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The armband. A changing of the guard?

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StDomingosGringo

Player Valuation: £8m
If a game of two halves is the biggest of footballing cliches then surely expect the unexpected is the biggest cliche attached to Everton Football club. You'd almost be forgiven to expect it scrawled in that invisible ink you had as a kid playing at spies under the beloved Nil Satis of our scared crest.

Oh remember the summer, all that optimism before the latest noveau riche of the Premiership came calling for our goal scoring centre half. The sense of loss tempered by the huge fee and exciting multiple replacements that all of a sudden gave this club a depth of quality those of us in our early thirties have never known in our adult lives. Championship manager buffs struggling to fit all our quality into a formation without 6 midfielders and two up top, bench bristling with experienced pros and talented kids alike. Our injury woes surely behind us and then that invisible motto struck once more.

If 2008/09 was the season of no strikers then the start of 09/10 became the curse of the centre back. Our unsettled backline has persisted to now, less than 10 games left of the season and still for a variety of reasons we are fielding half fit defenders in vital fixtures and wondering why the goals still flow against us.

This is not a post mortum. The season is far from over and a small matter of half a million per placing shouldn't be sniffed at...oh and pride too. We've held unwanted "best of the rest" tag for 2 seasons and while the belt is now surely lost, giving a few lumps out so the eventual victors don't look so pretty in their victory photos wouldn't go amiss.

Despite this thoughts are inevitably drawn to next season now. I doubt I'm alone at hoping we are the quietest club in the forthcoming summer sales. In fact despite being enamoured with a certain Californian I'd be quite happy if nothing happened. No in's, no outs. Yes we've a new keeper and maybe a lower league journeyman striker to pique our interest in a charity shop kind of way but we know any major signings will probably be funded by the loss of the little Saffa or the Birkdale Boy Wonder. No thanks mate, I'll stick with what we've got, but that doesn't mean changes do not need to happen.

But what I would like to see is one statement of intent and one that might seem harsh. The handing of the captains armband from Captain Phil to...erm Captain Phil. Moyes has been accused of having his favourites, players deemed untouchable regardless of form and maybe even the ravages of injury and Father Time but like Weir, Stubbs and Carsley before him maybe it is Phil's moment to step from central figure to valued squad member.

I certain Kopite journo lurker who used to cover our beloved Blues once quoted me saying an injury to Phil was a blessing in disguise. Out of context it seemed unduely harsh on such a seasoned pro and undoubted gentleman. A man who won us sceptics over with his professionalism and genuine understanding of what this club stands for, surely deserved better than vilification by "faceless hacks" such as myself.

However I see now a shadow of his effectiveness of old. His inability to move into forward positions and risk being caught behind the play reminds me of the older fellas all of us amateur cloggers play with. The heart is willing, the brain and passion there as ever but the legs just can't be brought into line.

The modern game asks for modern fullbacks like Leighton Baines, attacking and progressive. Our 451 wingless wonders need the overlap from the full backs even more than the average team. Phil can no longer perform this role on current evidence. Even in slowly built up attacks the stifling of our attacking play from the right can no longer be ignored.

Moyes had made tough calls before, Neville is a fantastic professional and an asset to the club still but he must look around at the squad of Fellaini's, Rodwell's and Coleman's and know his time as a regular is coming to a close just as Cahill's will after him. Let's just hope it's that Ronaldo tackle that's the lasting memory and not the old Champ (and he's got the medals to back up that analogy) getting jeered for his fading skills.

Harvey Dent got it spot on "Either You Die A Hero Or You Live Long Enough To See Yourself Become The Villain."

COYB
 

dixie1928

Player Valuation: £1m
Yup.

Agree with every word.

Heitinga should be asked (Jags is too nice in my view).

If the Heitinga decides it is appropriate for him to be captain, my guess is that the others will bow down and obey.
 

ToxtethBlue

Player Valuation: £70m
If we want to progress then it's got to happen, the likes of Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert need to be phased out of the first eleven and in Neville's case, become a squad player. Manager's have to make bold decisions, and really, we should be looking to use Phil like Alex Ferguson uses the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.

He still has a role to play and I wouldn't take the captaincy of him, but he doesn't have the legs to be our right back anymore and in the middle of the park, his favoured position, we've got the likes of Mikel Arteta and the ever improving Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell.

