Everton's young protege, Ellis Simms, is expected to play a vital role for his loan club Blackpool as they take on Lincoln City in the League One play-off final at Wembley on Sunday afternoon, with promotion to The Championship as the precious prize.
When Ellis Simms joined Blackpool on loan from Everton in January, the Tangerines were languishing in the bottom half of Sky Bet League One.
Twenty four games and a double-figure goals haul later, the 20-year-old striker had helped the Seasiders to a third-place finish and later produced a Man of the Match performance in the first leg of their Play-Off Semi-Final against Oxford United. Not bad for a player enjoying his first taste of men's professional football.
Read the rest of this article that sets the scene for the play-off final, which kicks off at 15:00 on Sunday and is being shown live on Sky Sports.
Read the full article at the EFL website
Reader Comments (64)
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1 Posted 28/05/2021 at 12:45:33
But in all seriousness - best of luck to Ellis (show us what you can do) and to Blackpool.
2 Posted 28/05/2021 at 12:58:13
3 Posted 28/05/2021 at 13:07:21
Ooofff. Not a great inditement of our coaching setup.
“Obviously, coming here to Blackpool was a massive challenge – Im playing against men, with different styles of play. So it's all part of the experience and the main objective was just to improve my overall game. “Some of the centre-backs might not be as quick as in the Under-23s, so they might try to use their weight more. Theyre so much stronger than what I was used to! Theyll also be a bit cleverer and block your runs and your movements".
“Some of the centre-backs might not be as quick as in the Under-23s, so they might try to use their weight more. Theyre so much stronger than what I was used to! Theyll also be a bit cleverer and block your runs and your movements".
Wise words from the young man. He is appreciating the difference between, and recognising the step up from, U23s to competitive football. And most importantly, learning from it. Excellent stuff.
Good luck on Sunday. I'll be watching and rooting for you and Blackpool.
4 Posted 28/05/2021 at 13:10:30
Dont like the sound of that. Not the best testimonial for Unsy.
5 Posted 28/05/2021 at 13:15:49
Interested to hear opinions on whether he could be used next season as a backup striker to Calvert-Lewin?
Very best of luck to Ellis for Sunday .
6 Posted 28/05/2021 at 13:39:14
"The coaches at Finch Farm didn't tell me I could run with the ball and occasionally take a shot at goal plus it isn't always necessary to play the ball back or sideways and it can move forward from time to time"
Seriously, good luck to Ellis on Sunday, and may he be a useful asset to Everton during his career.
7 Posted 28/05/2021 at 13:55:26
8 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:21:13
Danny #3 "He is appreciating the difference between, and recognising the step up from, U23s to competitive football."
Yes, which is why I think we need to be careful about pushing for U23 players to be given game time with the first team.
9 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:24:43
And thats for a team playing in league one.
The step up to Premier League is obviously magnified.
10 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:27:32
11 Posted 28/05/2021 at 15:25:52
Critchely has taken a very keen interest in Simms and I would say the improvement in Ellis has a lot to do with the former Liverpool U23 coach. Gordon also had the same tendency to have brilliant spells while in Everton's U18s and U23s teams and then go missing in games; Kieran Dowell also could be accused of playing in fits and starts.
I hope Ellis Simms continues his improvement and comes back to us a much better player after his spell at Blackpool.
Maybe Mr Brands could also go to Blackpool and bring Neil Critchely back with him and add him to Everton's coaching staff.
12 Posted 28/05/2021 at 15:38:41
Young players do lose concentration. They will switch off. They will make mistakes.
We have to let them learn, often from mistakes as much as success. That's life right? Reading his words, this lad seems willing to listen and learn. That's a positive sign.
I'm glad it seems a good coach has spotted the room for improvement and that the player has taken the coaching advice on board, which will help him improve and develop.
Maybe keep an eye on this coach too?!!
With ability, desire and consistency you have the ingredients to make a player. Many players have ability. Many have desire. But its the ones who demonstrate all 3, particularly consistency, that go on to achieve success.
13 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:04:14
With his good experience at Liverpool , now improving Blackpool as head coach and excellent coaching qualification at only 42 it sounds like the guy has a very bright future. Hes northwest based, makes me think whether we could tempt him with a top coaching role at EFC.
14 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:09:18
Here are the other 15 with elite badges.
