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Rafael Benitez fired by Everton

Robbie Earle and Danny Higginbotham perform an instant postmortem on Rafael Benitez's ill-fated stint at Everton and speculate on who could step in at Goodison Park.

Rafael Benitez has been fired by Everton after a horrendous run of results for the Merseyside club.

The Toffees are yet again looking for a new manager.

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Benitez, 61, has been in charge of Everton since the summer and it didn’t work out at all.

In truth, it was a very bizarre appointment from the start given his legendary status at Liverpool as Evertonians were never happy with Benitez replacing Carlo Ancelotti as their manager.

Even though the Toffees had a fine start to the Premier League season, Everton have won just one of their last 13 Premier League games and they lost at Norwich City at the weekend.

That defeat, coupled with fans holding banners calling for Benitez to be fired, sealed his fate.

Official statement from Everton

“Everton Football Club can confirm the departure of Rafael Benitez as first team manager. Benitez, who joined Everton in June 2021, has left the Club with immediate effect.

“An update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.”

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

What is going on at Goodison?

Firstly, what a mess. Secondly, who would want this job?

Since Farhad Moshiri arrived as the majority owner at Everton they have spent hundreds of millions on new players and have swung from Sam Allardyce to Ronald Koeman and Carlo Ancelotti to Rafael Benitez as their managers.

Simply put, there is no real direction at Goodison.

Benitez seemed to be gaining plenty of power at Everton as sporting director Marcel Brands was recently fired, plus left back Lucas Digne was sold and several other important figures behind-the-scenes were moved on in recent weeks.

That makes all of this more chaotic as it truly seems like nobody is really in charge at Everton.

They are now slipping closer towards an unexpected relegation battle and after pushing for European qualification for most of last season, that is a huge drop-off.

Benitez wasn’t helped by his previous affiliation with Liverpool as most Everton fans didn’t want him in charge from the start, and injuries were also tough on Benitez as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison have missed large chunks of this season.

That said, the style of play was bland and predictable and Everton’s talented squad just didn’t buy in to these tactics.

Who next?

That is a question we seem to be asking once every six months when it comes to Everton.

Duncan Ferguson is likely to take charge on an interim basis, while Wayne Rooney has been tipped to take charge given the superb job he’s doing in the Championship at Derby County. Frank Lampard has also been tipped to take the job to bring attacking ideas and a fresh approach.

The manager is a huge part of a football club but there are so many issues at Everton with recruitment, direction and leadership that whoever arrives must be part of a bigger overhaul.

That is the hard part and Everton have much bigger problems than just selecting who their next manager will be. What do the owners want? What will the team play like? What is the plan?

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