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Why Everton FC skipper Phil Neville is priceless at Goodison Park

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12 Jan 2011 07:00:00

Phil Neville 300 LET'S be clear - losing Phil Neville could have huge significance for Everton. Reports yesterday that talks were advanced between Everton and Tottenham Hotspur concerning a £1.5m transfer to North London, unsettled everyone from the fans to the manager's office, and dressing room at Finch Farm. David Moyes eventually went on the record to say his skipper is not for sale, but it may not be the last word on the affair. It's hard to over-estimate how crucial Neville is to Moyes' squad - but let's have a go anyway, while struggling to avoid the alarmist trap. Initially he is, despite suggestions to the contrary, crucial to how Everton play and win. The statistics are clear - the Blues win more games with Neville in the team. Take this season, Everton have played 24 games in total. They have lost six, drawn 11 and won seven. Neville was missing for half of those defeats, but captained the side in five of the victories. Yes, he can't quite match the creative input of Leighton Baines down the left flank, but defensively, and in terms of retaining possession and leading on the pitch his contribution is second to none. Ironically his two best performances have both come against Harry Redknapp's side when he helped the Blues deal comfortably with the threat of Gareth Bale. After the draw at White Hart Lane, Neville gave me an insight into his ultra professional approach and assiduous preparation he did to face Bale. It was not a one off, in fact he takes that level of intensity in his preparation for every opponent, and as a qualified UEFA coach he is ideally placed to make informed and helpful plans for the entire team.


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