Keith Southern has given his endorsement to Blackpool’s signing of young Everton forward Ellis Simms on loan.
The former Seasider, now working within the academy at Goodison Park, helped coach the 20-year-old during his time with Paul Tait’s under-18s side.
“I worked with Ellis alongside the other under-18s staff around a year or so ago now,” Southern explained. “It was for the best part of two years during his scholarship. I obviously know him well and he’s a talented boy.
“I was delighted when the news was confirmed today that he was signing for Blackpool on loan.
“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.”
A prolific goalscorer while rising through the ranks on Merseyside, Blackpool’s latest recruit certainly knows where the net is and will now be given the opportunities to transfer his form to senior football.
“His record at youth and under-23 level is phenomenal, really,” said Southern, who achieved two promotions during his 10 years as a player with Blackpool. “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.”
Southern himself treaded the very same loan path from Everton to Blackpool in 2002, while Seamus Coleman did similar in 2010 before going on to establish himself as a regular for the Toffees.
“I was only thinking about that a week or so ago, that it’s now just shy of 20 years since I went to the club on loan from Everton, and almost 11 years since Seamus Coleman arrived. That really catapulted his career, so Blackpool has a reputation of looking after players and giving young players an opportunity on loan.
“I’m sure Ellis is not looking at the platform it gave Seamus, but he’ll be looking at his own profile and thinking that he’s ready for this challenge. Hopefully he gets plenty of game-time under his belt, does well and scores goals.”