When a new manager arrives, there is always likely to be one or two players who suddenly find themselves no longer in favour with the new regime. Unfortunately Tony Hibbert finds himself in this position, with the Everton veteran of 300 plus matches, turning out for the u21 side in midweek due to his lack of involvement with the first team squad.
Tony Hibbert epitomised the David Moyes regime, hardworking, industrious and 100 percent commitment guaranteed. Hibbert was the only player to outlast David Moyes Everton tenure, playing in the first match of the Moyes era in the 2-1 win over Fulham and then appearing as a late substitute in Moyes’ final match, the 2-0 win over West Ham.
But now he finds himself very much on the outside looking in. Hibbert has made a solitary appearance under Roberto Martinez and that was in the Capital One Cup tie with Stevenage. Hibbert was one of eight changes made by Martinez, as the new Spanish manager rested a host of players for the Premier League. Hibbert would have hoped to be involved in the cup throughout the season, but perhaps his standing in the squad was made crystal clear, when Martinez choose to leave Hibbert out the match day squad altogether when the Blues travelled to Fulham for the third round tie.
Martinez’ first choice right back is Seamus Coleman and rightly so, with the Irishman performing consistently at a very high level. Coleman possess so much more than Hibbert, offering Everton an attacking dimension on the right hand side, something that was always sadly missing from Hibbert’s game. His record of 316 Everton games with no goals scored is a Premier League record for an outfield player, but this should not be used to diminish what an effective player Tony Hibbert has been for Everton over the last decade.
There is no one in the English game who tackles better than the Huyton born defender. Whether it is a last gasp challenge or an early enforcer, an opposition winger will certainly know when they come up against Tony Hibbert. Despite never receiving a sniff of a call up to the England squad, Hibbert has built himself an excellent reputation and has used his experience and knowhow to better many high quality international class players.
So, what next for Tony Hibbert? The title of the article, mischievously hints at a move to Manchester United and a reunion with David Moyes. Although that move is unlikely, Hibbert faces two options if he wishes to extend his playing career. His first and likely option is to remain at Everton as understudy to Seamus Coleman, ensuring he is available should the need arise. He remains a solid and dependable understudy and although his style of play does not fit perfectly with Martinez, he is a good reliable squad player. Alternatively, Hibbert may decide to seek pastures new. He would be an excellent signing for a Championship club looking to push for promotion to England’s elite league. Whatever Tony Hibbert decides, he will always be welcome at Goodison Park.