Daivd Unsworth is to quit as Everton academy manager and U23s coach, the Toffees have confirmed.
The former defender is moving on to pursue his ambitions to become a first-team manager.
The 48-year-old has been on the club’s coaching staff since 2013, holding a variety of roles including caretaker manager of the senior side at the end of the 2015-16 season and during the 2017-18 campaign.
Unsworth made 350 appearances for the club between 1992 and 2004 - punctuated by one season at West Ham in 1997-98 - and was part of the Toffees side that beat Manchester United to win the FA Cup in 1995.
He told the club’s website:
“This has been one of the hardest decisions I have had to make in my career.
“Everyone knows what Everton means to me, it has been my whole life and I have loved every minute of my time here.
“However, to give me the best chance of achieving my career aspirations – and becoming a permanent first team manager – I believe now is the right time for me to move on.
“I would like to thank everyone I have worked with over the last nine years and the Owner and Chairman for the opportunities they have given me and for their unstinting support.
“Everton is an amazing club and a club I will love forever – I wish everyone connected with Everton, every success in the future.”
The reaction to the news from the supporters is broadly positive - Unsworth is a popular former player but structural changes need to take place within the club. And at 48 Unsworth knows he needs to get a move on if he wants to become a senior manager.
He led the U23s to the Premier League 2 title in 2016/17 and the PL2 league and cup double in 2018/19. However, he was also criticised for not producing enough players for the first-team and failing to move on those deemed not good enough.
Though it is being dressed up as his decision Unsworth’s departure could well be the influence of new director of football Kevin Thelwell beginning to show.
Thelwell’s predecessor Marcel Brands infamously was never given the space to do his job properly, so hopefully this is a sign that the club have learned their lesson.
Either way Unsworth departs with everyone’s good wishes. The time is right to move on.
Here’s hoping he is back at Goodison soon - though this time in the opposition manager’s dugout.