Sir Philip Carter so right to praise Everton skipper Phil Neville

By Barry Horne on Oct 31, 09 09:43 AM in Columnists

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SIR PHILIP CARTER paid a glowing tribute to Phil Neville in yesterday's Echo and rightly so.

The Everton skipper has been missed while he's been out and the sooner he's back the better.

Neville spoke out in the wake of our Carling Cup exit on Tuesday night. He expressed his obvious disappointment and spoke openly about his feelings during a difficult time, but he also praised his team-mates for doing their utmost in testing circumstances.


Another player deserving of great respect is Tim Cahill, who because of the severe injury crisis and the strengths and weaknesses of the 11 men still standing has been playing out of position.

He's been asked to sacrifice the best part of his own game for the good of the team and has done so without complaint.

Many players like to play 'off the frontman' or as an attacking midfielder in a five-man midfield because they are a little short in one or more departments.

Either they lack pace, physical presence, athleticism or passing ability etc to play as one of two in central midfield.

However, that's not the case with Cahill. He plays just off the striker or as an attacking midfielder because he's one of the best at it in the Premier League.

In recent weeks, injuries have meant he's been asked to play a more disciplined role in the centre which he has done more than adequately.

Last Sunday I saw him play wide on the left and that's a role he repeated in midweek. It's a role many players find difficult and don't enjoy.

But, typically, Cahill just got on with it and gave it his best shot.

His commitment to the cause was highlighted at Bolton when late on in the game he sprinted 60 metres chasing a lost cause to keep the ball in play.

Cahill has been an inspiration to Everton for many years, but now he's setting an example of a different kind with the way he's doing what's best for the team.

Cahill might not be showing the sparkling form we know he's capable of, but he's setting a fantastic example to the rest of selflessness.

Blues need to find a way past Dunne

IT'S been a traumatic week for everyone connected with Everton with three defeats very different in nature.

Away to Benfica we were heavily beaten as our full-backs were exposed and bad defending cost us.

At Bolton we started poorly, probably due to the late return from Portugal, but showed great character to come back only to concede a late winner.

At Spurs we were never really in the game as a third match in six days took its toll.

Only when we look back in six months will we be able to put those defeats in context but I'm confident it will be just another difficult period which Everton came through and progressed.

The psychological damage caused is a concern and David Moyes' biggest task is to maintain confidence and morale within a fantastic group of players.

A victory over Aston Villa today would make that job a lot easier. If that's going to happen we have to start well and the fans can play their part by really getting behind the players.

To break this losing run the Blues will need to find a way past an Everton old boy and former team-mate of mine who is in outstanding form.

After serving Man City superbly, Richard Dunne has flourished since moving to Villa and has been producing the goods at both ends of the pitch.

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