By Paddy Boyland

Steve Walsh believes Finch Farm is a particularly exciting place to be at the moment, as Everton prepare a bid to return to the summit of English football under major shareholder Farhad Moshiri.

The experienced Lancastrian, who has held roles at Chelsea and Newcastle during his long and distinguished career in the game, joined the Blues from Champions Leicester City over the summer in a much-publicised move.

And asked why he opted to swap the Foxes for Everton, Walsh told an LLS conference at Liverpool Hope University that the club’s ambitious plans had won him over.

He said: “I felt like a nomad living out of a suitcase. It was time to come home.

“I went down to London to speak to Bill Kenwright and Farhad Moshiri and they sold me the project.

“First of all, Everton’s an exciting place to be at the moment, with the prospective new stadium, with the training ground and the way that’s been improved and the way the team are performing at the moment.

“I don’t want to get carried away with it because football isn’t like that. We’ve got a very, very tough test this weekend against Spurs- I think it’s a good test for us to see where we’re at as far as the journey is concerned.

“And then what we’d like to do is improve again through the summer. We want to make ourselves better and we’ve got plans in place to make ourselves better.”

Walsh, who was chief scout at the King Power Stadium before assuming his new role, also gave a telling insight into the day-to-day specifics of his job at Finch Farm.

He added: “It’s an evolving role. I get involved with the physios on a daily basis. They give me reports on the players so I know how things stand.

“I go out on the field and look at what the coaching setup is like, how we’re setting up to play against other teams.

“The first thing I did when I came to the club was I went into Ronald Koeman’s office and we got the tactics board out.

“We played around with it and we went through a few things so I knew what players he wants. The squad will evolve based on what he wants, how he feels and also on what my thoughts are driving it forward.

“I’ve been there seven months now and I’ve put a complete new recruitment unit in place.

“Within the recruitment department I’ve probably got a network of 30 scouts out there.”

A key part of Walsh’s job brief at Goodison Park involves liaising with Blues manager Ronald Koeman  to strengthen the Everton squad both in the transfer market and on the training ground.

But despite issues at several other Premier League clubs who have adopted the same model, the former PE teacher claimed that Koeman’s previous experience in such a setup has helped the pair develop a fruitful relationship.

He said: “It’s a good relationship. I like Ronald. What I like about him is he says it how it is.

“He’s been used to the Director of Football model before when he was in Holland and other places. Obviously he spent some time at Barcelona but we don’t like to talk about that at the moment.”

At Leicester, Walsh unearthed the likes of Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kane. But the 52-year-old has also suffered the odd mishap in the transfer market too.

He concluded: “The one that got away, and my wife knows this, is Seamus Coleman. It’s embarrassing really.

“I watched him a few times but Everton eventually took the plunge and then he went to Blackpool. £60,000? Unbelievable!

“I don’t even want to know how much he’s worth now. I want to keep him!”

 

Steve Walsh on….

Everton’s young players: “We’ve got some superb young players at the club. I went to the Under-23 game against Sunderland and they were excellent.  Joe Williams, Jonjoe Kenny and a few others I know well.

“Dominic Calvert-Lewin- he’ll be a player when he comes back from injury. He’s a big unit and difficult to stop.

“Tom Davies reminds me of a young Bryan Robson. At first, I saw him in the Under-23s and thought he was OK, but he’s really come on. Mason Holgate too.”

Key attributes he looks for in potential recruits: “Mentality first, probably. Everyone can see the one with talent, but they’ve got to come with a strong mentality. You can’t expect to come and play every week in the Premier League.”

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here