The ex-Reds boss was controversially announced as the Toffees’ new manager on Wednesday, leading to plenty of backlash – and now Murphy has had his say on the Spaniard
Former Liverpool hero Danny Murphy has given his honest verdict on Rafa Benitez’s appointment as Everton manager.
The Spaniard took the Toffees hot seat on Wednesday after weeks of negotiations with the Goodison Park hierarchy.
It was a controversial move, as Benitez spent six relatively successful years in change of bitter rivals Liverpool.
Two days before he was announced, a banner that read: “We know where you live” was placed outside of a property in Benitez’s home village of Caldy on the Wirral and an image circulated around social media.
However, the deal has been done and the ex-Reds manager will take Everton into the new season at Goodison after the departure of Carlo Ancelotti to Madrid.
Murphy, who was briefly managed by Benitez at Liverpool before leaving two months into his reign, has backed the Toffees’ decision to appoint him, stating he will be a ‘great appointment’ in his Daily Mail column.
“Everton will become a well-organised unit under Rafa having been too easy to play against last season,” wrote Murphy.
“The club’s best spell in the last 20 years was under David Moyes when they were always awkward opponents.
“Rafa’s coaching will make Everton competitive, building from the back.”
Everton had a mixed period under Ancelotti, developing an inconsistent side with various up-and-coming stars such as Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Ben Godfrey, two of a number of players Murphy believes will benefit from Benitez’s tutelage.
“He has raw materials to work with. Dominic Calvert-Lewin and Richarlison are talented and improving forwards,” Murphy added.
“Young defenders like Ben Godfrey and Mason Holgate will benefit from working with Rafa — who will drill the players in training on team shape, when to press and how to move as a unit in and out of possession.”
On the controversial aspect of the local switch, the former England international said: “The one drawback of course has been well documented — he used to work at Liverpool.
“It means he won’t be afforded as much time as other managers to get things right.
“That could be problematic in the early stages when Everton are likely to be pragmatic rather than free-flowing.”
In spite of that, Murphy reckons the new gaffer will not be deterred by any criticism.
“Fortunately for Rafa, he’s not the type to listen to fans or media, he is a leader with a great belief in his methods and will have no problem sticking to them.”
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“Some Liverpool fans will be dismayed at their idol going to Goodison but the majority will understand you have to take your opportunities in football.”
The 44-year-old also noted how one player bridged the divide and won over both sets of fans.
“Peter Beardsley represented both clubs and was adored by supporters, red and blue.
“As for the Everton players,” he continued. “They won’t be distracted by Rafa’s past associations.
“Managers gain respect from footballers by their work on the training pitch, nothing else.
“The appointment has brought back memories for me.”
Murphy is expecting a much more coherent Everton under the Spanish boss, saying: “I would be amazed we didn’t a fitter, more athletic and structured Everton team next season – just as they were under Moyes.”
He added: “The only pity for Farhad Moshiri is that he didn’t appoint Rafa a few years ago, the club might be in a better place today had he done so.”