Stop for a minute and try and forget, if you can, that disastrous five month spell at Aston Villa that left Remi Garde’s reputation in tatters.
The 51-year-old was once one of the most highly-rated coaching prospects in the European game even if he had just four years’ experience under his belt before that ill-fated move to the Premier League in 2015.
French giants Lyon played some of the most attractive football in Ligue 1 during Garde’s four years at the helm in a fluid 4-3-1-2 system that got the best out of the playmakers at his disposal. And the former Arsenal defender, a protégé of Arsene Wenger, is renowned across The Channel for giving young players a platform to perform.
Garde-ing against criticism
After all, The Toffees won the Premier League 2 title last season and boast some of the most exciting young talents in English football. And with director of football Steve Walsh embarking on a wide-ranging recruitment drive to bring a host of talented youngsters to Goodison Park, Everton have the raw materials to ensure a bright future on Merseyside.
Garde could be the man to bring that to fruition. One of his first jobs when appointed as manager by Lyon in 2011 was to cut the wage bill – and Garde compensated for the sales of Hugo Lloris, Anthony Martial and co by bringing Les Gones’ raft of talented youngsters to the fore.
The likes of Clement Grenier, Alexandre Lacazette and Nabil Fekir were given their chance at Lyon under Garde. Lacazette (below) eventually developed into one of the finest in the world in his position while playmakers Grenier and Fekir could have done the same if it wasn’t for a series of injuries.
Garde may be best known in England for winning just two games in 20 at Villa. But Everton are right to look beyond his spell in charge of a team that may have been doomed even with Pep Guardiola at the helm.