Skip to Main Content
Members:   Log In  |  Sign Up
NewsRumoursReportsVideoTalking PointsArticles
Text Size:  A  A  A
Season 2011-12
The Mail Bag

Where's our Number 10?

 38 Comments: First  |  Last

Every top team in any league around the world has a "Number 10" or what we like to call a playmaker. Tim Cahill has got the "in the hole" job, he has had this role for many a year and, to his credit, has been an excellent servant of our club; however, it's time for a change.

So what's required of a "playmaker"?

I believe the playmaker should be able to dictate play in the final third of the pitch; a player who can find space in behind their holding midfielder; a player who can spot a killer ball and execute it; a player who can shoot from distance and score up to 10 goals per season... sounds difficult right? Well, most playmakers cost a fortune, so let's look to what we have:

Osman ? poor shot, slow, inconsistent and goes missing; however, decent feet and an eye for a pass.

Rodwell ? we've all seen how well he played for England: elegant, decent shot, and can pick a pass; however he goes missing and has injury problems.

Barkley ? I'd like to see the lad play the last 9 games in this role; two good feet, great vision, good strike, unpredictable.

Pienaar ? another one I'd like to see given this chance; last night he was excellent.

Drenthe ? pace, great strike, can beat a man, unpredictable; it would also reduce the demands of tracking back.

I believe we have the players to be creative, but will Moyes ever try any of the above on a regular basis? Or will he resort to putting our best defensive midfielder in the hole and pumping long balls? It's so frustrating, isn't it?

Sean McKenna, Ireland     Posted 22/03/2012 at 11:36:41

back Return to the Mail Bag  :  Add your Comments back


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

Aiden Jones
778   Posted 22/03/2012 at 12:27:28

Report abuse

Why would you play Barkley there ? What evidence is there he is suited to the role. The so called number 10 position is only played by a few teams ... those that have highly skilled players suitable to that role. Many play a man just behind the striker but he as much an extra midfielder as an attacker ... not what would be classed as a number 10.
Why not play another striker ...especially at home.
Anthony Lewis
779   Posted 22/03/2012 at 12:23:02

Report abuse

I think aside from Pienaar, none of the above could fill that role. And even in Pienaar, I don't think he's quite good enough to be that type of player.

Osman: Although i like the lad. I just don't understand where he gets this "creative player" tag. He just pops up with the odd goal. For me doens't really do much else.

Rodwell: Certainly not a creative midfielder. Good on the ball yes, strong with the ball yes. Can he pick a pass, can he feck. He'd rather pass it backwards. I see him as a centre half. Rio Ferdinand-esque, but probably better.

Barkley: I know everyone goes on about the lad. How he should be given more of chance and how he should now be playing every game cos he's our saviour. But he's simply not ready. Anyone who has seen him play can see this. Is he going to be a talent? I've absolutely no doubt. The kid is going to be class. But his problem at the moment is naivety. That time spent out with his quadruple, triple double, knee, shin and thigh bone break has done him no favours.

Drenthe: Quick and can shoot with power we've not seen at Goodison since Kanchelskis. But for me that is all he has at the moment. And his attitude and his age (yes I know he's 24, but he's lost a lot of learning the game though his time at Real, by basically being a dick and thinking he's a superstar). I'm not saying he should track back. But he seems to fins the simple things really hard and some of his decision making is awful.

This is where we miss Arteta.
Chris Fisher
786   Posted 22/03/2012 at 12:46:58

Report abuse

We miss the the version of Arteta before his injury against Newcastle; the version after that never got close to the old version. Last night he was just a moaning prick.
Nick Entwistle
788   Posted 22/03/2012 at 12:58:31

Report abuse

If you have Fellaini and Gibson in the middle, with wingers and a Barkley type behind the main striker its essentially a 4-2-3-1 which Moyes has used this year. Its the only way forward for me.
Trevor Lynes
795   Posted 22/03/2012 at 14:07:14

Report abuse

I agree with you Chris about Arteta..even at the Arsenal he still tends to keep it easy with short sideways and backwards passes that do not really create shooting opportunities...I would say that he is a 'tidy' player but certainly not creative as he once was prior to his injury.

Moyes has promised to play Barkley this season and he has the opportunity to do so as we are pretty safe in the league.
I would definitely try him with decent players with strength around him ie; Fellaini and Gibson.
He can always be subbed if it is not working out.

