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:
- 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.)
- 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.
- 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?
Note: the following content is not moderated or vetted by the site owners at the time of submission. Comments are the responsibility of the poster. Disclaimer
1 Posted 25/04/2010 at 23:57:43
2 Posted 26/04/2010 at 00:08:40
3 Posted 26/04/2010 at 00:27:54
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.
4 Posted 26/04/2010 at 01:12:34
5 Posted 26/04/2010 at 03:50:12
6 Posted 26/04/2010 at 06:30:42
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.
7 Posted 26/04/2010 at 08:42:11
8 Posted 26/04/2010 at 09:32:40
9 Posted 26/04/2010 at 09:38:43
10 Posted 26/04/2010 at 09:48:50
11 Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:25:50
12 Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:26:40
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....
13 Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:37:45
A natural-born leader by all accounts.
14 Posted 26/04/2010 at 11:29:43
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.
15 Posted 26/04/2010 at 12:45:54
16 Posted 26/04/2010 at 12:46:41
17 Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:14:35
18 Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:14:35
19 Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:06:19
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.
20 Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:34:20
I also Think Ossie would make a good captain!!!!!!!!!
21 Posted 26/04/2010 at 13:42:53
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!
22 Posted 26/04/2010 at 14:28:15
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!
23 Posted 26/04/2010 at 14:03:00
24 Posted 26/04/2010 at 15:08:32
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?)
25 Posted 26/04/2010 at 15:37:26
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.
26 Posted 26/04/2010 at 17:20:48
27 Posted 26/04/2010 at 17:24:24
It's his fault we are going to be without a captain.
(Johny H for me)
28 Posted 26/04/2010 at 19:33:48
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.
29 Posted 26/04/2010 at 20:02:46
30 Posted 26/04/2010 at 20:40:31
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.
31 Posted 27/04/2010 at 01:01:58
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.
32 Posted 27/04/2010 at 00:52:37
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.
33 Posted 27/04/2010 at 08:44:27
34 Posted 27/04/2010 at 12:13:55
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.
35 Posted 27/04/2010 at 15:42:53
36 Posted 27/04/2010 at 20:41:25
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...
37 Posted 28/04/2010 at 16:18:51
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.
38 Posted 29/04/2010 at 00:30:45
39 Posted 29/04/2010 at 03:19:56
40 Posted 30/04/2010 at 10:34:19
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.
Add Your Comments
In order to post a comment to Fan Articles, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.
Or Sign up as a ToffeeWeb Member — it's free, takes just a few minutes and will allow you to post your comments on articles and MailBag submissions across the site.