15 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:15:57
16 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:24:32
17 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:24:48
Certainly worth keeping an eye on.
18 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:35:11
19 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:36:14
Looking at the list, none of them have made an impact at top level.
Tony, excactly mate.
20 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:42:40
21 Posted 28/05/2021 at 18:18:11
I too hope that they will be promoted and that Critchley and Simms will be there for another season.
22 Posted 28/05/2021 at 18:53:13
Im not sure why people always feel the need to have a dig at our coaches re his remarks about “ things I might not have learnt at Everton”. Hes quite clear in his analysis of the two levels : “ “Some of the centre-backs might not be as quick as in the Under-23s, so they might try to use their weight more. Theyre so much stronger than what I was used to! Theyll also be a bit cleverer and block your runs and your movements". Thats what loans are about, getting experience of playing against wily old lags, you cant coach that at U23s by saying “ Imagine thats a 30 year old not a 20 year old youre playing against”.
Im looking forward to seeing him on Sunday, another step in his journey, and hopefully another step up again next season
23 Posted 29/05/2021 at 05:30:59
Like I have said before, I just hope that we have him tied down to Everton for the foreseeable future, as I am pretty sure this lad is going to be a massive success. Only a matter of time, if there isn't already, a host of clubs trying to get him, either on loan, or on a permanent!
24 Posted 29/05/2021 at 06:58:15
If he could score 10+ goals with them in the Championship, then he'd be able to return to Everton aged 21 and really ready to push for a place in the first-team squad.
25 Posted 29/05/2021 at 08:06:39
They both return to Everton in a year ready to take on the world.
Has been a great loan for the lad. He seems to have his head in the right place and that is just as important as talent.
Blackpool have been good now with him, and Coleman a decade ago. So hopefully we start using them more.
And if Reading ever ask for a player on loan, after the 'experiences' of Virginia and Gibson, they can do one.
26 Posted 29/05/2021 at 08:07:25
hat you describe is the ideal trajectory for almost all our young lads. Exit the U23s at about 19; show your stuff on loan at increasingly challenging levels; join the first-team squad as a genuine contender age 21 or 22.
Promotion with Blackpool would be a brilliant experience for him. Here's hoping.
27 Posted 29/05/2021 at 08:25:14
Really good question. "Who coaches the coach?"
I don't even know if I have an answer for that but I'll give it a Saturday morning ramble as I'm up with the dogs!!
I think it's a knack, not something you teach. I've been on the FA courses and, in all honesty, it didn't teach me a lot that I hadn't learned from being a player. Unless they've changed dramatically, they were check-box courses.
Admittedly, I learned some great training sessions that I could go on to use but it didn't teach me to be a coach. And I do value the importance of coaching qualifications in the game. I think you've hit on a good point; improve the standard of coaching training rather than it just being an ex-player / old boys club based on reputation as a player, which often sets many up for failure.
Some are destined and natural to it. They can impart their footballing knowledge onto others, get them to play and develop them.
Others just don't have it in them to be a coach. I generally believe that ironically, the better players are mostly like that. Because they don't know how to explain things. For them, things come natural and just happen; they don't know how to explain it.
There are exceptions to that like Cruyff. But mainly I always think the top, top players struggle with coaching.
I'll finish with one of our own to also counter that view. Colin Harvey. By all counts (I never watched him), a top player. But he made the difference as a coach when it mattered most.
28 Posted 29/05/2021 at 09:00:10
Unfortunately, although the U23 team has been successful, all I mainly see coming from the set-up are players that have glaring weaknesses and that is due to poor coaching. Success comes from within and this side of Everton needs to improve a lot.
29 Posted 29/05/2021 at 09:12:36
Good look, Ellis, let's hope this will be the springboard to a very successful career and if it's with Everton then all the better.
30 Posted 29/05/2021 at 09:20:25
For some reason (and maybe I'm wrong here), I believe that innate abilty is the primary quality a good player needs, along with a host of other factors: personality, determination, etc – we've seen them all listed countless times – but these reside within the individual to a crucial extent, surely?
Yes, good coaching may have an important role in bringing these things out, making sure they develop and coalesce, getting them to the point of creating a player who can be excellent in the Premier League.
So how do you decide it's not down to lack of innate ability and other qualities? How do you decide, so definitively, that the glaring weaknesses you see are due to poor coaching, and not simply limitations in the player's innate abilities?
