Brendan Rodgers has backed Duncan Ferguson as a future permanent Everton manager.
After guiding his team to victory over Chelsea and a draw with Manchester United in the Premier League in his first two games as interim boss, Ferguson watched the Toffees fight back from two down to force a draw with Leicester in the quarter-finals of the Carabao Cup only for the Foxes to win on penalties.
A stunning equaliser from Leighton Baines at the end of normal time sent Ferguson sprinting down the touchline to celebrate with a ballboy, as he had against Chelsea, and the Scot was close to tears in his post-match press conference.
Ferguson expects to still be in charge for Saturday’s clash with Arsenal but Carlo Ancelotti is set to become the permanent successor to Marco Silva after reportedly reaching an agreement with Napoli over the termination of his contract.
Leicester boss Rodgers, though, believes Ferguson has shown that he deserves to occupy the hotseat for longer in the future.
“He was great on the touchline,” said the former Liverpool manager.
“We were having some chats. He’s a true Evertonian, he loves the club, he’s got a passion for the club, but he’s also a very good coach, he’s been coaching a long time.
“He’s been given the (task) of overseeing the team and you can see his pride and his passion. He’s done absolutely brilliant to galvanise the team over these last few games.
“They’ve got some really good results and, if it’s not his time this time, then I’m pretty sure in the future it can be because he has the real DNA of Everton.
“You see that in the team, you see the spirit of the players and I think he’s deserving of his chance at some point.”
The emotional rollercoaster of Wednesday night did not put Ferguson off.
“I think in the future I’ll look to go down that road,” he said. “Of course I’ll continue my education. I’ve loved every moment of this.
“Obviously the first two results help and I’m proud of the second-half performance (against Leicester). I’m devastated for the fans not to get to the semi-finals.”
Having stepped in following Silva’s sacking with Everton in the bottom three, Ferguson has re-energised Goodison Park and believes Ancelotti, providing the deal goes through, will take over a club heading in the right direction.
“They’ve got a great team spirit now and I think there’s something to build on,” he said.
“Of course, when a new guy comes in, he’ll have his own ideas, I’m sure he’ll be looking to the January transfer window.”
Ferguson, meanwhile, praised Moise Kean for his reaction to being substituted against Manchester United.
The young forward had only come on in the 70th minute at Old Trafford but was sacrificed with Ferguson looking to see the game out after United equalised.
Kean was given another chance as a half-time substitute against Leicester and had a much happier experience, particularly with a turn, run and cross that created a chance for Dominic Calvert-Lewin.
“I spoke to him,” said Ferguson. “No problems at all, he was on board and I thought he did well. I played him through the middle and he contributed. Fair play to him, a good reaction.”
Leicester will be favourites to make their first major final since they won the League Cup in 2000 when they take on Aston Villa over two legs next month.
Rodgers said: “Everyone wants to win trophies but we have to fight, we’re not entitled to win. Of course when you can win a trophy it gives you that hunger for more but we’ll see.
“We’ve got a tough game now against Aston Villa over two legs, but, if we can play as well as we have been this season, it gives us a chance to get to the final.”