Everton academy coach Keith Southern has high hopes for Ellis Simms following the “phenomenal” youngster’s loan switch to Blackpool.
The Toffees striker has been a regular in David Unsworth’s Under-23s side over the last 18 months, having enjoyed an eye-openingly prolific campaign for the U18s in 2018-19.
Simms also made it into a Premier League matchday squad for the first time earlier in this season, getting a spot on the bench for the 2-1 loss at Newcastle United.
The 20-year-old was also among the substitutes when Carlo Ancelotti’s side took on Rotherham in the FA Cup earlier this month, but he is yet to make his debut for the first team.
Unsworth told the Liverpool Echo earlier this season that he planned to keep Simms at Everton until January, and as per the schedule, he has now made the temporary switch to Bloomfield Road.
“I was delighted when the news was confirmed today that he was signing for Blackpool on loan,” Southern told the official Tangerines website. “I think it’s a really good fit.
“I know Everton do their due diligence in terms of clubs available to certain players and I think there was a lot of interest in Ellis, but Everton obviously feel that the chances created and the environment that Neil Critchley has in place at the club will allow Ellis to go and excel.
“His record at youth and under-23 level is phenomenal, really. Ellis has certainly got attributes that help him to score a lot of goals and this is just the next step on the development pathway.
“He’s still a young player – he’s just turned 20 and you always have to be patient – but there’s no doubt in my mind that he can be a real asset.
“He’s going to a great club, one that is obviously close to my heart, and he’s working for a Head Coach who has a development background and who will nurture him and improve him over the length of time that he’s there.”
Simms has shown he’s clearly a cut above at academy level, to the point that Unsworth deemed him “absolutely superb”, and also compared his prospective route to the first team to that of fellow Finch Farm gem Anthony Gordon last year.
Admittedly, with Dominic Calvert-Lewin, Richarlison and Cenk Tosun currently ahead of Simms in the pecking order, not to mention the fact that the youngster really could do with regular first-team experience, a loan really is a no-brainer.
Blackpool are currently 16th in League One, just seven points clear of the bottom four, so hopefully Simms can get the goals needed to build more distance between the team and the drop zone.