Everton fans have noticed an unusual absence on the club’s pre-season trip to Florida in the form of assistant manager Duncan Ferguson – and the reasoning is even more left-field.

As shared by Everton Blue Army on Twitter (@EvertonBlueArmy), Ferguson was unable to travel to Florida with the Everton squad for the pre-season Florida Cup due to the fact that he holds a criminal record.

Ferguson has been arrested for four counts of assault in his life and served a three-month spell in prison for butting a rival player.

Under US visa rules, his record disqualifies him from being able to enter the United States and therefore has enforced his absence from Rafa Benitez’ pre-season coaching staff setup.

Ferguson served under Carlo Ancelotti as assistant manager and was kept on by Benitez due to his affinity with the club and his understanding of the squad.

He previously shared the assistant manager’s position along with Davide Ancelotti under his predecessor, with Carlo’s son being a long-term feature of his coaching staff.

Goalkeeping coach Alan Kelly is also staying with the club, whilst Jamie Harley was recently appointed as Head of Sport Science in a Benitez reunion with the ex-Newcastle staff member.

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The absence is an unfortunate consequence of Ferguson’s past catching up with him, but fans will likely hold him in fond regard for his positive and productive spell as a formidable target man in an Everton shirt.

His no-nonsense approach and affinity with the Toffees is a useful presence in Benitez’ backroom team, and the team will have to make do without his coaching abilities.

It is a cruel blow to a much-loved figure at the club.