Everton picked up the tall young striker, Ellis Simms, in 2017 after
he had been released from the Manchester City Academy at the age
of 16. Before that, he had been at Blackburn Rovers.
He made a relatively slow start in his first season for Everton 's Under-18s but came to llfe in the Spring of 2018 when he scored 4 goals in as many games —
a sign of what was to come...
On the back of this remarkable record, Simms agreed his first
contract with the club in May 2019 and moved up to David Unsworth's U23
squad. He would find the goals harder to come by at that level, however, and
struggled a little for the first half of the 2019-20 season, scoring 13 in total
before the season was curtailed by the Coronavirus pandemic.
However, his potential was recognised that season by an appearance on the bench for the first-team as then manager Carlo Ancelotti took advantage of the extra substitutes allowed under "Project Restart" in the summer of 2020 to give the teenager a taste of life among the senior squad,
although he did not get on the field.
Simms continued knocking in goals for the Under-23s the following
season, scoring an
impressive 8 times in 12 matches, before a loan deal was completed with
Blackpool for him to fulfill the next stage of his development in
League One. He would play out the rest of the season with the Seasiders
in what turned out to be a very successful loan spell.
The young striker got off to a flyer in January, scoring twice after coming on as a substitute
with 20 minutes to go at Wigan Athletic on what was his League One
debut. Something of a lean spell followed with just two more goals over the next 12 games but in all Simms would play 22 games for Blackpool scoring 10 goals, enough to help Neil
Critchley’s side to the League One Playoff final.
Simms he would be cruelly denied a starring role in the game, though, because he injured his hip practising penalty kicks in
the final training session before the big day at Wembley. Without him, Blackpool
nonetheless beat Lincoln City 2-1 to earn their place in the Championship next
After recovering from the groin injury and returning to training at Everton in September 2021, Simms then
hurt his ankle after tasting the first-team atmosphere in pre-season which sidelined him for
two months of the new season.
New first-team manager, Rafael Benitez, had praised the striker’s attitude, application and
goalscoring instinct and he turned to the youngster in December that year when Everton were stripped to the bare bones by injuries and positive coronavirus tests in the camp ahead of a difficult trip to Chelsea. Simms played for an hour before being substituted in favour of his U23s team-mate Lewis Dobbin in a hard-earned 1-1 draw and would not feature again that season, making a move north of the Border instead to Hearts where he scored on his debut.
Simms would go on to have an excellent half-season loan spell in the
Scottish Premiership, scoring 5 goals in the league and 2 in the cup to
help then get to the Scottish Cup Final, where they lost to Rangers.
He was, perhaps surprisingly, overlooked by Benitez's successor, Frank Lampard, in the
pre-season of 2022, going with the senior squad to the USA but not
getting to play in either exhibition game. Before the fourth and final
pre-season game, the reason became apparent: he was to be sent out on
loan again, this time for a full season with Sunderland at the Stadium
The young forward would take full advantage of this opportunity,
scoring 7 goals in 14 starts in the Championship before he was recalled by Everton in January 2023 with the Blues' first team struggling for goals with Dominic Calvert-Lewin in an out of the side through injury.
Simms would only be risked with a couple of late
cameos before Lampard was belatedly relieved of his duties later that month, to be replaced by Sean Dyche who soon found he would have to wage a battle against relegation with precious few forward options after Everton failed to make a single striking acquisition during the winter transfer window.
Dyche used his first few games to experiment with all the attacking tools he had inherited from Lampard, starting Simms in his second match in charge after Calvert-Lewin succumbed to injury once more, handing the now 21-year-old Academy graduate a tough assignment of a starting role in the Anfield
derby game that proved a step too far and he was withdrawn after an
A month later, however, Ellis came on again as a late substitute against Chelsea and announced himself as a possible solution to the Toffees' striking problems with an excellent late equaliser at
Stamford Bridge to salvage a potentially vital draw in the battle against the drop. He picked up a great
pass from Abdoulaye Doucouré, brushed past a flailing Kalidou Koulibaly as if he wasn't
there, and fired a low shot that Kepa Arrizabalaga couldn't keep out.
The goal did little to improve his prospects of deputising for Calvert-Lewin full-time, however, with Dyche appearing to base his opinions on the young forward on his difficult starting assignments at places like Old Trafford. Ellis was used sparingly off the bench in the run-in as Everton battled to beat the drop and was then effectively put up for sale in the close season, with Coventry City snapping him up in a deal
for an undisclosed fee rumoured to be only £3.5M but that could eventually top £6M to £8M
contingent on appearances and promotion to the Premier League.
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