Wayne Rooney has revealed he turned down an approach to discuss the vacant Everton job, as the Merseyside club hold a final round of talks with Vitor Pereira, Frank Lampard and current caretaker manager Duncan Ferguson.
Speaking at his press conference on Friday, Rooney said: “Everton approached my agent and asked me to interview for the vacant job, which I turned down.
“I believe that I will be a Premier League manager and I believe I’m ready for that 100 per cent, and if that is with Everton one day in the future that’d be absolutely great. But I’ve got a job here to do at Derby County which is an important job to me.”
Everton continue their search for a successor to Rafael Benitez after the former Liverpool boss was relieved of his duties after just 200 days in the wake of the recent 2-1 defeat to Norwich.
Everton owner Farhad Moshiri is flying into London to hold talks with Pereira, Lampard and Ferguson.
Former Porto and Fenerbahce manager Pereira has been in contention for the Everton job twice in the past, losing out to Roberto Martinez in 2013 followed by Marco Silva in 2018.
In an exclusive interview with Sky Sports News on Wednesday, Pereira revealed he had received “good feedback” after talks over the role with Everton majority shareholder Moshiri and chairman Bill Kenwright.
Lampard is looking for his first coaching opportunity since being sacked as Chelsea manager 12 months ago, while club legend Ferguson is currently in his second spell as caretaker manager.
Ferguson has the support of the players and would take the job until the end of the season should he be the successful candidate.
Everton sit 16th in the Premier League and just four points above the relegation zone having won one and drawn three of their last 14 matches.
D-Day at Everton: Targets part of final round of interviews
The Athletic’s football correspondent David Ornstein to Sky Sports:
“Chaotic is one way of describing it. It’s been a bit of a tricky time at Everton to say the least, but they appear to be drawing a conclusion on the search. Farhad Moshiri is flying into the UK to oversee the finalisation of this process.
“There is the latest round of interviews today. We know that Frank Lampard is still in the frame as well as Vitor Periera of Sky Sports News fame is in the frame and Duncan Ferguson is an option too.
“It’s a huge decision for Moshiri to make. I’m sure he’s got a lot going around in his head. Pereira has been in the frame at least twice before. He’s been offered it in the past only for Everton to decide to go for Carlo Ancelotti before.
“Lampard did well at Chelsea, which a lot of people seem to forget, and at Derby. If Everton were to give him this opportunity, I’d be fascinated to see how he would get on. My information is they want to make an appointment before the window closes, so the manager can have some level of influence on last-minute recruitment.
“I think in this final round of interviews, they are going to mention targets they’ve been looking at and see whether the candidates are keen to bring them into the club and how they might work in the team so that if an appointment is made they can very quickly do some work before the deadline.
“It’s leaving it late. It’s flying on the seat of their pants at Everton, but they’re trying to move in the right direction. They have a strategic review ongoing and a new stadium on the way in 2024. Hopefully for their fans, they can start to pull themselves in the right direction and away from relegation threat.”
Everton Q&A: Why are the fans protesting?
How are things going at Everton?
Not well. The Toffees are 16th in the Premier League having secured 19 points from 20 matches, with the side starting 2022 with three Premier League defeats.
A 2-1 loss to embattled Norwich was the final nail in the coffin of long-disliked manager Benitez and came just days after the club allowed France international Lucas Digne to join Aston Villa.
Fan favourite Duncan Ferguson took temporary charge but failed to steer Everton to a much-needed victory, with Aston Villa winning 1-0 at Goodison Park on Saturday with Digne providing the assist.
What is the current mood in the fanbase?
Fury fuelled by a need for change. Before Saturday’s match a plane flew over Goodison Park calling for long-standing chairman Bill Kenwright’s departure, with the trailing banner reading “22 years of failure, Bill. Time to go”.
There was more anger on display after the final whistle as around 150 fans stayed behind to protest, chanting “Sack the board”, “Bill Kenwright, get out of our club” and “We want our club back”.
Frustration has continued to be expressed since then, with a number of supporters congregating outside the Liver Building – where Everton’s commercial offices are based – before another protest took place on Wednesday night outside Goodison.
What issues are there at the club?
Everton have no manager, director of football, head of recruitment or scouting chief, with few trusting those at the top of the club to make the right decisions and improve things.
The club have been owned by Farhad Moshiri since 2016 and the Iranian businessman certainly cannot be faulted for his financial backing, having already spent over half-a-billion pounds on transfers since his £200m takeover in 2016.
Last week he committed another £100m to the club after increasing his stake to 94 per cent but he has consistently made poor decisions. On Wednesday, fans voiced their objections to potential new manager Vitor Pereira, agent Kia Joorabchian – reportedly advising Moshiri – and Kenwright.
What’s next for Everton?
There is a lot to fix but appointing the right successor to Benitez is key.
Ex-Porto and Fenerbahce boss Pereira looked to be the frontrunner and said he was hurt by fan opposition to his potential appointment, with graffiti sprayed on to Goodison Park saying ‘Pereira out, Lampard in’.
But that has not put the Portuguese off wanting the job – something he explained having taken the rather extraordinary step of speaking mid-process to Sky Sports News.
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