Rafa Benitez reveals a confidential conversation with Ellis Simms and teases a potential option.
Rafa Benitez has revealed details of a private conversation he had with Ellis Simms ahead of Everton’s Saturday match against Aston Villa.
After missing pre-season due to a long-term injury sustained while on loan with Blackpool last season, the striker returned to full training last week.
Instead of securing another temporary move away from Merseyside in the January transfer window, the 20-year-old stayed on Merseyside and earned a spot on the bench for Saturday’s meeting.
Benitez said that Simms is not yet ready to return to the team following his injury layoff, but the striker was ecstatic to be part of the senior squad at the weekend.
“I’ll tell you something else,” the manager said. It’s a fascinating one.
“We were training the day before (the Villa game) and we lost Richarlison and Coleman during the training session – maybe some people don’t realize how difficult it was.
“We believed Richarlison would be able to do it, but he wasn’t up to the task.
“I went to speak with Marcel about the matter, and there was Simms, who had attended a couple of training sessions. ‘Are you eager to go, are you ready?’ I said.
“‘Sure, yeah, I’m ready,’ he responded. We had to take him after only a few training sessions after he had been injured for a few months.
“The youngster was ecstatic and overjoyed” (to be involved). But we knew he wasn’t prepared, and he still isn’t.”
Simms was in superb form for Blackpool in the second half of last season after excelling for a long time with Everton’s under-23 side.
The striker has yet to make his entire debut for the senior Blues team, but Benitez has hinted that if he develops one critical attribute in particular, he might be a future option.
“He shown that he can score goals in training sessions,” the CEO continued. We were focusing on his movements because he is a large lad.
“But we haven’t had a lot of time together, so I’m glad he has the ambition and believes he can help the club after a few months.
“Even when I was talking to (Anthony) Gordon about making a substitution (at.”