Director of football Marcel Brands has broken his silence about the appointment of Rafael Benitez as Everton manager, hoping the Spaniard will bring some much-needed stability to the club and pledging to work closely with him to help the team compete for silverware.
Eyebrows were raised when Brands was nowhere to be seen on any of the media releases surrounding Benitez’s appointment, nor was he present on the photos and videos of Benitez’s tour of Finch Farm.
There have been rumours the Dutchman was not involved in the managerial selection process, which is concerning given he will be required to work closely with the manager when deciding the transfer policy and overall vision of the team.
However, it later emerged that Brands is isolating at home having been abroad, presumably on transfer business, with quotes later appearing on the official website.
Whether he was involved in the selection process or not, Brands cited Benitez’s experience and track record of winning silverware as the key factor in his appointment.
“I think it’s always an advantage if you have experience of winning trophies because that’s always something special.
“I hope his experience will help us win the silverware we have been looking for.
“The level of the Premier League every year is increasing.
“The squad, staff and the manager should be top. His experience and the fact he’s busy 24 hours a day with football will hopefully help us to be successful in the most competitive league in world.
“If you look at the England match yesterday [the 2-0 Euro 2020 win over Germany] and the quality there is in the squad on the pitch and on the bench, is incredible. I think that is shown all over the Premier League.”
On his working relationship with Benitez, who has revealed he has already spoken to Brands about potential transfer targets, the former PSV chief added:
“Unfortunately, in the three years that I have been working for Everton, we have already had three different managers.
“Hopefully now with the new manager we can create that [stability] for a longer period.
“My job is to support and to facilitate the manager, staff and football department as well as possible.
“Hopefully my experience will help him also.
“I think one of my most important strengths is that a manager can trust me, that I will always be honest.
“Integrity is, for me, a key word in working with people together – not only with the manager but also with the people around me.
“That’s what I have done in the past 25 years and that’s what I will always do – that I’m someone people can rely on and that’s what I will also do with Rafa.”
Evertonians may be relieved that Brands has belatedly given Benitez his seal of approval.
His absence from the initial announcement was puzzling, especially when you consider there were several quotes from the Dutchman following Carlo Ancelotti’s arrival 18 months ago, and the importance their working relationship is for the future direction of the club.
Whether it was always the intention to publish his reaction later or it was quickly put together after his initial absence was widely noted, we will never know.
The real test will come in the next few weeks and months when Brands and Benitez truly get to work and set about strengthening the squad.