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Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Everton’s No10 - Best Premiership player never to be fully capped?


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Mikel Arteta is the most creative player on Everton’s books. He was blessed with over-generous helpings of footballing ability but then that is a pre-requisite for F.C. Barcelona trainees. It still ceases to amaze that his International career never passed the infancy stage.     

The Spanish playmaker was out of action for almost a year with knee ligament damage but his return from injury has coincided with the Toffee’s late charge towards a European place. His six entire ninety-minute appearances reflect two assists and three goals at the tail end of this season. 

Who wouldn’t want him? Spanish boss Vicente Del Bosque for one, or indeed any of those who went before him. It seems strange that Arteta has never earned a senior Spanish cap. The five-year-residency rule would now allow him to represent England but the player seems non-plussed.  

David Moyes only enhanced his own shrewd reputation in the transfer market by bringing Arteta to Goodison in 2005 and surely Arteta would profit any team in the top flight, even those in the coveted top four.

Cesc Fabregas must be considered one of the Spanish midfielders partly responsible for Arteta’s banishment to the international wilderness. So its only for a younger, fitter model, who has already attained Emirates legendary status that Arteta would not make Arsenal’s first team.   

Following Manchester United’s Champions League disappointment against Barcelona last May, the grace and swagger of Pep Guardiola’s midfield poked fun at the deficiencies in United’s equivalent’s.     

This season though Darren Fletcher has started all but seven league games for Utd and along with the Ji-Sung Park, (who is finally earning some recognition), Sir Alex Ferguson has found his big match players. The aforementioned are not generally noted for their creativity but they play solid roles in a winning unit.

But with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs fighting the unstoppable process of age, Arteta could surely slip in with minimal fuss.

Chelsea’s European exit indicated that their squad needs some revitalisation. As much inspiration as Frank Lampard delivers maybe too much responsibility rests on his shoulders. Arteta’s style would suit Carlo Ancelotti’s and vice-versa.

Rafael Benitez doesn't even play the £20m playmaker he made such a fuss about signing so discussing the red side of merseyside just wastes breath.

There are very few, if any, English teams who would not offer Arteta a job. It seems quite bizarre then that he has not fully represented his country - and probably never will.

The fact that Arteta has never really got the chance to even flirt with the international scene, as well as being criminal, mainly indicates the calibre of player Spain already have at their disposal. 

But it cannot detract from the amount of talent Everton have in their uncapped No10, football can sometimes defy logic.


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Paul O'Meara

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