31 Posted 29/05/2021 at 14:20:46
It's all about the mix of ingredients, and I agree, the most important one is ability, although talent can be developed with the right coaching. A good coach will spot ability and talent and try to nurture it, not discount because there are a few faults. Anyone can be improved with good coaching, and it's how you get people to go beyond what they believe they are capable of.
As you say, aspects such as desire and commitment will determine whether that natural ability can be taken that step further. Very few of those, even those with the best ability, will succeed on ability alone. I say very few, as there are exceptions, but even if they get there, many of those types leave us with a feeling of what could have been if they don't have the desire and commitment and they aren't coached correctly. A recent Everton example of this in my opinion is Ross Barkley. I don't think he was coached properly in his younger years.
Conversely, a decent player with ability can take themselves that bit further with the right desire and commitment and be seen to overachieve in terms of their ability. And the right coaching.
The coaching aspect is the final ingredient that can make the difference as to whether the player with ability, desire & commitment develops accordingly. No guarantees as in any walk of life, but that's where the coaching comes in.
Back to Tony's point. I have to agree that I too get the (unqualified & not informed) impression the coaching in our U23s isn't the best. I look at the Blackpool coach Ellis is talking about and credit him for moving on from U23s to progress and develop his coaching career. Just as young players like Ellis make a decision to take the step to professional, competitive football. I think that is the mistake Unsworth has made. He's stayed in his comfort zone, in terms of his coaching position and with the same club.
I could probably think and talk about this one all day without conclusively answering, so thanks for leaving that one on my mind!!
32 Posted 29/05/2021 at 19:10:19
33 Posted 30/05/2021 at 08:16:54
34 Posted 30/05/2021 at 08:29:22
35 Posted 30/05/2021 at 11:28:23
I'm sorry but I have zero evidence to support this much-promulgated concept that Unsworth is in his comfort zone and the coaching of the U23s is lacking. Does that apply to everyone who stays in a job they presumably like for what 2 years, 5 years, 10 years?
Unsworth may be the perfect person for the job, he may be a fantastic coach, and a tremendous inspiration to Everton's Academy players. Or he may be dreadful, holding everyone back. Wouldn't that perhaps lead to a pattern for players going out on loan with better coaches that they would all progress better?
Which is the exact opposite of what we generally see from the loans, with so many failing? But of course, that failure could be down to poor coaching so, yes, let's blame Unsworth.
I'm still curious how Tony knows that our U23 players have glaring weaknesses that are due to poor coaching and not limitations of their innate abilities that no amount of coaching could rectify. It seems to be such a lazy conclusion to draw that happens to fit a pre-existing narrative.
36 Posted 30/05/2021 at 11:44:57
The other angle I was coming at was that I think Unsworth may have benefited from moving on to take a job with a league team as has the Blackpool coach.
If that came over as critical, they I've probably used poor language. I just think it would have benefited his development as a coach.
37 Posted 30/05/2021 at 11:58:48
Could that same logic be used for the first team Michael?
38 Posted 30/05/2021 at 12:11:20
I think your question to Tony in your last paragraph sums up perfectly what's wrong with our Academy coaches. You said "you were curious as to how Tony knew our U23 players have glaring weaknesses that are due to poor coaching?" A fair enough question. Then you suggest that maybe it's due to their innate abilities that no amount of coaching could rectify, again a good point.
So shouldn't these coaches who have worked with these players since they were young have worked out that their limitations, as you call it, would prevent them ever being good enough for the first team? Surely they should have been released or moved on, and not be taking up spaces for the young up-and-coming players that didn't have those limitations.
39 Posted 30/05/2021 at 12:19:36
40 Posted 30/05/2021 at 12:47:49
Discussions like this are great as other people's view make you think.
I suppose it's worth distinguishing between coaching players who have already proven that ability and youth coaching. Different beasts and different tasks. One is about fine tuning based on the players you have to get a result, one is about development.
So to Michael's point, maybe Unsworth sees himself as a youth / development coach and is better suited to that and why he's stayed where he is.
41 Posted 30/05/2021 at 13:13:46
Listen to him talk about the difference in managing established players versus young developing ones like Giggs.
It's a very different skill and very few can combine that.
