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out of the blue Legendary Italian defender and World Cup winner Fabio Cannavaro in the mix for Toffees' role


Premier ambition: Fabio Cannavaro

Premier ambition: Fabio Cannavaro

Premier ambition: Fabio Cannavaro

Everton have interviewed Fabio Cannavaro as they continue their search for a new manager.

The Italian World Cup winner is keen to pursue his coaching career in England and is understood to have impressed in initial talks on Wednesday. The former England team-mates Wayne Rooney, who is the manager of Derby County, and Frank Lampard, who is out of work after being sacked by Chelsea last January, are also being interviewed.

The club’s majority shareholder, Farhad Moshiri, and chairman Bill Kenwright, who is taking a key role in the recruitment process, are working their way through a list of candidates to succeed Rafael Benitez after he was sacked last Sunday.

However, it is unclear whether the shortlist will now go beyond Cannavaro, Rooney and Lampard or whether they will be the only three spoken to. Sources suggested it may, in fact, already be down to a choice between the trio.

Everton had initially hoped to appoint former manager Roberto Martinez and approached the Royal Belgium Football Association on Sunday to discuss whether it was willing to release its head coach.

However, the move was blocked by the Belgians, with Martinez having already told them he would not walk out on a contract that takes him up to the end of the World Cup in late December. Martinez had hoped to combine the two roles.

Cannavaro, a legendary former defender, is an intriguing option. During a stellar career, he played for Parma, Napoli, Juventus and Real Madrid and captained Italy as they lifted the 2006 World Cup in Germany, after which he became the last defender to win the Ballon d’Or.

The 48-year-old has gained managerial experience in the Chinese Super League – with Guangzhou Evergrande, during two spells, and Tianjin Quanjian – as well as with Saudi Arabian side Al-Nassr. Despite not having played or worked in the UK, he speaks English and wants to make a move to the Premier League.

In an interview in December, he spoke about following training sessions at Manchester City and Chelsea – talking to Pep Guardiola and Thomas Tuchel – and Tottenham Hotspur and said he wanted to “test myself in Europe”. His daughter lives in London and he recently spent time there.

Cannavaro, who was also briefly in charge of the China national team, has turned down the chance to become the coach of Poland ahead of the World Cup play-offs in March.

Everton bought themselves more time in their search by naming Duncan Ferguson as caretaker manager for an unspecified period. The club announced that Ferguson would take charge for “the upcoming games”, starting with tomorrow’s home match against Aston Villa.

Everton have lost nine of their past 12 league games and are hoping for an immediate bounce, given Ferguson’s status at the club, although – at present – he is not being considered as a permanent appointment even if it is understood he would like the job.

“They should roll up their sleeves and fight for the club in every single game,” the 50-year-old former striker, who will be assisted by goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly as well as Leighton Baines and John Ebbrell, said. (© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2022)

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Telegraph Media Group Limited [2021]

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