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Tough decisions ahead

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One of the biggest problems the England team have had in recent years is the tendency of coaches to pick their best players and then try to fit them into a formation. Lampard and Gerrard do not work in the same side.

Many years ago, Wales had a glut of decent strikers. Too many times they all played.

With a fully fit, squad David Moyes faces the same problem: To be a big team one must be able to keep decent players happy on the bench. How can this be done?

Firstly there is the money option. Pay them a huge amount. Some players will be ok with that. This is an option not obviously open to Everton.

Secondly, look like winning something. In this case the players on the bench have the hope of injury offering them a medal. Not an option immediately available to Everton.

Finally have reasonably well players on the bench who can believe that if one of the first eleven is consistently poor then their chance will come. This should be Everton.

My point is that an average player in the right spot is more effective than a better player in the wrong place.

At Everton the first decision is in goal. In my view, Tim Howard is a decent goalkeeper prone to the odd error. If he was consistently poor then we should see what Mucha can do.

At right back, if Hibbert plays, which in my opinion he should, then Neville plays holding midfield or sits on the bench. As the proper club man he is, then I think he is a good player who will accept that.

Centre back? At the moment it seems to me that it should be Jagielka and Distin. That leaves Hetinga out of position in holding midfield or a quality player on the bench. Would he accept that for any of the reasons I have named? I doubt it very much.

Right midfield we have Vic or Seamus. Seamus nicks it for me and I feel for the immediate future future Vic will accept that.

Pienaar and Arteta must start so that leaves Fellaini or Rodwell for holding midfield; I'd go for Fellaini which leaves DM trying to keep one of the best prospects in the Premier League happy as sub. Will he accept that? Not if United and Chelsea make overtures.

Behind the striker? Cahill or Bily? A tough one but right now it's Cahill. Will Bily accept that? Maybe, at present, for the money.

Up front Yakubu or Saha. Not a problem at the moment. I think fitness will decide that Saha will accept limited games.

So, if Neville never plays gain in central midfield, the same for Heitinga. If Arteta and Osman never play wide right. If Fellaini never plays as a striker. Then, with a fit squad, David Moyes must restrict his often admirable loyalty and make some tough decisions.
Andy Crooks, Belfast     Posted 01/11/2010 at 19:30:58

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Kris Boner
1   Posted 01/11/2010 at 21:54:44

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But mr Crooks, you have forgot Osman... he obviously demands the right midfield berth and neither brimstone nor fire will keep moyes from putting him there, with a fully fit squad.
Ray Robinson
2   Posted 01/11/2010 at 22:02:26

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Cahill or Bily a tough one? Not at the moment!
David Price
3   Posted 01/11/2010 at 22:31:17

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And if we sign Landon?
Good assessment from Andy, again it's in a world of fully fit players.
Agree, best players in the right positions.
John's side i guess has Arteta on the right.
All this leads us back to our pre-season comments about having a bloody good squad and now Moyes hopefully learning from some positional selection errors made early doors this season.
Ciaran Duff
4   Posted 01/11/2010 at 22:40:32

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Andy,
Don't fret. This is Everton mate - there will be an injury crisis just around the corner which will solve our selection issues.
Ben Jones
5   Posted 01/11/2010 at 22:41:49

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To be honest, if we wanna look into the future, then it's obviously Fellaini and Rodwell. Those two would play excellently together.

So I wouldn't mind playing a central midfield 3 with Rodwell, Arteta and Fellaini. Only problem is Cahill is in such a good form, we can't afford to drop him at the moment, even if it affects the long term of our team.

Defence speaks for itself, I would name the same defence every time at the moment. Heitinga will have trouble once Fellaini is fit.

Right wing at the moment is a tough one, but Seamus will do until Jan. Vic can play there, but it really needs to be sorted in Jan or at least the summer.

Left Pienaar is obviously gonna play there. Just hope he doesn't leave. If he does then Billy could prove his worth or maybe Gueye can push up.

