Brands has clarified Unsworth’s role at Everton

Thursday, 27 February, 2020 47comments  |  Jump to last

David Unsworth has welcomed the adjustment to his responsibilities at Everton, saying that they allow him to fully focus on developing players within the Under-23s set-up.

The former player and current U23s manager used to count player recruitment among his job descriptions and was key in the signing of players like Dominic Calvert-Lewin from Sheffield United, but the Blues' Director of Football, Marcel Brands, has now assumed control over the acquisition and relinquishing of players at all levels.

While Unsworth will still have input over signing players and remains an important part of the decision over which players to loan out for experience, he has been freed up from the logistics of dealing with contracts, agents and the like.

Unsworth has guided Everton to two Premier League 2 titles and one Premier League Cup in his time as Under-23s boss and he is now overseeing the next generation of youth prospects hoping to break into the senior squad.

"Marcel and I have a brilliant relationship and speak all the time," Unsworth said in an interview with the Liverpool Echo for their Royal Blue Podcast.

"He's at most of the games which is great for me, that you have a director of football that wants the players to do well.

"We speak, I'm on the loan committee, so we speak about young players, we speak about the next window coming up on what we've got, who's going to be available to go out on loan so we speak all the time.

"He's been great for me. It's great to have somebody at that level at the club actually taking an interest in your job and in the players you're working with every day at the club.

"That's been a great help for me.

"Obviously Marcel does all the contracts and will speak with all the agents so I can really concentrate on the coaching side of it," he continued.

"In that respect my job has changed, so I concentrate solely and purely on the players and the coaching."


Reader Comments (47)

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Alan J Thompson
1 Posted 27/02/2020 at 04:50:17
I'm surprised that David Unsworth ever had to deal with the details of contracts and agents but would have thought that he would have been consulted for his opinion, certainly on players under his control already at the club. Is there any reason why this needed clarifying other than it coming up in the interview?
Phil (Kelsall) Roberts
2 Posted 27/02/2020 at 06:49:02
Alan #1, yes, given the comment that he was surprised that players were taken off him to play a practice match for Andre Gomes.

It is to show we are having more clear lines of responsibility and still communicating.

Hugh Jenkins
3 Posted 27/02/2020 at 08:26:29
The interview did nothing to clarify the situation on the widely held belief that Rhino is leaving his post at the end of this season...

Does anyone know of any other statement that has been made regarding this recently, that I might have missed?

Paul Hewitt
4 Posted 27/02/2020 at 08:50:09
Hugh @3. I've been told he's going to Wigan in the summer. Going to overhaul their entire youth set-up.
John G Davies
5 Posted 27/02/2020 at 08:56:42
I would have liked to see him continue his work at Everton, hopefully no truth in the rumours. A move to Wigan would be a step down surely.

Still got the picture in my mind of him dancing in one of the Wembley lounges after we beat Man Utd.

Derek Knox
6 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:21:27
Hugh, Paul H, & John G, I heard too about the move to Wigan, but not to develop the youth set-up, but to take over from Paul Cook. In fact I had expected him to have moved already, because Wigan haven't exactly been doing well, and are still languishing in the bottom three of the Championship.

There was another story I heard too in conjunction with this move but I feel unable to air it on TW, just in case it is not entirely true, but personally I believe my source to be reliable.

Derek Knox
7 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:36:37
Meant to add to my post the photo of Unsy above is like some has asked him "Have you eaten all the pies again?" – to which he has replied "I've cut down, I've only eaten nine, honest!" :-)
Dave Williams
8 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:50:23
Derek... first Steve Ferns – and now you! A rumour can surely be shared with the caveat that it is just a rumour and no need to attribute it to any source?

Steve's was about Unsy as well and certainly there has been a lot of talk about him managing Wigan, no doubt influenced by Joe Royle being there? If Unsy has any ambition to manage, then he has to make a move sooner rather than later.

I think the story I pieced together (rumour, no evidence to support, no source to quote) was that Brands wants him to concentrate on bringing players through rather than boosting his own reputation by winning trophies at U23 level at the expense of not fully developing young talent. This might be true or might be pure guesswork.

Paul Hewitt
9 Posted 27/02/2020 at 10:55:05
Dave @ 8. My source was a friend who has a mate working at Wigan. Still could be a load of rubbish, though.
Mark Andersson
10 Posted 27/02/2020 at 11:05:16
I would have thought Wigan would have tried to get Bobby Brown Shoes back not our pie eater...
John Pickles
11 Posted 27/02/2020 at 11:10:46
Yes, it's either an unflattering photo or his responsibilities still include looking after the keys to the staff canteen.
Michael Lynch
12 Posted 27/02/2020 at 11:36:51
I hope he doesn't go to Wigan as manager. I've always hoped that he chose to stay with us because he enjoyed working with and developing young talent. People tend to go on about lack of ambition because he hasn't left to take a managerial position, but some people are smart enough not to get seduced by that whole "you have to move up the ladder" thing, appreciating they might already have their perfect job.

