Former Everton forward Graeme Sharp has tipped Carlo Ancelotti to lead the club back towards the top of English football.
Sharp was part of an Everton side which won two top-flight titles, an FA Cup and the Cup Winners' Cup, but the Toffees have not won a major trophy of any kind since 1995.
The December appointment of three-time Champions League-winning manager Ancelotti was a statement of intent from the Merseyside outfit, though, and Sharp believes that the Italian could help bridge the gap between Everton and city rivals Liverpool.
"Carlo knows the game inside out. You just have to look at his record to substantiate that. Ask most Evertonians whether they expected him to be appointed? They would have said no. They would probably have thought he would have gone somewhere else. It was a coup getting him here," Sharp is quoted as saying by The Mirror.
"Liverpool, though, have laid down the marker. It's never nice living in a city with two clubs when your neighbour is always doing better. Yes, it makes it more difficult, but it also drives you on to try and emulate and eventually surpass them.
"The Everton fans have latched onto the fact that he appears to like living in the area and has been saying the right things. Whether you are a player, a manager, you've got to show passion and a pride in representing your football club. I think he is bringing that back to Everton. The fans have recognised that and, hopefully, that gets across to the players and we can challenge for honours again.
"It's plain to see that, over the years with the change of managers, there has been a large intake and exit of players. I think, if we get a bit of solidity with Ancelotti, he can move things on. [Liverpool] have set the benchmark in this city and we now have to challenge that. For so many years, we have lived in the shadows.
"But, under Carlo Ancelotti and providing we can foster that spirit where everyone is giving their all, then there's no reason why Everton can't challenge around the top of the league. Now, only time will tell. It's taken Jurgen Klopp four years to deliver what Liverpool fans have been craving for 30 years."
Everton currently sit 12th in the Premier League table, 45 points adrift of Liverpool.