Everton manager Frank Lampard is certain that he can eventually get the best out of Dele Alli, despite recent rumours that the Toffees are willing to sell the playmaker.
The attacking midfielder moved to Goodison Park on deadline day in January for a performance and appearance-based fee. However, he has so far made just 10 substitute appearances for Everton without scoring a single goal.
Lampard has pointed out some issues which have contributed to a severe lack of starts for the 26-year-old. But Alli made a big difference when he was brought on half-time of the come from behind 3-2 win over Crystal Palace which saw the Merseyside outfit maintain their Premier League status.
And Lampard is convinced that he can get the best out of Alli at Everton. However, it’s up to the player himself to replicate his 45-minute cameo against the Eagles in midweek.
“To be fair to Dele, in the last two or three weeks he has trained well,” said Lampard.
“I can see in his face he is disappointed sometimes that he is not playing. I am not silly to that.
“But I know his qualities, I saw them and that is why I brought him to the club. People will question why he has not had so much game time.
“There are reasons behind the scenes for that but when it came to the moment, it was a desperate moment for us at half-time and my feeling with Dele is that, because of the levels he has reached in his career so far, he can handle these situations in a game like this, because he has played in the Champions League, he has played for his country.
“Do you question it? Yes, because he hasn’t played regularly. That’s not easy for players. But can he deliver? He showed he can.
Time for Dele to kick on
“The reality is when Dele came here, I never saw it as a short-term. It had to be a work in progress and that is not easy for a 25-year-old to take and understand.
“This is hopefully a real lift for him. He should take a lift from it because it affected us staying in the Premier League.
“After Sunday (he can) go away and have a really good summer and give everything to reach those levels regularly.
“Because that player we saw there is a really high-level player. That makes me really happy to see and he deserves it.”
Tottenham are due to receive a small bonus if Alli completes 10 games for Everton. They will then recoup £10m if he plays 20 times.
Despite that rumours remain that Lampard could look to offload the England man, unless he can find the consistency level and quality of his performance that once made him a major star at Spurs.