Striker is Yakubu no doubt. Said it all along, because even if he doesn't play well, he's still the guy with the best attributes to play as a lone striker. I'm hoping James Vaughan or Vic can succeed him there. They certainly have the talent and attributes, but James Vaughan is still too raw and keeps on getting injured, whilst Vic is as strong as hell and great in the air, does not have the cutting edge and finishing skills like the Yak does.

Keeper is obviously Howard

Looking at the squad now, we certainly have a good spine - especially in centre backs and centre midfield. Just need strengthening on the wings.

Sorry if it's a bit off topic!
Mike Elbey
6   Posted 01/11/2010 at 23:14:05

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To most people our team SHOULD pretty much pick itself with everyone fit.

Howard in goal, Neville right back (because we are better when he plays, fact). Distin gets my vote alongside Jags at centre back, partly because Heitinga is a tosser who will be gone as soon as a better offer comes along, but mainly because he has probably been our best player this season since his nightmare against Man U.

Left back nailed on for Baines. Holding mid Fellaini with Arteta in the middle alongside. Pienaar left and either Vic or Seamus on the right (or please God Landon in a couple of months).

Cahill is playing as well as he has for a few years and has to start as the second striker and the Yak is, as others have said, our best striker at the moment.

There you go, easy. Problem for Moyes is where are Hibbert, Osman and Johnny ? Shit, think I'll have to play a few players out of position to accomodate them ......
Albert Perkins
7   Posted 02/11/2010 at 04:32:57

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Good comments above.
I don't think we can let Heitinger go without a good replacement. What if one of the CB's comes up lame?

Mix and match with Rodwell. Sub him for 45 mins. with whoever is weakest at the time.
He might even fill in for Pienaar. He's the only one with the confidence to shoot from the edge of the box.

If we could only get ahead a few goals we could give Gueye some PL time. I have a feeling about him.

Is there still no real cover for LB? Hard to believe.
John Andrews
8   Posted 02/11/2010 at 07:16:21

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I posted my opinion of team & formation.
Is there a reason it has been removed.
Matthew Lovekin
9   Posted 02/11/2010 at 07:41:21

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Injuries, form, suspensions?

Would you then play an out of form player in his correct position instead of an inform player out of position?
Anthony Hughes
10   Posted 02/11/2010 at 08:01:12

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With a fully fit squad i think i'd have a 4-2-3-1 formation.
Howard in goal.
Neville right back
Jagielka and Disitn centre half
Baines at left back
A two of Fellaini and Rodwell
A three in front of these of Arteta, Cahill and Pienaar.
The Yak up front on his jack.
Keep this formation and when injuries occur bring in the squad players to suit but keep it constant dont move players out of position i.e Fellaini up front, Neville in midfield, Heitinga in mifdfield.
Alan Clarke
11   Posted 02/11/2010 at 10:36:21

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Can someone explain to me what the loyalty is to Hibbert? I honestly can't see with a fully fit squad why he should be anywhere near the team yet I hear on local radio phone ins, on here and other internet forums people crying out for him to be put back into the team.

I don't get it so could someone explain what Hibbert offers? He is by far our worst player so is it just that he is a local lad? Would there be such loyalty towards him if he was from another part of the country?
Tom Winek
12   Posted 02/11/2010 at 10:41:05

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I don't think Rodwell is going to want to spend too much more time on the bench. Especially when he sees players his age playing every week. Henderson, Jarvis, Wiltshire, Jones etc are developing quicker than he is arguably.
Iain Love
13   Posted 02/11/2010 at 11:54:44

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Anthony 10- I like the sound of that formation, but what it does is allow the full backs to bomb forward, curtesy of the two holding midfielders, so i think young mr Coleman would be a better option at right back.
The other thing it does is allow the three behind the striker to interchange and when one of those is out i think Bily might come into his own.
Trevor Lynes
14   Posted 02/11/2010 at 11:57:29

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Its a no brainer..Rodwell must play..Heitinger has expressed a wish to leave so let him....in my opinion we signed the worst Dutch player of a very physical Dutch side...Van Der Vaart is far better.
Rodwell is supposedly part of the future of our national team so he wont be happy if kept bench warming.
He will only improve if given a regular run and I fully agree with Tom in item 12.....unfortunately Moyes is not a chance taker and will probably only use Rodwell as a sub or forced to by injury or suspension....
Tony J Williams
15   Posted 02/11/2010 at 12:03:29

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Alan, it's probably to do with the fact that he is arguably our best "defender", your view that he is the worst player are more probably to do with the fact that the lad can't cross the ball.

