South America's premiere international tournament is in full flow and here's how you can watch it We are half way through the group stage in Brazil and the big boys are starting to emerge as favourites to win Copa America. The competition was initially mired by chaos due to Covid-19, like many events across the world this past year, with initial hosts Argentina and Colombia stripped of hosting rights. Brazil was finally chosen to host the tournament despite its own huge infection and death rates. All Copa America games will be played behind closed doors as the continent still wages...
Interview: What does the future hold for Everton this summer?
After a tumultuous start to the summer, we spoke to a Toffees fan to get some insight on what's to come
In light of Carlo Ancelotti's departure from Goodison Park, we caught up with Andrew Price from the Across The Park Podcast to find out how Everton fans are feeling about the coming weeks. We talked managers, transfers, youth prospects and much more.
Just over a week ago, Real Madrid swooped in to take their former manager Carlo Ancelotti from Everton back to the Spanish capital for a second stint as boss. Whether he can turn things around for a squad in transition which struggled, relatively speaking, under Zinedine Zidane last season remains to be seen. This leaves the Merseyside club currently without a coach and we asked Andrew how this news has been taken by fans.
Q. After seeing Carlo Ancelotti go, is this a big blow to the fan base?
A. "I think it is yeah, although we didn’t have the best end to the season and some of the football could have been better, the feeling was that with a couple of signings in the summer we could have had a good go next season. It was a shock but it was also a blow to morale as much as anything else. The fact we’re back to square one looking for a new manager who will undoubtedly give some of players who the fans think are not good enough, another chance. Overall it was really disappointing that he had decided to walk so early in his tenure after all his talk about wanting to see us into Bramley Moore and building something meaningful. Hopefully it was a blessing in disguise but it doesn’t feel like that at the moment."
Duncan Ferguson was given the chance to join Real Madrid with Carlo Ancelotti, but he's sensationally turned it down 😦— SPORTbible (@sportbible) June 6, 2021
We came so close to seeing Big Dunc square off with Sergio Ramos 😭https://t.co/c3KaregQdn pic.twitter.com/RabN1d6PP1
As the club and fans move on from the Italian's departure, we wondered who could be the right man for the job going forward.
Q. If you could choose any realistic candidate to replace him, who would you go for?
A. "Honestly, there’s no one stand out candidate for me. I don’t believe in going for the biggest name for the sake of getting a name, I hope the club carries out its due diligence on all appropriate candidates, which it appears they are doing judging by reports, and chooses the man who is the right fit for Everton for the long term. Whoever it is will be a risk and will probably feel like a step down from Ancelotti so we as fans just need to trust those in charge and get behind the new man when he does come in. There will undoubtedly be pressure on the new manager because we’re 4 years into this project which brings a little bit of impatience on the fans part but the foundations are there for them and I think it’s a really good job for someone."
The Everton squad already has bags of talent and with the right development it could go on to great things, but like every team there have got to be areas worth improving. Owner Farhad Moshiri has already spent big over the last few years but he does have deep pockets and many are expecting him to back another manager in the transfer market this summer. Where could Everton do with a bit more quality?
Q. Which areas of the team need improvement in the transfer market this summer?
A. "We need a few players but just as importantly we need to lose a few to bring the quality of the squad up. Saying that it never works bringing in a load of players at once. So its in the attacking positions that we need most improvement, one or two quick players who can carry the ball would be welcome and someone to challenge Calvert-Lewin. I also think we need a central midfielder as there is a weak link there for me. Defensively, unless we replace someone then I can’t see us adding and I think on balance we’re ok for the time being."
As we enter a summer wholly different to those of the past, with many clubs tightening the purse strings in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic, a lot of owners will be expecting their managers to look to younger players who might be capable of breaking into the first team. While it's always a gamble to drop youngsters in at the deep end, if a club can find a gem in their academy, or at a lower league side, it can not only be a huge boost to the squad but also a huge money turner. Are fans expecting to see any kids getting their chance next year?
Q. Are there any young players you see breaking through into the first team and having an impact next season?
A. "Ellis Simms has had a decent loan at Blackpool and scored some goals, he’s probably the obvious one for me but not sure whether it will be too soon and another year out playing regularly might benefit him. It will be interesting to see how Gordon does pre-season and whether he’s back in contention as that could feel like a new signing if he can show the quality he showed in parts at the start of last season."
After a very promising start to the 2020/21 Premier League campaign, Everton slumped to a 10th place finish, which given the investment and the level of manager must be seen as a failure by the board and fans alike. It's difficult to predict how they will get on next season without a new manager even being named, but we asked Andrew what he was hoping to see from his team.
Q. What would be considered progress and a successful season at Goodison in 2021/22 in your eyes?
A. "It’s no different to what we’ve been saying for the last few years, Europe and/or some silverware. A cup would be massive for the club and could give us something to build on, install a winning mentality in the squad and lift morale. And a club that’s invested so much in the squad in the last few years and a club the size of Everton has got to be in Europe, which obviously comes with it that bit of prestige to attract better players push on."
The Toffees should be a very interesting team to watch over the next few months. Who will be appointed manager? Who could we see leaving and coming in? Can they get off to a good start to the 2021/22 season? All of these questions will be answered in due course, but for now fans will have the welcome distraction of Euro 2020 to take their minds off of such things.
Across The Park Podcast is very unique in that it covers the latest goings on at both Everton and Liverpool. It's well worth a listen, especially for fans of either Merseyside club.
Check them out here.
And follow them on Twitter: @acrosstheparkpc
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