42 Posted 30/05/2021 at 14:04:16
It might be the players, but because it doesnt seem to be something that ever really changes, Im starting to look at the people who are coaching these footballers now, and its why Ive gone anti-academy, because I dont always like what Im seeing, and personally think the standards should be getting set higher, especially considering how young, many clubs take on these players nowadays.
43 Posted 30/05/2021 at 14:11:28
Ive nothing against Everton being full of ex-players coaching, just as long as they are good enough and they get results, which is the only thing that anyone in these positions should be judged on.
44 Posted 30/05/2021 at 14:20:02
A massive shame for him.
45 Posted 30/05/2021 at 14:35:58
I do think Unsworth should have moved on for his own career progression.
46 Posted 30/05/2021 at 14:59:35
Cummon you Tangerines!
47 Posted 30/05/2021 at 15:04:10
48 Posted 30/05/2021 at 15:19:12
49 Posted 30/05/2021 at 15:51:05
50 Posted 30/05/2021 at 15:55:00
51 Posted 30/05/2021 at 16:30:24
Like one year I was told to just take ibuprofen when I cracked my hip by an obese doctor
No malice against fat people, I am one myself but do you really accept advice from someone who cannot even take their own?
52 Posted 30/05/2021 at 16:58:33
53 Posted 30/05/2021 at 17:41:28
The knee jerk reaction, of many, after a few bad results is to criticise the lack of Academy players coming through and then to go on to lambasting the coaches as being useless, time-serving, "jobs for the boys" wasters. Ancelotti's son has now been added to this list.
Overseeing this total waste of money is Marcel Brands, our highly paid DoF, who obviously isn't worth a carrot.
Yes, there is a dearth of young talent coming through and yes, this may be because all the above is true and our Academy coaches are crap.
Equally, it could be the players are crap and we have the best coaching staff in the Premier League. We just don't know and anyone who professes to know differently is talking out of their backside.
54 Posted 30/05/2021 at 18:10:22
As mother used to say, "If you can't say anything nice about someone..."
55 Posted 30/05/2021 at 18:18:54
Remind me to ask you whether I should stick with my current job, that I might actually be pretty good at, or if I should look for something that you think would be more challenging for me.
Sometimes I wish Jerome would come on and join this thread, he'd tell us exactly what's been going on at Finch Farm...
56 Posted 30/05/2021 at 18:22:37
Keep your options open. 😁
57 Posted 30/05/2021 at 18:43:02
The modern game is based around pace yet we continue to buy players without the basic attributes – you can coach tactics, ball control etc but you can't coach pace into a player.
Some of the players we buy or develop lack the basic physical attributes needed in the modern game. If they have those basic physical attributes, then the rest of the skill set can be coached in to them to a large degree.
Look at Calvert-Lewin – fantastic physical attributes and the rest is being coached into him to good effect. Same with Ben Godfrey. Then look at Bernard; skills but not the right physical attributes for the Premier League. Look at Iwobi; can't run properly, no speed, too weak. The same thing with Gordon; cant run, no stamina, too weak.
We need good athletic footballers who have pace, stamina and strength that we can then coach into better footballers.
58 Posted 30/05/2021 at 19:00:17
I have always liked Unsworth, but that post made me laugh.
Reminds me of the day when lockdown rules were relaxed and hairdressers were allowed to open. I spotted an empty barber's in town, I walked in thinking I had had a proper result. I took one look at the barber and spun round and left.
You should have seen the fucken head on him!
59 Posted 30/05/2021 at 19:08:10
I don't claim to be an expert on any aspect of football but, over a considerable time of watching games, I believe that I know the fundamentals that the more gifted players possess. Goalscorers don't arrive in scoring positions by accident, any more than defenders deny any danger to their goal. In my youth, we used to refer to it as "Reading the Game".
That was at the time that Harry Cooke was a one-man band, trainer and coach. Many a time he would enter the pitch to attend to an injured player with his magic sponge. Football was played probably not so well on mudheaps, but enjoyable nevertheless.
60 Posted 30/05/2021 at 19:34:51
In any sport, any level, a Manager/Head Coach winning his league twice in 3 years with significantly different rosters, would be considered to be doing a first-rate job. Unsworth is one.
As to the wide variety of comments on here around the themes, "Jobs for the boys" and that one's little brother, "No ambition, otherwise he'd look for a manager position elsewhere."? Red herrings.