If a youngster is good enough he should be given a chance and now is the time to bring in some new youngsters as we dont seem to have the money to buy a ready made player who is of top quality.

This is the time to leave out Neville and Cahill and put them on the bench, Im sure they would benefit and prolong their careers if kept for cameo roles.
Sean McKenna
797   Posted 22/03/2012 at 14:13:23

Report abuse

Aiden... Barkley started two games and got Man of the Match twice, he then had a bad game and Moyes has dumped him out of the team!! Why have McFadden on the bench when we all no he is only a short term option, why not have a talented youngster instead?

As for the 2 strikers shout, it is ridiculous! Who will supply them? When we do play with 2 strikers it turns to hoofball because our balance in midfield is shite. The point is Aiden would any of the be more creative than Cahill... that's the real question.
Dan McKie
800   Posted 22/03/2012 at 14:24:52

Report abuse

Dont forget our number 10 would need to also be able to control and bring down 50 yard punts first.
Danny Broderick
801   Posted 22/03/2012 at 14:13:05

Report abuse

I don't think we are necessarily lacking a Number 10, we are lacking creation in general. To play with a Number 10 just off a striker is one way of doing it. We could also play 4-5-1 with 2 out-and-out wingers pushed forward supporting the striker (like Chelsea, Man City etc, as opposed to us having Coleman on one side and Pienaar on the other). We could also play with 2 strikers against inferior opposition.

The trouble is, I don't think Moyes would buy this type of player even if he had a £50 million war chest this summer. I think he would still go for a team of runners. He might sign some better quality players who put in a shift also, but I don't think he would ever buy a Berbatov to play as a Number 10, for example, or a Daniel Sturridge to play as an advanced winger, simply because he doesn't trust them.

My own opinion on Cahill is that he still has a lot to offer, but he will have to adapt to a deeper role now. The last year has shown that he cannot get on the end of things in the box like he used to. The same thing happened to Scholes at United, and while Cahill is not as good as Scholes technically, his game has always been about getting into the box, a bit like Scholes was. He can still get stuck in, win headers in midfield, and be a niggly little player in the middle of the park, and also be a threat from set pieces, but his days of getting 10 to 15 goals a season are numbered.
Stephen Kenny
805   Posted 22/03/2012 at 14:48:33

Report abuse

Some nonsense spouted already on here. Nobody has said Barkley should play every week and he's our saviour. Just a young lad with a lot of promise who has shown he has some of the attributes this team is missing.

IMO he's the only player with the ability to play a no.10 style role in full that we've got on our books. One thing against him is that young players are consistently inconsistent.

If I were Moyes I'd give him a chance at home and bring Cahill back in for aways. We haven't got much to play for league wise anyway.

Of the others Pienaar doesn't score enough. Osman is out of form at the minute and Cahill can still be effective but if we want him here in a year or two, which I do, he will need to be managed carefully. I don't think he is.
James Stewart
809   Posted 22/03/2012 at 15:22:06

Report abuse

We have no one who can be called a playmaker. Pienaar could possibly do it if he had a better end product. Barkley who knows! Wasn't even on the bench so no chance of seeing him there. Drenthe is too stupid to be a Number 10.
Steve Cotton
820   Posted 22/03/2012 at 15:26:38

Report abuse

some great no 10's floating around the prem who would be pretty cheap in my book.
David Dunn, David Hoilett, Andrew Surman, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Victor Moses.

and players that may be heading in the wrong direction come and of the season, Al Habsi, James McArthur, Matthew Jarvis, Sam Ricketts, Peter Odenwingie???, Steven Fletcher
ok probably below what we expect as EFC fans, but our top scorer this season is Anichebe and Drenthe with 4 each for Christ sake...
Mike Oates
833   Posted 22/03/2012 at 17:45:55

Report abuse

The combination I would like to see given a chance would be a 4:2:3:1 , with the following team
Hibbert Heitinga Distin Baines
Fellaini Gibson
Drenthe Barkley Pinnear

The poor defensive work of Drenthe , the naivety of Barkley would be overcome by the Fellaini and Gibson base.
Sam Hoare
837   Posted 22/03/2012 at 18:29:38

Report abuse

I think Barkley is probably the natural sucessor to this role but is too regularly injured at the moment to build up the form that would get him back in the first team.

