Everton are exploring managerial options after an initial move for Roberto Martinez ended in frustration – with Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard now in the frame to replace Rafa Benitez. The Toffees could not persuade the Belgian Football Association to clear Martinez for a return to Goodison Park.
Lampard, 43, is out of work after being sacked by Chelsea in January 2021. Former Everton and Manchester United forward Rooney is in charge at Championship strugglers Derby. Belgium coach Martinez is admired by Everton’s hierarchy despite being the first of five managers sacked by owner Farhad Moshiri in May 2016 after three seasons. But, despite exploratory talks, the Belgian FA insisted the 48-year-old would not be allowed to leave.
It remains to be seen if Everton return to Martinez, who would be yet another controversial choice by Moshiri, given his first spell ended in fan fury and public protests demanding his removal, but other options are being looked into. Rooney, 36, has been in the Everton board’s thoughts since former Liverpool manager Benitez was sacked after seven chaotic months following Saturday’s 3-1 defeat at Norwich City.
With Martinez currently off limits, the club must now decide whether to firm up their interest in Rams boss Rooney, who has impressed against a backdrop of financial meltdown and points deductions at second-bottom Derby.