Everton loanee Ellis Simms has been praised for a coming-of-age performance for Blackpool against Charlton Athletic on Saturday.
That’s according to the Blackpool Gazette, who named the 20-year-old as their Man of the Match, after the Seasiders won 3-0 at the Valley to move within six points of the League One Play-Off places and with a game in hand over sixth-placed Doncaster Rovers.
Simms failed to get on the scoresheet himself but run Lee Bowyer’s nine-man Addicks ragged with his pace and strength, while winning the first of the Pool’s two penalty kicks.
Does Simms have a future at Everton?
Yes, he has real potential
No, he isn’t good enough
Deji Oshilaja clumsily brought down Simms inside the first 10 minutes having been outpaced by the Everton talent, and Jerry Yates converted from the spot to break the deadlock.
Simms was soon creating again when awarded the assist for Matthew Virtue-Thick’s sixth goal of the third-tier season, with the 23-year-old given the time and space to pick his spot for a low drive into the net of Ben Amos.
Oshilaja was not the only Charlton player to look uncomfortable with Simms’ pace on Saturday, in what was a strong performance to follow the former England U18 international’s recent comments.
“I’ve noticed quite a big difference between the two, particularly the physicality of the senior side of the game,” Simms admitted, regarding stepping up to first-team football from the Toffees’ Under 23s.
“Obviously, you’re coming up against experienced athletes at times, who have been involved in the game for a number of years, so you have to learn and adapt your game quickly.
“I feel I’ve made the transition to the first-team game quite well so far, but there’s still so much more I need to learn. I’m looking forward to continuing to grow my game and help Blackpool go as far as they can.”
Simms joined Blackpool on loan until the end of the season during the recent winter transfer window and he will return to Goodison Park in the summer with only one year remaining on his Everton contract.
Carlo Ancelotti will surely be impressed by how the Oldham-born attacker has taken to life with the Pool, having seen Simms score twice in five League One appearances following an eight-goal haul in 12 Premier League 2 outings under David Unsworth earlier in the term.
But the Italian will likely still be wanting to see more from the former Manchester City trainee, given Simms scored both of his goals with a brace on debut during a 5-0 rout of Wigan Athletic and only took one shot at Charlton on Saturday, per SofaScore.
He also earned the assist for Virtue-Thick’s goal with his only key pass of the day after rarely venturing inside the Addicks penalty area, and still has some room to develop with success in just five of 11 ground duels and two of nine aerial contests.
Simms’ performance in the duel was below his previous standards for Blackpool, given he has boasted a 44% success rate on the ground and 24% in the air, yet contested more challenges having previously won just 1.3 a game in each aspect.
If Simms can continue developing like he has so far with the Seasiders, he could play his way into another contract at Goodison Park or secure a move to a club higher up the footballing ladder come the summer market.
AND in other news, a £16m-rated enforcer is open to a summer transfer following Everton’s interest…