He is always overlapping well and he will always give the simple ball and go.

However people seem to think because he is gash going forward he is our "worst player" I can name on one hand, or in fact one finger a full back who is as good going forward as he is defending, Ashley Cole. there is no other full back I know in the premier league who gets forward and puts in decent crosses.

Our own wingers and midfielders can't even do it and they are the supposed specialists at it but because our defender cannot do what our midfielders are also failing to do he is lambasted on here.
Nelaj Behajiha
16   Posted 02/11/2010 at 13:45:53

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Heitenga was excellent at centre back so all this shit aimed at him is riduculous. He lost his place when Jagielka came back and has been shit ever since.
Sean McCarthy
17   Posted 02/11/2010 at 14:07:15

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Tony seems another opportunity to take a pop at Hibbert. Asy yourself who would you prefer at RB....the current England incumbant Glenn Johnson or Hibbo?? I know who Id pick every day of the week!!
Adam Trotario
18   Posted 02/11/2010 at 15:54:41

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Tony, I don't know how anyone who was at the FA Cup Final could ever call Hibbert a good defender in any sense of the term. And it was not just that match. He is mostly awful with rare decent performances and yes he is crap going forward.

Here is an FB who is great going forward (since you asked). Leighton Baines.
Ian Campbell
19   Posted 02/11/2010 at 16:44:17

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Given the current squad if fully fit I would go with;

GK - Howard
DF - Neville (until Coleman improves defensively) Distin, Jagielka and Baines.
MF - Arteta (RM), Rodwell, Fellaini, Cahill (CM's) and Pienaar (LM)
FW - The Yak

subs - Mucha, Heitinga, Saha, Osman, Bily, Coleman, Anichebe


left out - Hibbert, Beckford, Gueye

Obviously Cahill at top of CM triangle just behind the Yak and this would all change depending on Donovan and Pienaar situations. I know Arteta at RM may be a little off but hoping that he could limit the need for Neville to cross the ball seeing as he isn't the best at that!

We'll never have a fully fit squad altogether but i'd rather not see Hibbert play despite how loyal he is... I think that Heitinga has played RB befroe joining Everton too.
Dennis Stevens
20   Posted 02/11/2010 at 16:48:52

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Silly comment Adam, Hibbert had a very good season until injury intervened. At that point Moyes' lack of faith in Jacobsen meant he didn't get much game time & Hibbert was rushed back when clearly not fit. Although not flawless & with some clear limitations, Hibbert is a good & consistent defender, but he was obviously not physically up to it in the Cup Final & I think it was a mistake for Moyes to play him.
Ernie McAllister
21   Posted 02/11/2010 at 17:59:51

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The problem with Everton is clear, dont mollycoddle over these two issues.

1 we have a very poor inept and tactically clueless ginger minger in charge..seriously, we'll never ever win anything under this man. Perhaps we might win the championship when we go down..thats gonna be a fuckin cert with no money.

2 No money equates to going down. face facts once we can't compete against the bottom feeders there is only way we are going.

3 The board need kicking straight out. No ifs and buts. The apologists are one the reasons this club as been mediocre for decades...it doesn't matter we are playing shit, hey were in the prem league..meh

4 I mean seriously..its time to clean house and that means removing the filth and shit that has kept this great club down all these years...starts with the board and ends with Moyse sacking..its simple..but if your british you might want to sit on your arse until its too late.
Brian Waring
22   Posted 02/11/2010 at 18:03:57

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Hibbert may be crap going forward, but IMO he is one of the best right backs in the prem, not many get past him.

