Everton fan favourite and club great Duncan Ferguson has left Frank Lampard's coaching staff to pursue his own managerial career.

Ferguson, who scored 73 goals in 273 appearances for Everton across two spells at the club in his playing career, has been a member of the first-team coaching staff on Merseyside since 2014.

He has worked under Roberto Martinez, Ronald Koeman, Sam Allardyce, Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti, Rafael Benitez and, most recently, Lampard, with Everton unable to find stability in the Farhad Moshiri era.

Everton just scraped to safety at the end of last season, with a 3-2 comeback win over Crystal Palace ensuring their status as a Premier League ever-present continued.

However, financial difficulties mean another difficult off-season could be in store, with star player Richarlison having already left for Tottenham, while Dominic Calvert-Lewin is reportedly attracting interest too.

Lampard will now have to deal with the loss of Ferguson, who twice oversaw Everton on a caretaker basis.

Firstly, in 2019 after Silva's dismissal, Ferguson led Everton to a 3-1 win over Lampard's Chelsea, a 1-1 draw against Manchester United, a 2-2 draw with Leicester City in the EFL Cup – though the Toffees lost on penalties – and a 0-0 draw with Arsenal.

The Scot then took over for one game after Benitez was sacked in January this year, yet Everton lost 1-0 to Aston Villa at Goodison Park.

"It's been a massive decision for me. An incredibly difficult one but I need to move on, to take that next step in my career and look for that new challenge. Being a caretaker manager has given me confidence to step into management," he told Everton's official website.

"It was difficult last season but this club is definitely heading in the right direction. It's a fantastic club.

"The team is in good hands with Frank as manager. He's been first class and he wanted me to stay on. I'll be there as a supporter. My kids have got season tickets and I'll be looking forward to coming back."

Frank Lampard has been appointed the new manager of Everton.

The former Chelsea star and head coach has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal to succeed Rafael Benitez, who was sacked this month following the 2-1 defeat to Norwich City, which capped a run of one win in 13 Premier League games.

Lampard was said to be one of three final candidates for the role, along with Vitor Pereira and caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson, with the last round of interviews having taken place on Friday.

"It is a huge honour for me to represent and manage a club the size and tradition of Everton Football Club," Lampard said after his appointment was confirmed on Monday.

"I'm very hungry to get started. After speaking to the owner, Chairman and the Board, I very much felt their passion and ambition. I hope they felt my ambition and how hard I want to work to bring it together.

"You can feel the passion Everton fans have for their club. That will be hugely important.

"As a team – the competitive level that the Premier League brings and the position we are in the table – we certainly need that.

"It's a two-way thing. I think Everton is a unique club in that you can really understand what the fans want to see. The first thing they want is fight and desire and that must always be our baseline.

"My first message to the players will be that we have to do this together. We'll try to do our job and I know the fans will be there backing us."

Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January last year after failing to mount a realistic title challenge despite a pre-season investment of close to £250million in the playing squad.

The former England midfielder won 28 of his 57 league games in charge at Stamford Bridge.

Among Chelsea bosses during the ownership of Roman Abramovich, only Andre Villas-Boas in 2011-12 (48.1 per cent) and Guus Hiddink, in his second spell, in 2015-16 (33.3 per cent) had lower win percentages than Lampard (49.1 per cent).

Thomas Tuchel took over at Chelsea and went on to secure a top-four finish, reach the FA Cup final and win the Champions League.

Lampard's old England team-mate Wayne Rooney was also linked with the role, though the ex-Everton player said on Friday he had declined the opportunity to interview for the job.

Everton are 16th in the table after 20 matches in 2021-22, just four points above the relegation zone.

Frank Lampard has been appointed the new manager of Everton.

The former Chelsea star and head coach has agreed a two-and-a-half-year deal to succeed Rafael Benitez, who was sacked this month following the 2-1 defeat to Norwich City, which capped a run of one win in 13 Premier League games.

Lampard was said to be one of three final candidates for the role, along with Vitor Pereira and caretaker boss Duncan Ferguson, with the last round of interviews having taken place on Friday.

"It is a huge honour for me to represent and manage a club the size and tradition of Everton Football Club. I'm very hungry to get started. After speaking to the owner, Chairman and the Board, I very much felt their passion and ambition. I hope they felt my ambition and how hard I want to work to bring it together.

