Francis Jeffers says he aims to help more forwards make the journey from Everton’s Academy to the first team after taking up a role as a striker-specific youth coach with the Blues.
Jeffers, who is on course to complete his UEFA A-Licence, has assumed the position at Finch Farm after spending the last 18 months regularly assisting with coaching at various age groups in the Club’s Academy.
The 35-year-old, who scored 22 goals across two spells with the Toffees, will help teach and mentor attack-minded players progressing through Everton’s respected youth setup in the hope they can follow the likes of midfield pairing Tom Davies and Kieran Dowell and defenders Matthew Pennington, Callum Connolly and Jonjoe Kenny in breaking through to play first-team football for the Toffees.
“I’ll be working with all the forward-thinking players in the Academy, trying to help them on their journey, which I know a bit about because I have been on it myself,” a delighted Jeffers told evertontv. “I’m passionate about coaching and there is no better place to do that than at the Club I love.
“It’s a lot harder now to break through at Academies because a striking role can be made up of various aspects; playing out wide, playing in a three or playing up there on your own.
“Back when I started, the things I did in the youth team were the same things I did when I got into the first team. We only ever played with two up-front - I played in a 4-4-2 in the youth teams, A and B teams, reserves and then, when I got in the first-team, I also played in a two, be it with Duncan Ferguson or Kevin Campbell.
“But you look at it now and teams play mainly with one striker, some play with none. Helping forwards be ready for that challenge is something I’m really passionate about because I believe the kids in the Academy need more help as a striker.”
Jeffers graduated from Everton’s Academy to make his competitive senior debut for the Club in 1997 as a 16-year-old.
He went on to play a total of 82 times for the Blues, and also represented Arsenal, Charlton Athletic, Blackburn Rovers, Glasgow Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as earning one senior international cap for England.