Stephen Kenny
23   Posted 02/11/2010 at 18:18:41

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Alan,

If theres a lot of people wanting him back in the side then maybe he's better than you think. I think he's our best riight back. I do however acknowledge that results are generally better when Nev is in the side.
Stephen Kenny
24   Posted 02/11/2010 at 18:24:29

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Ernie if TW start idiot of the week your a shoe-in.
Ian Campbell
25   Posted 02/11/2010 at 18:47:06

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Ernie you said two issues then provided four numbered paragraphs?
A new chairman with money would be nice but you are 100% wrong about Moyes who has snapped up some absolute bargains in Arteta, Cahill, Howard, Jagielka, Lescott, Baines & Pienaar.

We were going nowhere before he joined us and have had a been consistently at the top end of the table when in the 1990's we looked dead certs for relegation.

You dont think Moyes is widely tipped as the replacement for Fergie because he's a crap manager do you?
Tony J Williams
26   Posted 02/11/2010 at 19:09:03

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Adam, what I saw from my seat in Wembley was a not fully fit player with absolutely no protection from the unfit player ahead of him and then booked unfairly which ended his game.

Well in Ernie, clean house and replace everyone with?.......ermmm.........go on then! Enlighten us.
Guy Rogers
27   Posted 02/11/2010 at 20:13:23

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hibbert is the weakest link.....come on lets develop as a footballing side, Barcelona are the template....Hibbert needs to be loaned out to Rochester.....Seamus is the future...i too like the formation stated in comment 10 with two holding midfielders and attacking full backs....billy could thrive in the 3 behind the striker
Guy Rogers
28   Posted 02/11/2010 at 20:27:55

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Tony, how about Ernie from Seaseme Street?
Mike Gwyer
29   Posted 02/11/2010 at 20:46:13

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Ernie (post 21).

Your on the wrong site matey, I know LFC have issues and chatting about relegation is something new, but you sound more than capable of starting a thread about winning the league or something similar. Anyway we know you lot hate the ginger minger but he's ours so stick with woy of the rovers.



John Andrews
30   Posted 02/11/2010 at 21:06:28

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Anthony@10,that is the team i posted last night,for some reason it was removed.
With a fully fit squad it is the only formation that gets Jack & Fellaini in the starting11.
We should be building our team around these 2.

Ian@13. You have got your tactics spot on there mate.It does exactly what you described.
James Flynn
31   Posted 02/11/2010 at 22:12:50

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Guy (27) - "Barcelona are the template". Have no problem with Barcelona as a great team to watch. Don't get them over here, like we do EPL. But watch any time they're on U.S. TV.

But as far as them being a template for EFC to follow, I'd have to watch them thru a 38 game EPL schedule, plus play English football's various national tournaments, plus play Champions League, before I see them as a template.

La Liga, they have to exert full effort for 2 games; Real Madrid. The rest of that league is target practice.

Again, wonderful team to watch, but don't think their 12 OLE passes on the way down the pitch would last long in England before someone got his ankle broken.
Alan Clarke
32   Posted 03/11/2010 at 08:16:07

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I'm sorry but Hibbert isn't even close to being our best "defender". He is all round shite. I know I would prefer Neville against Bale any day of the week instead of HIbbert against Bale.

Hibbert sometimes looks good when last ditch tackling but that's only because his positional play is so poor that players get round him in the first place.

If you remember Hibbert gave away the penalty in the last minute against Spurs last season. In the Clattenburg derby game, Hibbert's poor positioning allowed Liverpool to break which led to him fouling Gerrard for their equaliser. He effectively lost us the Cup Final. So yes Tony Williams, I suppose he is our best defender. Why don't you try watching a game next time he plays. He makes a lot of people inside Goodison very nervous.

Tony J Williams
33   Posted 03/11/2010 at 10:13:51

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What absolute tosh Alan. "He effectively lost us the cup final". One of the most ridiculous comments on here.

He played for 45 minutes and the game was 1-1 when he went off, or are you suggesting that he should have closed down Lampard for their second from the bench.

Such ingrained hatred doesn't half make people talk rubbish.

Oh No! two penalties in 10 years, get shut quick. I mean no-one else on the team has ever done that have they?

