Shakespeare - An Opportunity For The Players
First team coach Craig Shakespeare takes on a semi caretaker role later this evening in Everton's clash with Apollon Limassol with Sam Allardyce having a pre arranged medical appointment that sees him miss the match, but Shakespeare believes the game is a perfect opportunity for the players to show what they can do as Everton cannot now qualify through to the knockout stages.
Speaking to the Official Site as he met with the media this week ahead of the game, Shakespeare explained.
'It is an opportunity to show what they can do. We all know that players who have not played need the opportunity to play. It is a fresh start for everybody and another game for them to show what they can do. The team for Sunday has not been picked so there is an opportunity… for things to change. The management and players should look at is a fresh start. The players who come in to play, those that have not played the past couple of matches, should see it as a real opportunity to grasp and try to force their way into the team.'
Despite having managerial experience himself, Shakespeare insisted Allardyce would be in control of the team selection and tactics and he would simply act based on the instructions given to him as they remained in contact despite Allardyce remaining in England.
'When you come into any new club, you form opinions on players. They form an opinion on you as a person and a coach, and you do likewise. It is a fresh start for us all. I see it as an opportunity for the players and team we pick to show what they can do. It is that fresh start - it is there for us.'
Having worked with Allardyce during his brief spell with the England team, he went on to say that he didn't need his arm twisting when he was offered a role at Goodison Park.
'It came through a phone call from Sam asking if I would join the management team. I was delighted to do so. I am really excited to be here and it is a great opportunity for myself. We have a very, very good squad here - you have seen the last two results. From my point of view, I am looking forward rather than back. This match is an opportunity for me to get to know the players even better, talking to them one to one and collectively. And it is a chance for them to get to know me, as well.'
'We all have to have those aspirations. You have to have that drive about you. But regardless of where you are, you want to make a difference. That is the aim. I know my role and responsibilities. I want to try to improve the players, improve the football club and improve myself, as well.'