It seemed a matter of time before we strengthened in the January transfer window, and at last Ellis Simms has joined on loan for the rest of the season from Everton. Here, we take a look at what Simms will bring to the squad and how it improves our squad.
Our attacking options have been limited for a while, stemming back from when we initially switched from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-2 with two recognised strikers. So it seemed inevitable it would be an area we’d look to address in January. In Simms, we have signed an out-and-out striker who knows where the net is and is a physical presence for teams to think about.
Simms is one of the most prestigious youth strikers around at the moment and has featured on the bench of Everton’s senior squad in recent weeks. As you can see from the stats below, only Man City’s Liam Delap (son of former Stoke long-throw merchant Rory) has scored more this season in the u23 Premier League 2.
His presence in the squad will also give Madine and Yates a kick to ensure they’re at it every week – if they don’t score, they may be dropped for the following game now which is important for competition.
Born in Oldham, Simms initially started at Blackburn Rovers and was snapped up by Manchester City where he stayed until he was released at the age of 16, joining Everton
Throughout the youth levels he’s always been a prolific goalscorer. Simms scored 32 times to top the Under-18 Premier League’s goals chart in 2018-19, winning the Golden Boot ahead of Arsenal’s Folarin Balogun (25), and Mason Greenwood who only scored 15.
That season led to him being capped by England’s under 18s, as well as drawing attention of the likes of Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund according to The Athletic.
And this season he’s already bagged 8, sitting one behind top scorer Delap – however Delap is only 17 and therein lies the challenge for Simms. He’s now at the age where he needs to start making a mark on senior football – that’s where this loan move comes in for him. Whether Simms is to make it at Goodison Park will largely depend on how prolific he can be at Bloomfield Road.
Now under the guidance of manager David Unsworth and coach Francis Jeffers, there is a feeling Simms is edging closer to being ready for senior football. The Athletic explains that Simms runs with his brother and does weight training to hone his upper-body strength – such is his dedication to make a successful career in the game.
Pathway at Goodison
Everton’s current frontman is Dominic Calvert-Lewin, a man who signed from Sheffield United for David Unsworth’s u23 side which Simms is currently leading the line for. Simms will be aware of DCL’s pathway to the first team and into the England team – something he has the potential to replicate if he works hard.
Calvert-Lewin had a similar loan spell with Northampton Town in 2015-16, on loan from Sheffield United, in which he scored five goals in 20 league games – one of which came against us which you can see below.
View from the other side
Here’s what Everton fans had to say on Twitter:
@Laffey31: “We’ve been crying out for him to start ahead of Tosun. Carlo obviously doesn’t think he’s ready for the Prem yet, so might just need to get volleyed in the air by a few league one players to get him there. Blackpool did Coleman the world of good.”
@ftblswanny: “Will be very surprised if he doesn’t hit at least double digits come the end of the season, Simms is a bagsman”
@jamie_meagher: “Time will tell if he’s good enough but it’s definitely doing him no good warming our bench and playing for the u23s”
@dignesleftpeg: “Better than him playing for the u23s in my opinion. Now he gets to play against proper pros, hopefully he does well and comes back next season even better….however, surely we are gonna bring in a striker now as DCL needs help and Cenk is NOT the answer”
@gazala2: “Great move for Ellis, score loads up there mate. PS Bring some rock back with you.”
With the clear pathway of a successful career at Goodison Park if he performs in senior football, Simms has a clear opportunity if he can score goals for us. That benefits us too, as we get a young, hungry player ready to hit the ground running when he gets the opportunity. It’s clearly a player Neil Critchley was aware of from his time with Liverpool’s u23s, and he won’t contribute to our squad cap of 22 given he’s under 21 which will have contributed in the selection process – exactly the kind of player who fits our recruitment profile.
It will ultimately come down to when he can score his first goal, as to how much he’ll contribute for the rest of the season. If he comes on for the last half hour and struggles to impact, it may be that he drifts in and out of the side, having a frustrating time on the Fylde Coast as Elias Sørensen did on loan from Newcastle a couple of seasons ago. Alternatively, if he can score his first goal early on then he may get a regular run in the side and contribute to an upturn in form in front of goal for the Seasiders as we start to storm up the table!
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