David Moyes’s reputation received yet another dent yesterday when Kevin Sheedy, youth coach at his former club Everton, accused the under-fire Manchester United manager of showing little interest in the club’s academy during his time at Goodison Park and suggested the Merseysiders were better off without him.
After the mocking “David Moyes is a football genius” banner paraded by Liverpool supporters during their team’s 3-0 victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Sunday, a rather more damaging barb was directed at Moyes by Sheedy, a significant figure in Everton’s highly regarded youth system.
Sheedy, the former Everton and Republic of Ireland midfielder now in charge of the club’s Under-18 side, took to Twitter to declare: “All of you out there Moyes was never interested in our youth team or players. In my seven years Moyes showed no interest in our youth team.”
Sheedy went on to echo a view shared by a sizeable number of Goodison regulars that Moyes’s naturally cautious mindset impacted not just on his use of youngsters but his tactics, too. “We now have a manager who wants to win games,” Sheedy tweeted about Roberto Martinez.
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3 player ratings
Manchester United 0 Liverpool 3 player ratings
1/24 David de Gea 6/10
Nowhere near any of the three penalties. Slightly made amends with a late stop from Suarez from close range, but then beaten again minutes after
2/24 Rafael 5/10
Lucky to remain on the pitch for the second period after an ugly tackle on Gerrard and then handball for the first penalty. Offered little in attack, too
3/24 Phil Jones 4/10
Confused by the movement of Sturridge, who ran rings around him. Recklessly charged out like a bull in a china shop to concede the second penalty.
4/24 Nemanja Vidic 3/10
Unlucky for second yellow for lunge at Sturridge, but, like most of his team-mates, looked well off the pace. His Italian retirement home awaits
5/24 Patrice Evra 4.10
Endured a painful afternoon. Could not cope with the pace of Sterling and Sturridge – and had to deal with pair on his own with little help from Mata
6/24 Juan Mata 4/10
Alienated on the wing, and did not track back to help Evra at all, constantly leaving space for Liverpool to exploit – which they did.
7/24 Marouane Fellaini 3/10
Had some success with interceptions early on, but, like Carrick alongside him, was run ragged as the game wore on. Another lacklustre display.
8/24 Michael Carrick 4/10
Pulled apart by the movement of Liverpool’s midfield. Could have conceded a fourth penalty with clumsy foul on Sturridge late on as well.
9/24 Adnan Januzaj 5/10
A couple of bursts forward made it look like he could provide the spark for United, but grew more and more anonymous, and timid.
10/24 Wayne Rooney 6/10
Had United's only real chance, when his powerful effort was saved by Mignolet.
11/24 Robin van Persie 5/10
Cut a frustrated figure. Struggled to get in the game and kept turning away from goal into blind alleys whenever he got a sniff of the ball.
12/24 Best of the bench: Danny Welbeck 4/10
Replaced the ineffective Januzaj with 15 minutes remaining, and although a willing runner, he chased shadows like his demoralised team-mates.
13/24 Simon Mignolet 7/10
Impressive stop from Rooney’s driven effort was the only time he was called upon. Then just watched the masterclass like everyone else
14/24 Glen Johnson 7/10
The right-back put in a solid shift, although was hardly in the thick of it such was United’s tame attacking. Did everything that was asked of him well
15/24 Martin Skrtel 7/10
The busier of Liverpool’s centre-back pairing, sticking close to Van Persie. But he struggled at times when Rooney decided to power into the box.
16/24 Daniel Agger 7/10
Beaten too easily by some early breaks from Rooney, but the Danish defender was comfortable for the majority of the match.
17/24 Jon Flanagan 7/10
Clattered about early on in the match but did not give Januzaj or Rafael any joy at all in a no-nonsense performance from the 21-year-old.
18/24 Steven Gerrard 9/10
Ended the match with a nose bleed as Liverpool entered nose-bleed territory in deserved fashion. A quite brilliant performance from the captain
19/24 Joe Allen 8/10
Usual great distribution of the ball, but was also happy to do the dirty work, putting in important blocks to launch his team on the attack.
20/24 Jordan Henderson 8/10
Sharp as a tack and always on the move. Has added incisiveness to his game this season. Something Carrick and Fellaini sorely lacked.
21/24 Raheem Sterling 7/10
Looked to get involved in every Liverpool attack, buzzing around the pitch. Neat and tidy with his passing in a more central midfield position
22/24 Luis Suarez 8/10
Put the icing on the cake with astute finish past De Gea in the final stages. Dropped a little bit deeper for maximum impact and terrorised poor Jones.
23/24 Daniel Sturridge 8/10
His pace and movement constantly troubled the United defence but was wasteful in front of goal. Unfair tumble to win the third penalty.
24/24 Philippe Coutinho 7/10
Came on for Sterling with 18 minutes remaining and nearly helped himself to a goal in closing stages but dragged a long-range effort wide.
As for Sunday’s embarrassment against Liverpool, he questioned Moyes’s tactics – “Punt the ball up to [Marouane] Fellaini. Great viewing” – and also tweeted “Dithered again”, probably in reference to the fact Moyes did not make a single substitution until the 76th minute.
The tweet about Moyes’s lack of interest in the youth team was later deleted – as Everton privately distanced themselves from Sheedy’s comments – but it is not the first time that he has voiced this opinion, having previously said the same to The Independent shortly after the Scot’s departure for Old Trafford. Speaking in May, Sheedy, who returned in 2006 to work at the club where he won two league titles in the 1980s, said of Moyes: “I can only speak from experience – the manger didn’t get involved with the academy at all. His time was spent with the first team.”
After Sunday’s home capitulation against Liverpool marked a new low in Moyes’s fortunes at Old Trafford, the Scot has bigger things to worry about than a few digs from an old colleague, although the perception that he may not be the best man to develop young talent at United will hardly sit well with supporters.
In Moyes’s defence, he has not hesitated to use 19-year-old Adnan Januzaj in United’s first team this season and during his 11 years at Everton he gave debuts to future England internationals Wayne Rooney, Leon Osman, Jack Rodwell and Ross Barkley.
Indeed Rooney and Rodwell were just 16 when Moyes fielded them in Everton’s first team, though Barkley, 17 at the time of his debut in August 2011, offers an interesting case in point. After an error-ridden display on his second league outing at Blackburn, Barkley did not start another game until April 2013 after loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday and Leeds.