Neville - It's up to Pienaar
Skipper insists decision over future lies solely with player
Last Updated: October 29, 2010 8:37am
Pienaar: Linked with Everton exit
Phil Neville insists Everton have done everything they can to persuade Steven Pienaar to stay at Goodison Park.
"You can say to Steven every minute of every day that we don't want him to leave but at the end of the day it's his decision."
Phil Neville Quotes of the week
South Africa midfielder Pienaar was offered a new contract on Merseyside over the summer but has so far declined to sign amid speculation linking him with clubs abroad.
Toffees captain Neville admits the decision over Pienaar's future now lies solely with the player, but says the uncertainty is not affecting the 28-year-old's performance.
"To be fair to Steven he's got that hanging over him, but he keeps playing well for us," Neville told the Liverpool Echo.
"It would be a massive blow to lose him. He's such an influential character. But it happened to Joleon Lescott a few years ago and we didn't want him to move. It's happened to other big players. But we as players can't do anything about it.
"You can say to Steven every minute of every day that we don't want him to leave but at the end of the day it's his decision.
"He's from South Africa, he's played in Ajax, then Dortmund now he's been to Everton and had the happiest days of his career I think. The club wants him to stay, but there's not much else we can say.
"He's probably weighing up his options now and you just hope for our sake that he signs.
"I wouldn't want another player delving into it, if I was in this situation. It's between the manager, Steven and the chairman. It's just up to Steven to make the right decision now."
Meanwhile, fellow midfielder Tim Cahill feels it is only a matter of time before striker Jermaine Beckford finds his top form.
Beckford, who arrived at Goodison Park from Leeds at the end of last term, has only notched one goal for the Toffees so far this season, but Cahill is confident he will prove his worth at the club.
"There's no shadow of a doubt about Beckford's ability," said Cahill.
"He's scored the goals and you can see in training what he can produce and what a great player he is.
"It's only a matter of time. You need consistent game time and that's all it is.
"He's got everything and I think we're very lucky to have a player of his calibre because his speed and his finishing is pretty impressive."