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Rafael Benitez: Everton sack manager after less than seven months in charge

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Rafael Benitez has been sacked as Everton manager after less than seven months in charge.

The Toffees appointed the former Liverpool manager, 61, as Carlo Ancelotti’s successor in June.

Everton, who lost 2-1 to Norwich City on Saturday, have won only one of their last 13 Premier League games and sit 16th in the table, six points above the relegation places.

The club say an update on a permanent replacement will be made in due course.

Former Everton striker Wayne Rooney, now manager at Derby County, has already been linked with the job.

Another potential candidate is Belgium coach Roberto Martinez. He was the first Everton manager sacked by owner Farhad Moshiri in 2016 but BBC Sport understands he still has admirers among the club’s hierarchy.

Everton held an emergency board meeting on Saturday to discuss Benitez’s future following the defeat at Carrow Road, which was a ninth loss in the club’s past 12 league games.

Everton’s travelling contingent demanded Benitez “get out of our club”, while a supporter invaded the pitch in an attempt to confront the Spaniard.

Benitez, whose previous job in the Premier League was at Newcastle United, leaves Everton with an overall win percentage of 31.8% – his lowest record in charge of an English club.

Everton have 19 points after 19 games and only twice previously have the Toffees had fewer points at this stage of a Premier League campaign (17 in 1997-98 and 2005-06).

Rooney will get a mention’

Everton are now searching for their seventh permanent manager since the departure of David Moyes in 2013.

Former England captain Alan Shearer said on Match of the Day the night before Benitez was sacked: “He has been in the game long enough to know you have to get results, and if you don’t you will probably lose your job.

“Yes the results have been dreadful but the problems lie deeper than the manager. If you look at the amount of managers they have been through and money that has been spent of players… absolute madness.”

Former Premier League defender Stephen Warnock believes former Toffees striker Rooney could be considered – but Brighton’s Graham Potter should be top of Everton’s list.

“Wayne Rooney will get a mention and it is up to Wayne where he feels he is at if he was offered the job,” Warnock told BBC Radio 5 Live.

“It would be very difficult to turn down, from a club and fans point of view. Is he experienced enough? He would get the respect of the fans and the players.

“The choice I look at, and Brighton fans won’t want me to say this, is Graham Potter. Everton fans want open and expansive football, and you would get that with him.

“This appointment has to be the right one. I don’t think [assistant manager] Duncan Ferguson is the right choice – they need to look elsewhere.”

Everton won four of their first six league games under Benitez, taking 13 points from a possible 18, but their form has collapsed since October.

They finished 10th with 59 points last season with current Real Madrid boss Ancelotti as manager.

Director of football Marcel Brands departed in December as owner Farhad Moshiri attempted to tackle the crisis surrounding the club.

Former Premier League striker Clinton Morrison added: “There has not been a plan at Everton for years. They have not spent well and that is why the director of football had to go.

“I knew it would be a big struggle for Rafa going there. He started ever so well but once you have been a legend at Liverpool, it’s always going to be difficult when you start losing games. It wasn’t good enough against Norwich. Top six? No chance. They could be in a relegation battle.”

Left-back Lucas Digne also left the club, for Aston Villa in a £25m deal earlier this week after falling out of favour and said he did not expect his time at Everton “to end this way”.

“Benitez was always climbing a mountain,” Danny Murphy told BBC Radio 5 Live. “It looked like they were backing him, they let him sell Lucas Digne and sign players so to disregard that, well, it is an absolute shambles and there is no real candidate for someone to come in and guarantee success.

“They are a massive club but with obvious massive problems.”

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