"You can feel the passion Everton fans have for their club. That will be hugely important. As a team – the competitive level that the Premier League brings and the position we are in the table – we certainly need that. It's a two-way thing. I think Everton is a unique club in that you can really understand what the fans want to see. The first thing they want is fight and desire and that must always be our baseline.

"My first message to the players will be that we have to do this together. We'll try to do our job and I know the fans will be there backing us."

Lampard was sacked by Chelsea in January last year after failing to mount a realistic title challenge despite a pre-season investment of close to £250million in the playing squad.

The former England midfielder won 28 of his 57 league games in charge at Stamford Bridge. Among Chelsea bosses during the ownership of Roman Abramovich, only Andre Villas-Boas in 2011-12 (48.1 per cent) and Guus Hiddink, in his second spell, in 2015-16 (33.3 per cent) had lower win percentages than Lampard (49.1 per cent).

Thomas Tuchel took over at Chelsea and went on to secure a top-four finish, reach the FA Cup final and win the Champions League.

Lampard's old England team-mate Wayne Rooney was also linked with the role, though the ex-Everton player said on Friday he had declined the opportunity to interview for the job.

Everton are 16th in the table after 20 matches in 2021-22, just four points above the relegation zone.

Duncan Ferguson hailed the work Wayne Rooney has done at Derby County as the former England captain acknowledged he is "flattered" by reports of Everton's interest.

Rooney, England's record goalscorer who had two spells at boyhood club Everton either side his trophy-laden stint at Manchester United, moved into management in 2020 at Derby, where he played out his final year as a player.

In his first half season at the club, Rooney kept Derby up on the final day. However, the Championship club's financial woes came to a head in September when they filed for administration, which was subsequently followed by a 12-point deduction and then a further nine-point penalty.

Yet against the odds, Rooney has Derby off the foot of the table and eight points from safety. 

Everton, meanwhile, sacked Rafael Benitez on Sunday after a defeat to lowly Norwich City capped a dismal run of just one win in 13 Premier League games. They sit 16th, six points above the relegation zone.

 

Ferguson, as he did in 2019 before Carlo Ancelotti arrived, has taken interim charge and will oversee Saturday's clash with Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa, but Rooney – along with Frank Lampard and Fabio Cannavaro – is a reported candidate, with Belgium having rebuffed an approach for Roberto Martinez.

Asked about the rumours during Friday's media conference ahead of Derby's contest with rivals Nottingham Forest, Rooney said: "I'm the same as everyone else. I see the speculation on social media and in the papers.

"Of course, Everton is a club I grew up supporting and I'm flattered to be brought up in those conversations. But I know Everton will know for them to have any communication with me, they have to go through the administrators.

"I think it's all hearsay as there has been no approach. My focus is on Derby."

Rooney was brought up in Ferguson's own media conference, and the Scot said: "I'm not going to drag on too many names who would be a good fit, but certainly Wayne's done very well at Derby, he's an Evertonian.

"He could be one candidate of many and he's proved himself as a very good manager."

 

Ferguson – who revealed Real Madrid manager Ancelotti had contacted him this week to offer advice – was pressed on whether he would like the opportunity to manage Everton.

"Maybe, down the line, one day – I always dream about becoming Everton manager – but I've not quite got that experience," he answered.

"My job at the moment is to take the upcoming games, steady the ship and the club will go through a process of identifying the new manager. 

"You never know in football, but my job at the moment is to focus on the next game and that's it. 

"We need a winning manager. A manager who can come and win games of football, build something and get us back up the league."

Everton have taken just five points in their last 12 Premier League matches (W1 D2 L9), the fewest in a 12-game span since earning four points between August and October 1994, and asked about Benitez's departure, Ferguson replied: "I think the results weren't there, we weren't too surprised, I don't think Rafa would be too surprised."

Saturday's game with Villa has plenty of side stories. Liverpool great Gerrard was on the winning side against Everton more often than he was against any other opponent in the Premier League (16), while Lucas Digne is returning to Goodison Park just over a week after he left due to a falling out with Benitez.

Everton have bought themselves time while they pursue a successor to Rafael Benitez by appointing club legend Duncan Ferguson as caretaker manager.

A run of three defeats in four top-flight games resulted in former Liverpool boss Benitez being sacked at the weekend, with Everton plummeting worryingly close to the Premier League drop zone.

Reports have indicated 16th-placed Everton, who have never been relegated from the Premier League, could interview Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as they hunt their next boss.