There is no doubt in my mind that Cahill, legend that he is, does not do enough to deserve a place in the team where he is.

There is also no doubt that movement and getting players forward quickly is a huge problem. I believe most players in our team are capable of a good pass but to create that space you need a little movement.

For that reason i would play Pienaar in that role. He is always on the move and finding little pockets of space and has good enough feet and touch to take the ball and move it on quickly.

But any playmaker will only be able to function with people making appropriate runs around him. Play David Silva in our team at the moment and he would struggle to pick up assists. Except on set pieces maybe.
Gavin Ramejkis
838   Posted 22/03/2012 at 18:43:42

Report abuse

Sam the thing is as far as I can see Barkley isnt injured and hasn't been injured for some time, similarly Velios, they have fallen off the face of the planet as far as the bench is concerned despite both having reasonable games away from the first team they are nowhere to be seen.

Pienaar plays the central role for his national side and does a reasonble job there but that leaves a gap in front of Baines which hasn't been filled since he left for Spurs
Sam Hoare
840   Posted 22/03/2012 at 18:53:42

Report abuse

Gavin, Barkley was not in the reserves this week nor in the first team nor with the kids. I can only assume therefore that he is injured.

I've seen Vellios for the reserves a few times and IMO he doesn't work quite hard enough. Should maybe have place on the bench but Denis has done enough to get it before him.

As for Pienaar, I quite liked Coleman playing in front of Baines vs Spurs and swapping wings with Drenthe. Anything that encourages movement!!
Phil Brown
842   Posted 22/03/2012 at 18:53:18

Report abuse

Barkley is a natural fit for the No 10 role. I've seen him a few time this season, and whilst it's not been at first team level, he would still provide what we're missing for the last 30 mins of a game.

He was dropped because he gave the ball away in deep midfield positions as he's prone to do but it wouldn't matter on the edge of the opposition box. The advantages would outweigh the disadvantages.

Moyes is clinging to the glory years but Timmy can't do it anymore and hasn't for the last 12 months or so.

Both Moyes and Cahill need to move on at the end of the season.
Phil Brown
843   Posted 22/03/2012 at 19:09:31

Report abuse

Further to my last post I would say that both Barkley and Vellios are demotivated when they play for the reserves.

I saw Barkley ambling back against Liverpool when they had the ball but when he got the ball he left them for dead. That would drive Moyes mad!
Gavin Ramejkis
844   Posted 22/03/2012 at 19:06:46

Report abuse

The OS only has three injuries on it and Barkley isnt one of them, only recently Moyes was talking about using him towards the end of the season now its all gone quiet, we get news about Rodwell's injury, news about Coleman's injury, news about Gibson's injury, nothing about Barkley who is named in the senior squad (its only a list of 32 and some of those are scraping the barrel as it is)
Sam Hoare
845   Posted 22/03/2012 at 19:23:21

Report abuse

To be fair Gavin...not uncommon for players to have injuries and us to hear no official news on it. My guess is its probably only a niggle.
Gavin Ramejkis
846   Posted 22/03/2012 at 19:28:08

Report abuse

Coleman was played with a "niggle" that just got worse. Velios should be on the bench over Anichebe.
Andy Callan
848   Posted 22/03/2012 at 19:36:07

Report abuse

Hang on a minute; wasn't Fellaini - our record signing of ALL FUCKIN' TIME - bought as someone that would bring creativity to our midfield, in an attacking sense.....?!?!?!?

The fact that you don't mention him in this respect says it all to me....

Good players can play anywhere on the pitch; it's as simple as that. We haven't got enough (if at all any) in this mould I'm afraid.

City's squad cost £400m and ours probably cost 10% of that, which also speaks a thousand words.

Fuck it - it's Friday tomorrow....
Andy Crooks
850   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:00:35

Report abuse

Sean, McFadden isn't any sort of option at all. His addition to the wage bill was nothing more than ineptitude.
David Gunning
855   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:26:24

Report abuse

It's only watching how Timmy has struggled this year you realise how important he has been to the fortunes of this club in the previous seven seasons. Finding a replacement whilst shopping in the bargain basement will be nigh-on impossible.

So inevitably age and mileage has caught up with him but for me he will always be an Everton legend up there with Dunc, Andy Gray, Reidy et al.

