By Joe Ellis

6th Jan, 2023 | 10:10am

Everton: Ellis Simms 'bitterly disappointed' to leave Sunderland, January return not ruled out

Sunderland sporting director Kristjaan Speakman believes Ellis Simms was gutted to leave Sunderland after Everton recalled him.

The 22-year-old scored seven goals for the Black Cats in 17 Championship matches having joined the club on a season-long loan in the summer.

But the Toffees’ striker problems saw them opt to recall Simms early when the January transfer window opened although the possibility of him heading back to the Stadium of Light was hinted at by Speakman.

“It’s obviously disappointing, I think Ellis really, really enjoyed his time here,” Speakman said to Sunderland’s YouTube channel. “Speaking to him it was strange because I think he was bitterly disappointed to be going back but he is also going back to participate in a Premier League team.

“If there’s an opportunity for Ellis to come back we’re open to that, and now that he’s played for Everton [against Brighton] through the two-club rule he can only play for either them or us moving forward this season.”

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Frank Lampard obviously wants to take a good look at Simms and the rest of his striking options this month but he can’t afford to deny the 22-year-old game time anymore.

He was thriving under Tony Mowbray at the Stadium of Light and his strike partnership with Ross Stewart and Manchester United loanee Amad Diallo was proving fruitful for the Black Cats.

If he is not going to be a regular feature in the Everton first team for the rest of the season then he may as well be sent back to Wearside so he can keep up his good form this season.

Substitute appearances almost won’t do for him now either because he has become used to being a regular starter in the Championship.

If Lampard is to rotate in the FA Cup against Manchester United then he simply has to give Simms a start and see if he can hold his own against top Premier League defenders.