Lampard did well in his first management job at Derby County before experiencing mixed fortunes as Chelsea boss, while Rooney is catching the eye in difficult circumstances at Derby this season.

Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez has also been linked with a return to the role.

Ferguson, who was already on the Everton staff as assistant manager, may also come into contention. Everton said he has been installed for their "upcoming games", suggesting a permanent appointment is considered quite some way off. The Toffees said an announcement would come "in due course".

Everton revealed Ferguson's short-term role on their official website, after the former striker took first-team training on Tuesday.

It is his second stint as caretaker, having filled in between the sacking of Marco Silva and the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti in December 2019. The fiery Scot led Everton to a win over Chelsea and draws with Manchester United and Arsenal to give the club a lift ahead of Ancelotti coming in.

His first game of this spell in charge will be the home clash with Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa on Saturday.

Everton then do not have a game scheduled for two weeks, with their next assignment due to be an FA Cup home game against Brentford on February 5, followed by a Premier League trip to Newcastle United three days later.

Former Everton players John Ebbrell and Leighton Baines will work alongside Ferguson, as will ex-Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Alan Kelly.

The irony of Everton sacking Rafael Benitez on the day Carlo Ancelotti won the first trophy of his second Real Madrid stint was not lost on the Goodison Park faithful.

Ancelotti stunned Everton in June by leaving to return to Madrid. While there can be no comparison between Los Blancos when it comes to allure, it cut deep that a manager who seemed committed to a long-term project on Merseyside, had left at the first opportunity.

Not that Ancelotti's 18 months at Everton had been a roaring success. His final game was a 5-0 drubbing at Manchester City – the heaviest defeat of the Italian's managerial career, in his 1,167th match.

That result condemned Everton to a 10th-placed finish. Just City and Manchester United won more away games last term in the Premier League, yet the Toffees suffered nine home defeats, with only the three relegated sides losing more on their own turf.

But there was a feeling that Everton might have enough to push on under Ancelotti, should reinforcements arrive.

Instead, it was former Liverpool boss Benitez, who had replaced Ancelotti for an ill-fated spell at Madrid in 2015, who arrived at Goodison.

An unpopular pick among the fanbase, the Spaniard was always starting from behind the eight-ball.

As was inevitable, the experiment failed. Benitez was sacked on Sunday after defeat at lowly Norwich City with Everton lingering six points above the bottom three after a run of one win in 13 league games (the club's joint-worst Premier League run) and facing the prospect of hiring a sixth permanent manager since 2016-17.

False promises

From Benitez's first news conference, it was clear that Everton, lavish spenders in recent years, were going to be cutting their cloth in line with tight financial limitations.

"You have to work in the context of having a director of football, the board, and financial restrictions," he said after becoming only the second manager to take over Everton and Liverpool. "Talk the talk and walk the walk? I prefer to walk the walk."

Only £1.7million was spent, but Everton started the league campaign brightly. Indeed, ahead of a September 13 game with Burnley, they had scored seven times, as many as they had in their last 10 games last term.

After a 1-1 draw with United on October 2, Everton had 14 points from their seven Premier League games, the most since they had gone on to secure a fourth-place finish in the competition in 2004-05 (16). 

Was that optimism built on solid foundations, though?

Benitez's system was based on counter-attacking, with Everton happy to surrender possession. Only once before October had they had more than 50 per cent of the ball (51.71 v Burnley).

It is a trend that has continued, with Everton – who have had more possession than only three top-flight teams across the season – only seeing more of the ball than their opponents on three further occasions. In each of those games, they lost.

However, to be a counter-attacking team you must be solid, and Everton are not. They have shipped 34 goals, with only four teams having weaker defences, while 11 goals have been conceded from set-pieces, the second-worst figure in the league (Ancelotti's team only allowed 10 from dead-ball situations in 2020-21).

But since Everton's woeful run started with a 1-0 defeat to West Ham on October 17, they have taken the lead just once – in a 5-2 home defeat to Watford. It is hard to sit back and play on the break if you are constantly chasing a game.

In total, the Toffees have spent 36 per cent of games losing this season (when the ball has been in play), and only 12 per cent of the time ahead. West Ham (12) are the sole team to have gained more points from a losing position than Everton (11), so at least Benitez's men showed resolve on occasion.