It's easy to snipe given his poor form this year but I've never seen him give less than 100% and for that and all the great moments, the corner flags punched across the country, I will never get on his case. He is our football club personified.
Keith Glazzard
856   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:22:58

Report abuse

Love Hibbo, but Drenthe would be unleashed on the right if he had Baines with him there too. Neville is no improvement. We need to upgrade in this position.

Pienaar has class as well as speed and strength and should form our nucleus with Fellaini and, from what I've seen of him, the steady Mr Gibson.

Love Timmy too, but he can't be our future. He might still be able to play up to support Jelavic, as could Osman or Rodwell. Barclay? I've only seen all his games at Goodison so I don't know.

We need the strongest squad we can get, but I think we already have better quality than we are using in the most productive way.
Keith Glazzard
858   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:41:06

Report abuse

Barclay? Sorry Ross, and I've never been one of their customers either. Perhaps my subconscience is telling me that its Barclays we need more than anything else. Certainly a few bob here or there couldnt do too much harm.
Al Reddish
859   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:42:35

Report abuse

I am suprised you missed the obvious choice. We have, on our books, a fine athlete, possibly the fittest and fastest player outside the top 6 teams. (Barring injury). He is still young, can pick a pass, has played in Europe (in fact is very high up in the Everton top scorers in Europe charts!), an international who is reveered in his adoptive country and is currently our top scorer this season. Rumours of a bidding war between Man. City and Chelsea surfaced earlier this month and if sold ould bring in a hefty wedge for the manager to rebuild. Step forward our new number 10............Victor Anichebe.
Derek Thomas
860   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:42:03

Report abuse

Aiden778; where's the evidence he can etc etc. Well where's the evidence he can'
t?? a total none arguement.

We will never know until A or B or C is played there. In fact until the Moyes cautious ethos is removed from the Squad, that style of play will never even be attempted so putting up this name and that name is moot

Moyes is the problem ( yes I know all the justifications aka excuses, steadied the ship, be careful what you wish for, players sold out from under, no money blah fuckin blah ) his good points have got us where we are, his bad points stop us from getting the full worth out of the squad we have.

Nothing will change to any great extent while Moyes is here. And he is here until He or Bill decide different.
Sean McKenna
863   Posted 22/03/2012 at 20:57:22

Report abuse

I'm glad this has turned into a Barkley debate; let's stat some facts.

? Rio Ferdinand stated Barkley is one of the best talents he has seen.

? Tim Cahill stated Ross is the best prospect he has ever seen.

? Two Man of the Match awards in his first two Premier League games.

? England Under-19 Man of the Match.

I'm sick to the teeth of bleeding youngsters... if they are good enough they are old enough. Look at Wilshere... if Moyes had him, would he get half the games he gets at Arsenal? Would he hell.

It's a myth that young players get a chance at Everton... it took months of fans chanting for Coleman to get played ? fact!! Let the lad loose, we have nothing to lose and everything to gain. if he plays shite, fair enough; let him have 10 games see how he goes.

We know one thing for sure: that Cahill is getting past his best. I think Tim should be given a super-sub coaching role at the club.
Eric Myles
884   Posted 23/03/2012 at 01:09:15

Report abuse

Anthony #779 "I know everyone goes on about the lad. How he should be given more of chance and how he should now be playing every game cos he's our saviour."

The exact same thing has been said about Coleman (after 1 game), Velios (after 1 game), Strac (after 1 game), Rodwell, Drenthe, Gueye, Jelavic.
Anthony Jones
885   Posted 23/03/2012 at 01:00:19

Report abuse

This "Barkley is injured / isn't good enough" sentiment is utter shit. Osman and Cahill have been so poor recently in an attacking sense that any manager worth his salt would have given Barkley at least 20 minutes by now.

Jesus Christ, there are so-called Everton fans on here spouting Moyes rhetoric with aplomb. Where have your brains gone? It is illogical in the extreme to state that a creative player is too naive to play when he is an England U-21 international, and has received multiple glowing reports from people within the professional game.

And Vellios is said to be not trying hard enough? I'm not fucking surprised! He couldnt make the bench when he was our top scorer? Playing for the reserves is shit once you've tasted first team matches.