If he goes to head up the youth development at Wigan, that's another matter. He might see that as a new challenge in his preferred role. Again, I hope he doesn't but, if he does go, then good luck to him.

Andy Crooks
13 Posted 27/02/2020 at 11:48:10
Derek, I assume you have heard the same as me about numerous shenanigans. These things usually come out in the end if they are true.
Derek Knox
14 Posted 27/02/2020 at 11:50:42
John @11, Mother Hubbard, the Canteen Manager can't wait to see the back of him! :-)
Kevin Prytherch
15 Posted 27/02/2020 at 12:14:21
Andy, Derek and whoever else...

I think it's best that, if there is a rumour, it's either shared or not mentioned. Otherwise all you're doing is an effective character assassination on the guy.

I could say “Look at Derek and Andy, I heard a rumour about why they always seem to back each other up but can't say why”. This then escalates and escalates and more and more lies get spread.

Either share it and let people make their own judgements, or don't mention it.

Jay Wood

16 Posted 27/02/2020 at 13:03:44
Strewth! This interesting subject and thread quickly degenerated.

Cheap shots about Rhino's size and weight and unstated rumours and inuendos about the man which only smeer his name and reputation whilst saying nothing.

I'm calling foul play.

Colin Malone
17 Posted 27/02/2020 at 13:12:35
I've been told, like Paul Hewitt, that he is going to Wigan with Big Joe and son. As I said, why was Joe Williams given to Wigan? — who have improved enormously since he has been in the Wigan team.

Who's come through while Unsworth been in charge of the Under-23s? Tom Davies. In my opinion, I hope it happens so we can get a continental coach in.

Brian Hennessy
18 Posted 27/02/2020 at 13:14:18
Well said, Kevin @15.
Paul Hewitt
19 Posted 27/02/2020 at 13:18:14
Jay @ 16. I don't see anything on here about Unsworth's weight. And as for the rumours. Football is all about rumours, some that I have seen your good self be part of. And as for smearing his name, do me a favour.
Jay Wood

20 Posted 27/02/2020 at 13:44:17
Do ME a favour, Paul.

Rub your eyes and look again.

Football transfer rumours are one thing. The innuendo being implied in this thread is of a different nature, and this is not the first time it has 'leaked' onto TW in recent weeks.

James Hughes
21 Posted 27/02/2020 at 14:04:45
Andy, those shenanigans must have been loud if you heard them in Ireland.

A bit sad that the only manager at Everton to have won anything recently, who also stepped up to the plate twice, is being slagged off on here.

Kevin Prytherch
22 Posted 27/02/2020 at 14:13:02

Posts 7, 10, 11 and 14.

Alan J Thompson
23 Posted 27/02/2020 at 14:50:32
Phil (#2); I don't think U-23 players being taken by the 1st team Coach for any reason needs clarifying; the 1st team and overall Coach, Mr Ancelotti, takes preference every time. Or are you suggesting Unsworth has been told to publicly back down?
Paul Richardson
24 Posted 27/02/2020 at 16:25:06
With no insider knowledge, this appears straightforward to me... and I've alluded to this before on a couple of other threads.

If Unsworth's role is to win things at U23 level, then he's been a success. If it is grooming players ready for the first team and, importantly, ready to step up because they have the right attributes and know the style of play required to at least survive and hopefully thrive at that level, then not so much so.

Second part is difficult with the club having so many managerial changes, I accept that. But surely that's why Brands has been brought in, to shape everything throughout the club and be responsible, at board level, for how that performs? And why so many of the younger players are now either part of, or pinched for, first team training or activity (eg, practice match for Gomes)?

It's now one club, not a string of development teams, each with its own style and direction, then the U23s, then the first team (ie, three different units, more if the development teams are each separated). There is no point in having Brands and his role at board level (deliberately stressed again the level of responsibility) unless this happens.

Andy Crooks
25 Posted 27/02/2020 at 21:58:07
Quite right what many have said here. I admire and respect Davd Unsworth and certainly did not intend to slight him.
Joe McMahon
26 Posted 27/02/2020 at 22:18:00
Jay, lighten up a bit, you cannot disagree he's way too fat, borderline bariatric. Yes, he's an Evertonian, but maybe he needs to leave his comfort zone and go for another role at a different club.
Jerome Shields
27 Posted 27/02/2020 at 23:02:01
I'm just glad that Brands is getting more involved with the U23 setup.

