Opta Jury: Phil Neville
By Adam Marshall
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
Has Phil Neville's move to Everton from Manchester United been a success?
When the whistle blew to start Everton's match with Birmingham City last weekend it was a landmark moment for Phil Neville, his 32nd Premiership appearance of the season and a record for the England international in a top-flight season.
Regular first team football was one of the reasons the utility man moved to Goodison Park from Manchester United last summer, and that wish has certainly been fulfilled.
Neville has played almost three times as many minutes of Premiership football this season compared with last and has become an integral part of the Everton side, usually as a midfield terrier.
But time on the pitch is not the only thing that Neville has accrued this season, he has also been a regular entry into referees' notebooks up and down the land. His total of nine yellow cards and two reds is a record for the Bury-born player. Indeed, before this season he had never been sent off in his entire career, but playing for Everton arguably gives a player a slightly reduced margin for error, and he was ordered off in games against Fulham and Liverpool.
A closer examination of the stats reveals that Neville has enjoyed the responsibility given to him by Everton manager David Moyes.
|Player||Phil Neville|| |
|Team||Man Utd 2004-05||Everton 2005-06|
|Minutes On Pitch||1,070||2,857|
|Goal Attempts|| || |
|Shots On Target||1||2|
|Shots Off Target||0||6|
|Passing|| || |
|Pass Completion %||84%||73%|
|Crossing|| || |
|Cross Completion %||33%||23%|
|Defending|| || |
|Tackles Won %||60%||68%|
|Discipline|| || |
Neville has attempted more shots, delivered an impressive total of 101 crosses, improved his tackle success rate and shown willing in all areas of the pitch. Some Toffees supporters were sceptical about the signing but nearly all of them have been won over by Neville's honesty and professionalism.
The one area in which he has declined this season has been pass completion, but this is no great surprise when you examine the overall quality of passing at Manchester United and Everton, 79% and 71% respectively this season.
Seven defeats in their first eight league games and a depressing early exit from the UEFA Champions League meant that Everton's season started in complete disarray. But the club slowly recovered and it is men like Phil Neville who have ensured that there has been no threat of relegation hanging over the Merseysiders in the run-in. He certainly seems like £3.5 million well spent.
What do you think? Has Phil Neville been a hit, a miss or is the jury still out?