Everton will get an extra day’s break ahead of their return to action from the second international break of the season, with West Ham the visitors on Sunday. Speaking ahead of the game during his pre-match press conference, manager Rafa Benitez was first asked about the takeover at his former side Newcastle and the rumours linking him to a return there.
“As you know I have a very good relationship with the Newcastle fans, the city, everyone. It’s not fair for me to talk too much about that. I am the Everton manager now, I am focused on that and I wish them all the best.
“I have a lot of friends there and they were all asking me the same question, but from day one, and I was talking with the Board here that there was no need to worry about that. I decided to stay here, I’m happy, and just trying to improve everything that I can here and focus.
“I wish them all the best, but when I decided to stay here I am going to keep my word and will continue to work here.”
That seems as definitive a statement of intent as any, but jaded Evertonians will be quick to point out that Carlo Ancelotti had previously indicated that he would be here for the long haul and had even talked about inaugurating the new stadium currently under construction at Bramley-Moore Dock. All that talk quickly went out the window when Real Madrid came calling for the Italian over the summer, so for now we can only assume that Benitez is indeed staying.