Duncan Ferguson has been handed the chance to press his claims for the Everton manager’s job after being appointed caretaker manager. Ferguson, who took charge between the departure of Marco Silva and arrival of Carlo Ancelotti in 2019, has assumed the role for a second time starting with Aston Villa’s visit to Goodison Park on Saturday.
Everton then have a fortnight until their next fixture, against Brentford in the FA Cup, and therefore an opportunity to allow any new managerial appointment to settle in.
However, Everton have announced Ferguson’s latest stint will extend beyond the visit of Steven Gerrard’s side as they bide their time in the search for Rafael Benítez’s permanent replacement. That would allow the club’s popular former centre-forward effectively to audition for the job full-time, a position he wants, or at least until the end of the season.
The club’s statement read: “Duncan Ferguson has been appointed as Everton caretaker manager for the club’s upcoming games. The Blues’ legend took charge of training at USM Finch Farm this morning as the squad began its preparations for the visit of Aston Villa to Goodison Park on Saturday. Ferguson will be supported in his caretaker position by John Ebbrell and Leighton Baines, along with goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly.”
It added: “An announcement on a permanent managerial appointment will be made in due course.”Everton made an approach for Roberto Martínez after Benítez’s dismissal on Sunday but the Royal Belgian Football Association rejected a proposal for its head coach to combine club duties with his current job until his contract expires after the World Cup.
Martínez remains interested in a return to Goodison and Everton’s move for their former manager indicates the chairman, Bill Kenwright, is playing a more prominent role than in recent appointments under Farhad Moshiri. The club’s majority shareholder rejected Martínez last summer.
Other candidates under consideration include the former Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac and Wayne Rooney, who has impressed in trying circumstances at Derby County during his first full season in management. Everton have made contact with Rooney’s representatives but there has been no formal approach to Derby’s administrators, who would expect any request to open talks with the club’s manager to come through them.
Frank Lampard is also on Everton’s list and talks with the former Derby and Chelsea manager are on-going. José Mourinho, a longtime favourite of Moshiri, has been sounded out but informed Everton he is happy at Roma.
Ferguson galvanised Everton and a disillusioned fanbase during his first spell as caretaker when they defeated Lampard’s Chelsea in his opening game before drawing with Manchester United and Arsenal. He took charge of first-team training on Tuesday, when Kenwright paid a visit to Finch Farm and spoke with Ferguson and the coaching team to rally them.