From October 17, Everton rank 18th for goals (11), 16th for shots on target (46/139), 12th for touches in the opposition box (259), 15th for chances created (93) and have the third-worst defence (27 goals conceded). They have an expected goals against (xGA) of 20.6 in that timeframe, the fourth-worst in the division. Their position is in no way false.

Everton did play forward under Benitez (41.6 per cent of their passes were in an attacking direction, up from 32.9 per cent last season) but on only 86 occasions have they strung together a move of 10 passes or more, which ranks them 18th in the league, while their 490 passes/crosses is the fifth-lowest total.

The bright sparks in that run have come from moments of inspiration. Demarai Gray's stunning winner against Arsenal or Richarlison's overhead kick at Norwich. Gray has been a standout performer, scoring five league goals from an xG of only 2.7, but it felt like there has been too much onus on the winger in recent weeks.

Though injuries to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison, Yerry Mina and Abdoulaye Doucoure must be taken into account, Benitez's mantra became "I know what the fans want", but he appeared to be talking the talk rather than walking the walk. 

Falling outs

With Everton craving stability and unity, it is odd that owner Farhad Moshiri (more on him later) turned to Benitez, who was never the right pick to unite the fanbase or stabilise the club.

He has fallen out with owners, sporting directors and high-profile players at previous clubs and, indeed, his time at Everton proved no different.

Director of football Marcel Brands, who signed a contract extension in April, was moved on when Everton fans protested over the running of the club back in December, following a 4-1 defeat to Liverpool. 

Evertonians' worst nightmare had played out, their rivals singing Benitez's name at Goodison after a humiliating defeat. It was the first time the Reds scored four goals in an away league derby since a 5-0 win in 1982, and Brands paid the price. His recruitment department followed, with director of medical services Dan Donachie having already left.

Everton offered their full backing to Benitez and five days later, claimed a vital win over Arsenal. But a cloud hung over that victory.

Since his arrival at Everton, Lucas Digne was second only to Liverpool's Trent Alexander-Arnold for chances created by a Premier League defender (211). The France international had spoken openly of having been asked to play a more defensive role under Benitez, though behind the scenes matters appeared to boil over in a reported training-ground row.

Digne was dropped and did not return bar, for reasons known only to Benitez himself, to take a seat on the bench in a 3-2 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion. The full-back received applause from the crowd when he warmed up, but did not come on despite Everton needing an equaliser late on in a game in which they only made two changes.

Last week, Digne was sold to Aston Villa. The sale eases the financial issues but leaves Everton without their third-most creative player (22 key passes) in the league this term. Indeed, only Andros Townsend (2.13) has crafted more opportunities for them this season than Digne (1.69) per 90 minutes.

With Digne and James Rodriguez, who left for Qatar in September, gone and Gylfi Sigurdsson not involved, Everton are without all three of their leading creators from 2020-21.

Moshiri mayhem

Benitez leaves with a 26.3 win percentage from 19 league games. Only Mike Walker performed worse in the Premier League era. His dismissal should have come sooner, it seemed pointless delaying the inevitable.

But for his faults, he is not the root cause of Everton's issues and owner Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright must look in the mirror.

Since Moshiri took over in 2016, Everton have recorded 1.37 points per game, ranking them 10th in the league, but a vast amount of investment has been made. So, what next?

Roberto Martinez, who was sacked in 2016, is reportedly a leading candidate. The Belgium boss won 21 Premier League games in his first season in charge at Everton, guiding them to a record points total of 72, but he won just 22 games combined across the next two years.

Lucien Favre has also been mooted. He averaged 2.08 points per game at Borussia Dortmund, a figure bettered by only Thomas Tuchel (2.09) and new boss Marco Rose (2.11), while the Swiss led the club to their third-best Bundesliga points tally in 2017-18. He could provide experience and a modern approach.

Graham Potter seems to have ruled himself out. Wayne Rooney is doing terrific work at Derby County, might he be an option?

For now though, Everton's immediate focus must be on avoiding a relegation scrap. 

Assistant Duncan Ferguson, who remained unbeaten in the league in his spell in charge prior to Ancelotti's arrival, seems a logical pick to take over on a temporary basis, with Villa visiting Goodison on Saturday, to perhaps provide some of the spark missing during Benitez's doomed tenure and buy Everton time to make the right choice.

With just 19 points from the first half of the season, their lowest tally at the halfway stage of a season since 2005-06 (17), Everton cannot afford to get this appointment wrong, too.

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