but he is the skipper, and am I glad he is back.
Alan Kirwin
18   Posted 12/01/2010 at 13:06:33

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Thank goodness there are enough of us who can see the importance of Phil Neville to Everton.

He’s a fighter and a winner and our captain - and a very good captain, one of the best we’ve had for a long time.

He’s a class act. He takes his football seriously and his role seriously. It would not worry me in the slightest if Phil Neville followed David Moyes.

For now though, we are much better with Phil Naville than without him. He was immense at Arsenal and offers what all teams need, drive and motivation. Without Pip, and Arteta, and Jags, we often miss the drive.

Absolutely delighted he’s back.
Anthony O'Sullivan
19   Posted 12/01/2010 at 13:33:50

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What he can do is block a shot properly. Instead of flapping at it like Ossy and Neil (and costing us 2 goals) Phil threw everything in front of the ball. I can remember one block that was a certain goal and not only that he was up off the ground to clear the ball before any other player had moved.
Nick Dommett
20   Posted 12/01/2010 at 13:56:36

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Ste,

No I think it is rather self-explanatory: from the little we have seen of Coleman (and it is little), he is fantastic going forward but a bit suspect at the back. This could all change if he is given a run of games which I believe shouldn’t happen as Neville is the best all-round RB we have.
Keith Glazzard
21   Posted 12/01/2010 at 18:05:49

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BATE Borisov, the best that Belarus can throw at us, are no great shakes, so the team that we put out was appropriate for the fixture. I think we were quite pleased that Moyes could do that. Coleman played the whole game, and very well too. (As did Duffy, impressively, plus Mustafi, only for the last 15 minutes though).
Gerry Western
22   Posted 12/01/2010 at 21:55:01

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Andy, I’m afraid I have to disagree. I was at the Emirates, the player who really showed for us on Saturday and led by example was Cahill. He continually challenged his team mates and screamed at Neville at one point demanding he raise his game. He was all over the park.

The result was down to a great team effort but three players stood out for me Cahill, Fellaini and Heitinga all of whom were superb. Neville had a decent game, no more than that.
Mike Jones
23   Posted 16/01/2010 at 01:50:44

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Neville inspires something in his team. What do i know? I offered my view in October if you track back. He is a leader, like his brother; don’t care if you hate him, he is an alpha male (Google it). That’s life (Sociologists will know).

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