A run of three defeats in four top-flight games resulted in former Liverpool boss Benitez being sacked at the weekend, with Everton plummeting worryingly close to the Premier League drop zone.
Reports have indicated 16th-placed Everton, which has never been relegated from the Premier League, could interview Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard as it hunts its next boss.
🗣 "Are you ready?"— Everton (@Everton) January 18, 2022
👍 "Yes, boss."
💪 "Let's go!" pic.twitter.com/SwxmZ8UCpf
Lampard did well in his first management job at Derby County before experiencing mixed fortunes as Chelsea boss, while Rooney is catching the eye in difficult circumstances at Derby this season.
Former Everton manager Roberto Martinez has also been linked with a return to the role.
🔵 | Duncan Ferguson has been appointed as caretaker manager for our upcoming games.— Everton (@Everton) January 18, 2022
He will be supported by John Ebbrell and Leighton Baines, along with Goalkeeping Coach Alan Kelly.
Ferguson, who was already on the Everton staff as assistant manager, may also come into contention. Everton said he has been installed for their "upcoming games", suggesting a permanent appointment is considered quite some way off. The Toffees said an announcement would come "in due course".
Everton revealed Ferguson's short-term role on their official website, after the former striker took first-team training on Tuesday.
It is his second stint as caretaker, having filled in between the sacking of Marco Silva and the appointment of Carlo Ancelotti in December 2019. The fiery Scot led Everton to a win over Chelsea and draws with Manchester United and Arsenal to give the club a lift ahead of Ancelotti coming in.
His first game of this spell in charge will be the home clash with Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa on Saturday.
Everton then does not have a game scheduled for two weeks, with its next assignment due to be an FA Cup home game against Brentford on 6 February AEDT, followed by a Premier League trip to Newcastle United three days later.
Former Everton players John Ebbrell and Leighton Baines will work alongside Ferguson, as will ex-Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Alan Kelly.