He's doing good work in an important job, at the Club he loves, in the city he loves. He should leave that chasing a gypsy life of a manager or assistant coach, who knows where? Why on earth would he do something so stupid?
Whatever the team or sport, you don't have the talent, you rarely win. When Unsy had talent (especially that 2016-17 team), he won.
Right now, there is every reason for me to think Unsworth is doing a fine job.
However, Brands has re-structured our youth scouting, if we're not seeing a significant number of teens we can feel excited about in the next couple years, he'll need replacing.
61 Posted 30/05/2021 at 19:42:09
Apologies to Brian @38, as I missed his post saying the Academy coaches should ditch those players they think are limited in favour of making room for up-and-coming youngsters to get a game.
I thought we had this point made and largely refuted the other day on a different thread; I recall someone answered it very well. I'll paraphrase from memory, with my own twist.
Everton need to maintain a sufficient number of players to form a squad at both U23 and U18 levels. Those are going to be the best players they can find who want to be at Everton. But I don't think they are all going to be superstar proteges, so it is inevitable that some 'limited' players are retained to ensure that the club's competitive commitments can still be met.
Through the course of each season, injuries notwithstanding, the rosters for the two squads do show a progressive rollover. I've tried to document this progression every season here on ToffeeWeb with webpages tracking those appearance records, advancements and disappearances as players are sold or released.
We could do the same for the senior squad as a way to tackle the recent argument about whether or not it's the same players who are embarrassing successive managers with their incompetence and lack of spirit... but I digress.
What I am lacking is a constancy statistic I could calculate for each squad, that quantifies how much the personnel change or stay the same from one season to the next. Although we would have no way of assessing such a statistic except by how it has varied with time.
If a good player appears at a lower level, he is accelerated through the system in double-quick time. Wayne Rooney is the classic example. He spent barely a season (2000-01) with the U17s before stepping up to the U19s and was hardly in the Reserves (we still had the then) in 2001-02 before his breakthrough season in 2002-03. In total, he played only 6 games for the Reserves over 3 seasons.
On the other hand, if a squad player is good enough to retain, he can take years to progress through the system and then be sent out on loan to gain more competitive experience on the off chance that he's a late developer. Connolly and Pennington are recent (failed?) examples of that strategy.
And of course there's everything in-between. But I'm just puzzled how we as fans can be so convinced the system is failing through bad structure or bad coaching, when in reality, the quality of young players with the innate ability to challenge the foreign Premier League superstars – who have been cherry-picked from clubs all over the world – is simply just not there.
62 Posted 30/05/2021 at 20:15:12
I agree. Over the years, I've been waiting / hoping for certain players to make the grade like Branch, Kissock, Green, Baxter, Baningime, Dowell etc. Did we fail them? Did they just not quite have what it takes?
Who knows, but every club has players like this and some sink and some swim. I don't think the individual failures proves the coaching is bad.
Ravel Morrison might well have been the most talented player of his generation and is currently without a club, I think. Were the Man Utd coaches the problem? Very much not in his case.
What I can say with some confidence is that we have not had a world class academy because the output has been so patchy (although not at all bad by Premier League standards which are appallingly low). We are not up there with the likes of Rennes, Lyon, Bilbao, Ajax, PSV and the very productive academies of Barca and Real, for example.
However, the structure Brands has now put in place looks much improved and, for the first time in ages, there are lots of academy players who I think might make the first-team squad on a regular basis – Simms, Gordon, Branthwaite, Whitaker, Warrington, Price, Onyango, Small, Mallon, Welch and Leban – possibly amongst others. If we can have that volume of that quality coming through regularly, that's a start – with the odd real star like Saka, Greenwood etc coming through now and again to put the icing on the cake.
63 Posted 31/05/2021 at 06:23:38
That's a fascinating post at 61 by the way. I need to give that another read and come back, but right now the dogs want to go out!!
64 Posted 01/06/2021 at 11:21:19
Very few turn out like that for every George Best / Michael Owen (sorry)/Brian Kidd there are hundreds no thousands of players like those listed above by Robert #62 who look good but they can't play against same age teams for ever.
Being from Southport I remember Stuart Rimmer playing for the first team against Forest and Kenny Burns gave him a welcome he'd never forget he kicked him all over the pitch whether it was a psychological lesson he never forgot but he was transferred PDQ.
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