Whether Seamus Coleman is the man to take over from him, who knows, we haven't seen enough of him to judge. But he's 21 now, Moyes has tipped him for bigger things and it's a position we need to improve in. He's worth and go, and with the season as it is, we should be looking to build for next season.
 

Hayee

Player Valuation: £70m
I disagree about Jags being too nice. He will be our captain for many years to come, he's a born leader and we play better with him in defense. Neville as club captain, Jags as team captain, Jonny as vice captain
 
If we want to progress then it's got to happen, the likes of Phil Neville and Tony Hibbert need to be phased out of the first eleven and in Neville's case, become a squad player. Manager's have to make bold decisions, and really, we should be looking to use Phil like Alex Ferguson uses the likes of Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes and Gary Neville.

He still has a role to play and I wouldn't take the captaincy of him, but he doesn't have the legs to be our right back anymore and in the middle of the park, his favoured position, we've got the likes of Mikel Arteta and the ever improving Marouane Fellaini and Jack Rodwell.

Whether Seamus Coleman is the man to take over from him, who knows, we haven't seen enough of him to judge. But he's 21 now, Moyes has tipped him for bigger things and it's a position we need to improve in. He's worth and go, and with the season as it is, we should be looking to build for next season.
This.
 

Brownie

Player Valuation: £70m
The big question really is his fitness. Since he's come back I don't think he's looked anywhere near as fit as he was pre-injury. As some of our members here will tell you, if you're 33 years old and happen to be forced out of action for a period of time, it is very difficult to get back to the levels you had previously. The injury at Fulham may well be what stops him playing into his late thirties. It's a shame really because his hustle and bustle, his willingness to get up and down was one of his main strengths as a fullback. If you take that away, there isn't much there.

If we were to change captain I'd agree with Jags, he will be a mainstay in the team for years if he sticks around.
 

balggy

Player Valuation: £2.5m
I agree with all of what you say. However the right back position is a major cause for concern. Last season I thought it was a certainty we would see a right back brought in who was in the same mold as leighton Baines. I was in Nottingham when we signed Heitenga. Using my mobile phone to figure what the fuss was all about some posters on GOT were saying he was a right back. I thought this is amazing we are signing a dutch international right back. I was mistaken. But take nothing away from Jonny, he has made that centre back spot his own and I look forward to seeing him and Jags at center back for many years to come.
Unfortunately that leaves us back in the same situation we were last season. We still haven't really addressed the right back issue. Despite Neville and Hibbert being great servants to the club the team is so one sided in attack with Everything of note coming down the left.
Is Coleman the answer? I don't know. From what I have seen from Spurs at Goodison I have been very impressed. He is fast, can keep up with speedy wingers, looks a threat going forward and makes things happen (carlisle). He is also a good tackler from what I have seen. But Moyes obviously thinks he is not quite ready to be starting yet.

So ultimately I still feel the right back slot is essential for the club in the summer, just as it was last summer. The problem is I don't think we have any money without selling players (the same will apply to allot of Premiership clubs this summer.) It's a shame because I don't think we need to spend 18 million on someone like Glen Johnson for the jig saw to complete. We just need 5 or 6 million for that right back spot and I genuinely think the jig saw is pretty much complete. Unfortunately I don't think the club has 5 or 6 million.
 
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R

Richard Parker

Guest
I agree 100%. I've been on the verge of posting a thread about Phil Neville's contribution (or lack of) to our recent run of good form but I refrained because I felt I was being unduly harsh on him. However Gringo summed it up perfectly. Phil Neville just doesn't have the skill-set necessary to play this 4-5-1 formation. He'd be fine with a fast, tricky winger in front of him in a 4-4-2 but when he's called upon to get forward, too often it's a chipped pass to nobody in particular or a pass back to a centre half. Time for Coleman. May as well give him a few games towards the back end of this season too, nothing to lose.
 

Brownie

Player Valuation: £70m
Why bring age into it lad?

Next your gonna be saying he looks fat, bang on you lad.
I'm just telling it as it is mate, I'm sure a lot of the members we have in their thirties will read that and think, "Ain't that the truth". We all know that for people like you it's not relevant, but that doesn't mean it's not true.
 
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