Everton announced yesterday on the club website that new manager Rafa Benitez had identified some members of his backroom staff. One of his assistant managers will be 49-year-old Toffees legend Duncan Ferguson, remaining in his post from the previous coaching administration of Carlo Ancelotti. The other assistant will be longtime Benitez confidante, 48-year-old Fransisco “Paco” de Miguel Moreno, who has accompanied him across his stints from Liverpool, to Inter Milan, Chelsea, Napoli, Real Madrid, Newcastle United and his most recent stop, with the Dalian Professional club in China.
Allan Kelly, 52, will also remain First-Team Goalkeeping Coach, as was previously announced on the day of Benitez’s appointment, keeping further coaching continuity at Finch Farm and Goodison Park especially in the light of Jordan Pickford’s starring performance during the recently-concluded European Championships.
47-year-old Antonio Gomez, a former midfielder in the Real Madrid Youth team, will serve as the First-Team Everton Coach and Senior Analyst moving forward. While further staffing announcements are expected to be made in due course, the new boss was quick to praise all of his announced coaching team lavishly.
Regarding “Paco”, Benitez said of the established fitness expert -
“....has been part of my success with different teams and is a key part of the staff, he is very knowledgeable and an exceptionally hard worker.....Paco is informed on every aspect of modern training technology and how to apply this to maximise the output of every player and the team. He has been my assistant for 14 years and will be very important in what we want to achieve with Everton.”
About Gomez, Rafa remarked -
“Antonio is a former player with a lot of experience on the pitch as a coach and manager and player, he will analyse opposing teams and study our players and is another who knows exactly how I want to do things. He was my player when he was 16 and has coached with me for more than eight years. He shares my ideas and ambitions and desire for success with Everton and is always working really hard on and off the pitch.”
Big Dunc gets mentioned every time Benitez speaks to the media and this time was no different, with the new boss stressing the importance of keeping him on Merseyside, and how crucial he would be for the team success.
“Duncan is an Everton legend and has great experience, he will be vital for us with his coaching expertise and understanding of the players. His spirit, personality and character are invaluable. He knows the Club and people and what the Evertonians expect from their players. He will be an inspiration for us and crucial with his insight on the Club.”
Players’ fitness appeared to be a weakness for the Blues last season so it will be interesting to see what the new regime brings. Under Davide Ancelotti the Blues had turned setpieces into an offensive powerhouse while mostly keeping their own end well-defended and Benitez and his coaching staff will be challenged to repeat those results with his own tactical innovations.