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misguided Rafael Benitez made a 'big mistake' believing Everton fans would accept him

Benitez was sacked as Everton manager last Sunday after creating a toxic atmosphere among the club's supporters.

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Everton sacked Rafael Benitez after a ninth defeat in 13 league games (Richard Sellers/PA)

Everton sacked Rafael Benitez after a ninth defeat in 13 league games (Richard Sellers/PA)

Everton sacked Rafael Benitez after a ninth defeat in 13 league games (Richard Sellers/PA)

Rafael Benitez made a huge mistake by believing he could win over sceptical Liverpool fans after his contentious move to take over as Everton manager.

That's the verdict of former Liverpool striker John Aldridge, who suggested Evertonians were never going to accept the manager who guided their city rivals to Champions League glory in 2005.

Benitez was sacked as Everton manager last Sunday after creating a toxic atmosphere among the club's supporters after a turbulent 200 days in charge that saw him fall out with the club's Sporting Director and players such as Lucas Digne, who was sold to Aston Villa earlier this month.

This pattern of acrimony was also in evidence in Benitez's previous jobs as he had fall-out with club owners and Aldridge suggests his confidence is misplaced.

"Rafa at Everton was never going to work, but he has a confidence and some would say arrogance that makes him believe he can do any job," Aldridge told sundayworld.com.

"Benitez at Everton was a bad idea from day one. He would have needed to win consistently to keep the fans on side and he probably needed to do even better than another manager to keep the fans quiet.

"There is a reason why former Liverpool players don't play for Everton and the same goes with managers. Everton fans don't like people associated with Liverpool and Benitez's success at Anfield added to his problem.

"I don't know if Rafa will get another job in English football, but he will get another massive pay off from Everton and will probably be back on the managerial roundabout somewhere else sooner rather than later."

Meanwhile, Derby boss Wayne Rooney says he is “flattered” to be linked with the Everton vacancy but says there has been no approach from the Merseyside club.

The 36-year-old former Toffees striker has been linked with the job following Rafael Benitez’s dismissal.

The ex-England international’s stock has risen after keeping the Rams in contention for survival in the Championship despite being docked 21 points for entering administration and breaching financial regulations.

Rooney said: “I’m the same as everyone else, I see the speculation on social media and in the newspapers. Of course Everton is a club I grew up supporting.

“I’m flattered to get brought up in those conversations, but I know Everton know that to have any communication with me they have to go through the administrators.”

Rooney’s ties to Everton run deep. He joined the club as a nine-year-old and made his first-team debut aged 16 in 2002, before moving on to Manchester United two years later before he rejoined Everton for the 2017-18 season.

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Other young managers, such as his England team-mate Frank Lampard, have found it hard to resist the call of a former club, even when it has come early on in their managerial career.

Rooney agreed that “everyone loves a fairytale” but insisted his focus was on Derby’s clash with bitter local rivals Nottingham Forest on Saturday lunchtime.

The Rams are eight points from safety heading into the clash at the City Ground and he said: “I must treat this game with the utmost respect.”

Read Aldo's explosive column on Manchester City's dominance of the Premier League in this weekend's Sunday World.

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