Carlo Ancelotti would make a shrewd appointment by hiring Fleetwood Town’s goalkeeping coach David Lucas as part of his Everton backroom team.
According to The Sun on Sunday (18/04, pg. 67), the Toffees have reached an agreement to hire Lucas from this summer after eight years at Highbury Stadium.
Fleetwood had announced last week that Lucas will be stepping down from his role at the League One side in May, after accepting an offer to join an unnamed Premier League club.
That is now believed to be Everton with it expected that the 43-year-old will move to Finch Farm in time for next season, where he will work as part of Ancelotti’s coaching team, tasked with looking to improve the performances of Jordan Pickford and Joao Virginia.
Lucas joined Fleetwood as a player in January 2013 before taking up a backroom position under Graham Alexander following his retirement in 2014, and has remained with the Cod Army ever since.
The Lancashire outfit clinched promotion to League Two during Lucas’ first year at Highbury, and came close to securing a Championship berth in the 2016/17 and 19/20 campaigns when beaten in the League One Play-Off semi-finals.
Lucas’ departure likely comes as a blow to new Fleetwood boss Simon Grayson, who replaced Joey Barton in January before signing a long-term contract last month after a run of four wins from five games.
Lucas enjoyed a playing career featuring spells with Preston North End, Sheffield Wednesday, Barnsley, Leeds United and Birmingham City, and represented England at U18 and U20 levels.
While hiring a coach from a third-tier side could be considered underwhelming by some, Ancelotti would make a shrewd appointment by convincing Lucas to leave Highbury after eight years and take on his first coaching challenge away from the League One side.
Everton have endured inconsistent performances from their goalkeepers this season, with Pickford’s efforts in October’s Merseyside derby showcasing the love/hate response he can receive after producing sublime saves but also a reckless challenge on Virgil van Dijk.
The England number one also dropped a clanger against Brighton & Hove Albion in October when he unforgivably gifted Neal Maupay a goal, yet Pickford was Everton’s hero in February’s historic win away to Liverpool as he produced pivotal saves in difficult conditions.
AS Roma loanee Robin Olsen also excelled in victory over Leeds in February, but struggled at Manchester United when he slipped for Scott McTominay’s winner and could have done more to deny Bruno Fernandes in first-half stoppage-time.
Lucas could help Everton’s current goalkeeping coach, Alan Kelly, smooth out the errors in Pickford, Olsen – if retained – and youngster Virginia’s games, having seen Fleetwood boast some of the better records in League One in recent years.
Only promotion-chasers Hull City (33) and Sunderland (34) have conceded less this season than the Cod Army (35), whose goalkeepers Alex Cairns and Jayson Leutwiler have kept 15 clean sheets in 39 games between them.
Cairns also kept nine shut outs in 27 games last term as Fleetwood ranked eighth for goals conceded, and recorded 14 clean sheets in 38 games during the 2017/18 campaign despite ending the season 11th in the League One table.
Lucas now leaves Highbury, where Fleetwood Chairman Andy Pilley acknowledges he’s “a hugely popular member of staff,” for a Premier League job, which would be a shrewd hiring if it proves to be Everton.