Moyes's love-in with his old favourites actually makes me feel sick. Phil Neville's brown-nosing is abhorrent. Worst of all, I now look out for blackburn's results because I want Yak to rub his sale in Gollum's face. Boring, boring Everton.
Eric Myles
910   Posted 23/03/2012 at 06:58:56

Report abuse

^Anthony, 14 goals this season in the league
Vinod Kumar
943   Posted 23/03/2012 at 10:38:37

Report abuse

IMHO we already have a playmaker. It's just how we can develop the style to suit him.
I still don't understand why are we still talking about the diamond formation of attacking midfielder or the midfield general/playmaker combination.
Tactics in midfield has evolved for the past few seasons. Who we really need Right Now is someone who can dictate the passage of play in central midfield not a playmaker who provides the killer through pass to the forwards.
And we have moved on with this new formation like what Chris has rightly pointed out.
It's just a matter of who is going to take the mantle and provide that sort of control in a four-man or a 5-man midfield.
Arteta and Xavi Alonso started out as playmakers, but eventually they took over new responsibilities in midfield, Essien was supposedly provide support to Lampard,but over the years he too has moved in to the new role, We have Fellaini, but we might have someone in our ranks to partner him. If not, we can always revert back with an Anchorman.
Tom Bowers
953   Posted 23/03/2012 at 12:00:50

Report abuse

One of the big reasons Everton are not much better now than they were before Moyes came is that he continues to make big mistakes and rigidly sticks to his tried and failed system of one striker. That only works when you have a solid supporting midfield that can add goals.
This season is a disaster in that area with only 28 in 29 games.
How many Prem.goals have messrs.Osman,Fellaini Drenthe,Coleman and dare we say Cahill scored between them this season?
Even with available funds over his tenure Moyes has not bought the right players and we continue to struggle even at Goodison against lower teams.
Is this success BK?
After tomorrow and Tuesday what next,a knighthood?
Mike Allison
052   Posted 23/03/2012 at 22:29:48

Report abuse

Pienaar's clearly the man for this job, we had him, Drenthe and Donovan at the club together for about four weeks and never played that formation. The poll results from the home page show how far away we are from a consensus on this happening - 4% for Pienaar while Stracqualursi has about 16-18%. I reckon I know people as good as him. One heroic, journeyman, effort-based performance doesn't make him a quality player.
Dean Adams
057   Posted 23/03/2012 at 23:03:40

Report abuse

Mike Allison

The question was who should be the regular starter behind Jelavić. Why you would put Pienaar there instead of on the left, where he is part of a strong and formidable partnership with Baines, baffles me.

The Straq, for all his limitations, can actually hold up the ball and find a pass when one does not look possible. When played in this role he actually plays to his strengths which I believe makes us a better team.
Rob Pryor
112   Posted 24/03/2012 at 09:43:47

Report abuse

Really good post.

For me, to play in that 'number 10' role, you need quick feet, vision/awareness/ability to pick an incisive pass and to know where the goal is.

I'd be willing to try any of Pienaar, Osman or Barkley in the roll but would favour either of the latter two.

Timmy has been a great servant and has a lot more awareness than some people give him credit for (that ball into Drethe for the goal that never was against the Arse was quality), but I think it's time to try something different.
Drew O'Neall
119   Posted 24/03/2012 at 10:26:12

Report abuse

What does Straq have to do to get a game or even a bloody mention???

He's burst his lungs for the side and got at least three standing ovations.. Then the man manager has replaced him.

Forget the number 10.. We play the long ball game anyway. Bang it up to Straq and Jel like the good old days, Osman, Drenthe, Cahill etc will get plenty from the insuing chaos in the opponent's box.
Andrew Ellams
347   Posted 24/03/2012 at 21:27:30

Report abuse

For me a number 10 needs to be a creative striker who has the ability to beat a man and bring the ball from deeper, ie Rooney, Bergkamp, Zola or Beardsley. Not a guy who used to be quite good and scoring headers from corners like Cahill. Anybody know where we can find one on the cheap, Hoilett from Blackburn is probably the best bet right now.

Add Your Comments

In order to post a comment to the MailBag, you need to be logged in as a registered user of the site.

Log in now

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.

© ToffeeWeb

About these ads

Latest News

Bet on Everton and get a deposit bonus with bet365 at

Recent Articles

Talking Points & General Forum

Pinned Links


We use cookies to enhance your experience on ToffeeWeb and to enable certain features. By using the website you are consenting to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.