Harley reunited with Benitez as Head of Sport Science at Everton

Harley worked with Benitez for three years at Newcastle United

Harley worked with Benitez for three years at Newcastle United

JAMIE HARLEY has been reunited with manager Rafa Benitez as Head of Sport Science at Everton.

The duo worked together at Newcastle United from 2016 to 2019 during the Spaniard’s time in charge of the Magpies. In total, Harley worked for Newcastle for 11 years and for six different managers before leaving at the end of last season.

The 36-year-old was close to a move to a club in the Middle East this summer, but “when Everton came up, it didn’t take me long to consider,” he said.

Last week Benitez made the first two appointments to his Everton backroom staff, with long-time lieutenants Paco de Miguel and Antonio Gomez returning to work alongside him. He has gaps to fill after six assistants left Goodison with Carlo Ancelotti at the end of 2020/21.

Harley said: “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. I realised it was going to be a big challenge at a huge club.

“I wasn’t sure about my next step after Newcastle, although I was clear it was going to be in football. 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 explained more about his role in the interview with the club’s official website.

“My position involves any aspect of physical conditioning of players,” he said. “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 [sport 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 co-ordinate 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.”

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