Tell you what Alan, next time when I am at Goodison I promise to watch the game with some faux pas hatred and you watch the game with a neutral view and judge him on the actual game not one or two incidents that you cling to like a scared child to his parent's leg.

See what happens.
Ernie McAllister
34   Posted 03/11/2010 at 12:31:47

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Wrong site? lol
I am just putting my view across that I simply don't like the this manager.

I actually want us to win stuff, to be competitive, but lets look at what happened this summer.

Moyse says that this is the best squad he has had at Evertion, yet despite this and knowing we've got problems up front, he then proceeds to bring in a League One player who is clearly not up to the job for which he is signed for?

You can't for one minute think that the man has no faults. One of them is not recognizing the problem up front, the other is demanding to play in places like Australia and the US season after season, instead of trying to get friendlies against the bigger European elite.

I want what is right for Everton Football Club, not second best for which we've had to put up with for decades now.

NSNO used to mean something. I know we'll probably never win the league again until someone comes in and buys us out and tries to do a Man Shitteh... but just paddling water just isn't enough for me. We pay thousands of pounds each new campaign on season tickets at Goodison for the family, and it's hard telling the little ones, who ask me "do you think we'll ever be as big as Man U or Chelsea?" and I tell them we are bigger because we have fabulous history... then they proceed to play like terribly after telling him this.

Once a blue, always a blue ? I just want what is best for our club.
Tony J Williams
35   Posted 03/11/2010 at 13:12:07

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Ernie, it's Moyes not Moyse.

Yes he has plenty of faults but not being able to get that elusive £30m striker to put chances away is something that cannot be placed on his doorstep. That freebie was the only player we could afford.

Pre-Season has no bearing on the season itself, look at the redshite, they play quite a number of "big" teams and have only just gotten out of the bottom three.

Nil Satis Nisi Optimum - Great phrase but means nowt if you don't have the "best" playing at your club.

I want a multi million pound house and Lucy Pinder, Kelly Brook and Sophie Howard as my three wives but just because I want it so bad doesn't mean that quoting a latin phrase at someone will make it happen.
Adam Trotario
36   Posted 03/11/2010 at 14:54:18

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I for one do not understand all the Hibbert love. Neville is better, and Heitinga is better. Hell, John Collins was better when he played there out of position.
Tony J Williams
37   Posted 03/11/2010 at 15:56:55

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It's not Hibbert love Adam, it's just the appreciation of a good all round professional.

Ahhhh, if only we had XI John Collinses in the team, what a great gut busting, loyal team that would be.
Christopher McCullough
38   Posted 03/11/2010 at 18:04:10

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Why is Bily targeted, in particular, as a mercenary? A bit presumptious, wild speculation...??
Dominic Duerden
39   Posted 03/11/2010 at 18:05:14

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Wise words Alan , Hibbert is a crap defender.
Paul Gladwell
40   Posted 03/11/2010 at 19:27:59

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Andy, Phil Neville has to play right back. It's so simple: he gets injured and our defence goes to bits, he comes back and we start keeping clean sheets. The exact same thing happened last year at the start of the season and when he came back I think we went six games without conceding.

Yes, he is not the best right back around but he has something as it proves every time he is in that back four we look tight and secure and since he came back Distin has turned into one of the in-form centre-halves in the country.

Adam Trotario
41   Posted 03/11/2010 at 23:32:11

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Mitch Ward and Carl Tiler were also good all round professionals but they did not belong in the Everton starting XI and neither does Hibbo unless we have an injury problem with Neville and Heitinga and Coleman.
Dennis Stevens
42   Posted 04/11/2010 at 12:49:19

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I think people are too precious about individual players, whether they hate them or love them. Although it's desirable for the squad to be steadily improved & for individual players to be superceded in due course by better, one mustn't lose sight of the fact that football is a team game. If the blend & balance is right, it's quite possible for successful teams to contain quite a number of adequate but rather mediocre players.

Great teams are not necessarily teams of great players, although a sprinkling of greatness may be required to make it to the top of the heap. Indeed, it's not unknown for a team wholly made up of 'stars' to prove itself to be less than the sum of it's parts. The players are important, but no more than the manager & the sort of team he turns them into.

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