Everton can confirm the appointment of Jamie Harley as Head of Sports Science – and the latest addition to Rafa Benitez’s staff is convinced the Club is equipped to be able to challenge the Premier League’s best.
Harley is reuniting with manager Benitez after the pair worked together for the duration of the Spaniard’s time in charge of Newcastle United.
Harley left Newcastle at the end of last season after 11 years at St James’ Park and was deliberating over offers for his next role.
But when Everton called, Harley’s mind was immediately made up, the 36-year-old unable to resist a “big challenge at a huge club”.
He joined Newcastle as Sports Scientist in 2010 and seven years later, when Benitez was boss, accepted the post of Head of Sports Science.
“When the opportunity to come to Everton arose, I realised it was going to be a big challenge at a huge club,” Harley told evertonfc.com.
“I wasn’t sure about my next step after Newcastle, although I was clear it was going to be in football.
“When Everton came up, it didn’t take me long to consider. The process, from hearing about the possibility, to being here, was fast.
“This is a great challenge at a really exciting time for the Club.
“Everton, with the size of the Club and the scale of backing and fanbase, are clearly very ambitious.
“They want to be in that top tier of the Premier League and everything I have seen so far is set up to do that. That is what makes it so exciting.”
Harley will link with former Newcastle colleagues Paco de Miguel and Antonio Gomez at Goodison Park after Benitez added that pair to his support team this month.
De Miguel was named the Club’s Assistant Manager – a title also held by Duncan Ferguson – while Gomez, a midfielder under Benitez in Real Madrid’s youth teams, joined as First-Team Coach and Senior Analyst.
The new arrivals slot into a backroom structure populated by elite practitioners across a range of fields.
“Paco is from a fitness background, so has good experience in fitness and physical conditioning, and that makes my job exciting,” said Harley.
“I feel I can be efficient with my work because Paco can understand things I want to put in place.
“My position involves any aspect of physical conditioning of players.
“It can include physical work on the pitch and in the gym, nutrition, how we manage players’ recovery between games and an element of psychology.
“There are some really good staff, with strong knowledge and experience, already at Everton.
“With [Sports Scientist] Dave Flower, [Head of Nutrition] Lloyd Parker and [Strength and Conditioning Coach] Jack Phillips, we have a really good sports science and nutrition and strength and conditioning background.
“The aim of my role is to coordinate those things and help those staff be efficient in the way the manager wants to work.
“I look broadly to see how we can improve the performance of players.
“Every player has different aspects they can improve, it is finding those areas and putting the right things in place to give them the support they need.”
Harley, who worked under six managers at Newcastle, was with Benitez, De Miguel and Gomes for more than three years – from March 2016 to the summer of 2019.
“There was a learning process with Paco and Antonio and over that time we found a good way of working together,” continued Harley, who has a master’s degree in exercise physiology.
“I understood really clearly the programmes and processes they like to put into place and was able to support those with my work.
“This is a big move for me after 11 years at one club but I was really excited by that challenge: to step into this environment, with a staff I know well and those already here.
“It happened really quickly but I accepted the chance to work for Everton and with Rafa and his staff straight away.”