Surprised that Unsworth was dealing with agents and contracts. It seems that the old system continued in the U23 squad parallel to a new system in the senior squad, with Brands as Director of Football. No wonder the U23s were playing a different style of football than the senior squad.

It's been obvious for some time that change was necessary. Ancelotti would have demanded it.

Derek Knox
28 Posted 27/02/2020 at 23:09:29
Jay (various posts).

I do respect you as a person, and more importantly as an Evertonian. Equally, I do appreciate that you are quite a few miles away; however, I can't/won't share what I believe to be true with you, primarily because, I think there is definitely substance to it.

If you would like to contact me, I do have a Mobile Number which has been promulgated on this site several times, when I organised the TW get-together at the Excelsior.

Mike Jones
29 Posted 28/02/2020 at 01:23:32
When Derek #28 tells you Jay #20, can you just share with us all? As I'm sick of whispers.

I'm an occasional poster on here but an often reader. I'm sick of seeing bollocks. ToffeeWeb is fast becoming somewhere I don't want to visit.

Kieran Kinsella
31 Posted 28/02/2020 at 02:30:55
In fairness to Derek Knox, you've got to remember we have a wide variety of fans on here. Some come on here to supplement match day interactions with fellow fans. Others (like me) are thousands of miles away and out of the loop.

So when Derek, Gerry, Dave or whoever mentions rumours, it's because some on here probably know what they're talking about but they don't want to get sued if it's not. It's annoying for those of us who have no clue what they're on about but, like I said, we've a wide variety of people posting on here.

Kevin Prytherch
32 Posted 28/02/2020 at 07:26:01
Kieran #31 – it's okay mentioning rumours as long as you mention what the rumour is. In their case, people are left to make their own conclusions and this is where the danger lies. Last time this rumour surfaced, one poster quickly compared him to Prince Andrew, which I would hope is way off the mark. But that's the issue, people will run with something and potentially destroy someone's life by being this vague. (I accept that, at present, this rumour is unlikely to destroy a life.)

Remember the Stereophonics song “A Thousand Trees”? It's the same principle. Numerous false allegations could arise that are way off the mark as a result of someone saying “I've heard a rumour about Unsworth but can't say what”; it only takes one of them to potentially destroy a career or life.

If you want to talk about a rumour, say what it is. If not, keep it to yourself.

Jim Bennings
33 Posted 28/02/2020 at 08:47:37
Who have we really brought through from the ranks in recent years that shouts out first-team regulars, though?

They have done fantastic at their level but none of them are really good enough to force their way into the first team. It comes to something when you can't even trust Anthony Gordon ahead of shoehorning Sigurdsson into that position he was in on Sunday.

No-one else looks like even breaking near the first team and stamping their authority on positions.

As for Unsworth, I'd like to see him try his hand at management at a club in the lower leagues, be it Wigan or somewhere else. He really needs a chance to go and prove himself somewhere as there's no more that he can do at Under-23 level now.

Don Alexander
34 Posted 28/02/2020 at 08:59:08
Re the rumour issue, I just remember what rumour fuelled by lies did to the likes of "our" Dave Jones when his career at Southampton and in football was baselessly destroyed.
Ray Roche
35 Posted 28/02/2020 at 09:07:24
Don, yes, that was a shameful episode. Jones was never the same. Disgusting what thoughtless comments can do but, hey, don't let the truth get in the way of a good story.
Mary Coleman
36 Posted 28/02/2020 at 10:34:49
Unsworth has not developed any young players. It's all hype from him and the Echo and of course his very close relationship with the CEO also helps him.

They win games why? They play older players Oumar Niasse is one example. The minute they reduce their age they lose.

Unsworth has stated he wants the Everton job and he's ready, but he failed in this. But he is still behind the scenes and I am sure he will be a disgruntled employee. Not good at all.

Derek Taylor
37 Posted 28/02/2020 at 10:53:07
Leave or stay, I'm sure Unsey will always be held in affection by the majority of Evertonians. Clearly, if he is to move into Management rather than coaching, he can't leave it much longer. Wigan would be a natural fit. Boom boom!
Jay Wood

38 Posted 28/02/2020 at 12:22:33
Derek @ 28.

And I like you too, Derek. I enjoy your TW contributions. You make me both laugh - and groan! - with your humour. I'm sure a drink in your company would be both entertaining and interesting.

I'm no 'snowflake' as a couple of posters try to imply. I can be as coarse and base as anyone with my humour. But I didn't care for two things that rapidly appeared in this thread:

1) The cheap shots about Rhino's size. It's a total irrelevance. It reminded me of Joey Barton's snide comments about David when he was caretaker manager following Koeman's sacking. On live TV Barton ridiculed Unsworth's appearance, saying something like "He doesn't look like a Premier League manager. He looks more like a car-park attendant (or traffic warden)."

