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Who could replace Rafa Benítez at Everton?

Everton are looking for a new manager after parting company with Rafa Benítez. The Spaniard leaves after six months in the job with the team 16th in the table.

Who could replace Rafa Benítez at Everton?
Stephen PondGetty Images

Everton have begun the search for a new manager after parting company with Rafa Benítez on Sunday - the 2-1 defeat to Norwich sealed the club's decision. The 61-year-old Spanish coach accepted the Everton job in June 2021 - a move which surprised some due to his links to and history with the club from the other side of Stanley Park, Liverpool. He replaced Carlo Ancelotti who accepted an offer to return to his old post at Real Madrid.

Benítez's Everton enjoyed a promising start to the campaign, winning three of the first four league games. But that early form soon fizzled out and by early October, the team was in freefall - a 2-1 victory at home to Arsenal at the start of December was the team's only win in three and a half months. 

Everton released a brief statement which read: "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".

Big Dunc, Hjulmand, Rooney

The obvious choice to take over either in a caretaker capacity or on a permanent basis is Benítez's assistant Duncan Ferguson. It is a situation which the 50-year-old Scot has been in before - he was drafted in to look after the team in December 2019 after Marco Silva was given his marching orders. Another possibility is Wayne Rooney, also a former Goodison idol although he still has another year to run on his contract at Derby County. Frank Lampard is also looking for work after being handed his P45 by Chelsea almost a year ago although it seems he is happy to wait until the right project comes along. Everton state that they are looking for a permanent replacementwhich suggests that they already have someone in mind. The bookies favourite is Kasper Hjulmand who has been in charge of the Denmark national team since June 2019. He is under contract until June 2024 and was recently linked with the Aston Villa job but ruled himself out, insisting that he is "going nowhere as I've only just started with Denmark".