Ex-Liverpool player Jermaine Pennant believes that Everton will endure a period of stagnation under fellow ex-Reds man Rafa Benitez.
The former Liverpool tactician, who won the 2005 Champions League with Everton’s arch-rivals, was appointed to the club on a three-year deal following a protracted managerial saga.
The club has made a busy start to the transfer window, bringing in Andros Townsend and Asmir Begovic on free transfers and Demarai Gray on a long-term contract for £1.6 million.
However, Pennant’s experience working with Benitez led the ex-Reds player to doubt Benitez’ managerial acumen.
He discussed how Liverpool legend Steven Gerrard had to take on man-management duties as captain in order to cover for Benitez’ interpersonal deficiencies.
He also touched upon Benitez’ spell at Newcastle, indicating how he feels that Everton are destined for little more than mediocrity with Benitez at the helm.
“Is he going to light it up at Everton? Is he going to take them to the next level? Personally, I don’t think he will. Sorry Everton fans!
“He’s a legend at Liverpool for that famous game, coming back from 3-0 down in the Champions League, which was Gerrard-driven 100 per cent and I know that.
“After Liverpool, you look where he’s been… Newcastle he didn’t really set them alight, he kept them afloat.
“I just feel he’s going to be a little bit stagnant at Everton.”
He also took aim at Everton’s recent transfer business, arguing they will do little to drive the Toffees up the table.
“With the signings he’s made, again they’re free transfers and they’re not going to light the team up and take them to the next step. Are they going to make more signings? We’ll see.
“Rafa, I’ve got nothing against you, mate, but everyone’s got an opinion!”
Read Everton Verdict
Benitez’ managerial CV portrays a mixed bag in terms of results.
His 2005 achievement is certainly a feat that lives long in the memory of Liverpool fans and crowns a record laden with experience at top European clubs.
He boasts experience at Inter Milan, Real Madrid and Napoli along with other sides but struggled to deliver meaningful silverware at those clubs.
Pennant certainly has cause to question the club’s ambition, but only results on the pitch will speak adequately for his potential as an Everton manager.