2) Yet again, the coy comments about 'rumours' without stating what they are. I side with Kevin. If you want to allude to rumours, state what you've heard. If you're not prepared to do that, keep schtum.

I think I'm right in saying it was Steve Ferns a few weeks back who first aired these 'rumours' on TW without saying what they were. I believe Steve also acknowledged on reflection that he was perhaps wrong to do so.

Like Kevin, I recall some imbecile throwing Prince Andrew into that discussion. Given that everyone's favourite Royal (cough!) is under scrutiny for under-age sex with a minor; given that David Unsworth is a youth football coach; and given the harrowing tales and prosecutions in the past year of historic paedophile cases in junior football, it was a particularly obnoxious association to make. As already pointed out, look what such malicious unfounded rumours did to Dave Jones's career.

So, thanks for the offer, Derek – and sorry to disappoint you Mike @ 29 – but I will not trawl back through TW to find your cellphone number to get 'the goss' from you.

On this one, Derek, I disagree with you. I continue to call 'foul'. Basically, 'put up, or shut up' is my take on this.

Michael Kenrick
39 Posted 28/02/2020 at 12:47:21
Wow, Mary @36, come out with both barrels blazing, why don't you?!

You must be right about those older players, especially Oumar Niasse. How many U23 games has he played this season? I wonder if you really know...

Turns out to be just the two that I can see. Drew one; lost one; no goals from him. So that plan's working like a dream... And they are allowed to play up to 3 over-age players, in addition to the keeper, if they so wish. The fact is that Unsworth hardly ever uses over-age players. (Cuco Martina? Just once this season; Baningime is just 21, well below the U23 age limit; and no others from the first-team squad.)

"The minute they reduce their age they lose." That's a cheap one as the whole ethos of a Development team involves giving young players the chance to play and the opportunity to gain experience and improve as young professionals. Unsworth has been honest about the younger age of the team impacting the results as his older players are moved on. Sorry, but there's nothing there to make a conspiracy theory out of.

And you finish by claiming he's a "disgruntled employee" — what a totally baseless piece of nonsense.

Jerome Shields
41 Posted 27/02/2020 at 12:53:38
It is good that Brands is finally getting involved with the U23 setup. Long overdue in my opinion.

The U23 setup appears to have been run as a separate identity. Even, according to reports, playing a different style of football.

Ancelotti was looking at the U23 set-up a few weeks ago and has now insisted on change.

Jay Evans
42 Posted 28/02/2020 at 13:00:04
Sorry am I missing something or did someone just post ‘football is all about rumours'?


My apologies. I always thought football was about football.

Real Housewives of ToffeeWeb.

Dennis Stevens
43 Posted 28/02/2020 at 13:02:36
Real Housewives of ToffeeWeb? Is that yet another new team?
Jay Evans
44 Posted 28/02/2020 at 13:05:03
Could be Dennis. We need a captain though. I'm going to suggest anyone but Gylfi.
Kieran Kinsella
45 Posted 28/02/2020 at 14:57:08

I get your point and don't disagree all I'm saying is that Derek probably came on here with no malice intended seeing it as a continuation of match day gossip.

Derek Knox
46 Posted 29/02/2020 at 01:11:17
Kieran @45, and previously, I do thank you for your support, but I truly believe what I have heard from so many different sources, the same version of events.

Rumours tend to be exaggerated, a bit like Chinese Whispers, but the account that I have been privy to, has not deviated in any way, so I believe there was some substance to it!

Kevin Prytherch
47 Posted 29/02/2020 at 08:49:05
Derek - I don't think anyone is questioning the rumour itself - but the way you have presented it as “I've heard a rumour but can't say” leaves it open to misinterpretation.

As someone has said, David Jones career was ended by false accusations and the recent history of youth coaches will immediately leave some to assume the worst. Assumptions like that can wreck careers and lives.

I firmly believe that you are wrong in the way you have presented this. If you'd have said “I've heard a rumour about how Unsworth completely goes against everything that Brands wants to install, but I can't go into detail” then it doesn't leave things as open to misinterpretation. At present, people will jump to the wrong conclusions.

Len Hawkins
48 Posted 29/02/2020 at 09:46:36
Well, here goes... I posted a while back that I had heard a rumour from one of those involved that there was trouble in't camp. What I heard was Marcel Brands wanted to reorganise the whole setup at Finch Farm and bring in his type of coaches but Tiny Tears Bill was too comfortable with the whole retired Everton ex-players club and was at odds with Brands over it, wanting to carry on the status quo.

Hopefully Brands will overcome the ogre Nostalgiadamus and do what is best for the club – not the retired players.

Alan J Thompson
49 Posted 29/02/2020 at 15:06:20
In the words of Sir Humphrey; "Is the rumour true or is it true there is a rumour, Minister".

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