Premier League • England

Lampard uses intriguing self-comparison for new signing as Everton challenge assessed

Frank-Lampard arms folded TEAMtalk

Frank Lampard is “under no illusions” about the challenge he has inherited at Everton, but has revealed his excitement about working with their existing players and those he has already added.

Lampard took the reins as Everton manager at the end of January. Taking his first job in management since leaving Chelsea a year earlier, he replaced his former Blues boss Rafael Benitez.

The ex-England midfielder has inherited a tricky task at Goodison Park. Prior to his appointment, Everton had only won one Premier League game since the start of October.

Lampard now has to turn things around to avoid a club of such stature being sucked into a relegation battle.

He knows there is a danger of the situation unfolding, but believes in the squad he has taken charge of.

At his first press conference, Lampard said:  “In pure footballing terms, we know we’re in a position we don’t want to be in.

“I’m under no illusions. We have a squad who can improve quickly, I hope.”

By the end of his first day in charge, Everton bolstered their squad with two signings. Midfielders Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli arrived on deadline day.

Lampard improving Everton in one day

Not even a full day in the job and Lampard was on the case, making two signings.

It capped off a busy January, in which they had also signed Vitaliy Mykolenko, Nathan Patterson and Anwar El Ghazi when Benitez was still in charge.

Neither van de Beek nor Alli were getting much gametime at Man Utd or Tottenham respectively. But each showed promise earlier in their careers.

Despite their similarities in terms of position and status, Lampard said there are differences between them – but is optimistic to work with players with something to prove.

He said: “Dele and Donny, very different cases. Sometimes it’s good to get a player with a point to prove. They’ve got the hunger.”

For Alli specifically – someone who can follow in his own footsteps as a goalscoring midfielder – he said: “A fresh slate for Dele Alli but also to push him to extract what’s there. I just have to find the right environment for him.

“I’m very excited to have him and Donny.

“Alli is a versatile player who can get involved in build-up play. It’s nice to manage someone who occupies similar areas of the field to myself.”

Cup-tied for the FA Cup: Everton one of the biggest losers after the January transfer window

And of meeting the overall group, and what he intends to get out of them, Lampard added: “First day feels like about three weeks ago now! It’s been busy.

“We’re here to lead the group but also serve them. To improve them every day and play a brand of football but most of all to improve results.”

Lampard on coaching staff and taking advice

Frank Lampard Chelsea

Lampard has also been working on his backroom team off the pitch. Former Chelsea and England teammate Ashley Cole has joined the club in a coaching role, for example.

In addition, Duncan Ferguson – who was caretaker manager between Benitez’s sacking and Lampard’s appointment – will remain of importance.

Lampard explained: “Very important to bring Ashley Cole. I don’t need to speak about him as a player; he’s probably the best left-back we’ve produced.

“I’ve brought him in to be a great coach. Duncan Ferguson is a club legend. We can tap into that.

“I saw him close up, a few years ago, when Everton beat us. He’s a club legend. Having Duncan around has been great, I’ve really enjoyed it.”

Rafa Benitez, Duncan Ferguson, Everton, November 2021.

Lampard could also in theory turn to either of his predecessors in the Everton hotseat – Benitez and before that Carlo Ancelotti – having played under both in his Chelsea days.

But he wants to make his own judgements about his new club, even if he does plan to speak to the Italian at some stage.

He said: “I didn’t speak to either Carlo Ancelotti or Rafa Benitez. Carlo is a gentleman and I will speak to him but I didn’t want any preconceptions.”

And in the long-term, Lampard is not concerned about a high turnover rate of Everton managers. Benitez lasted just 200 days, for instance.

Asked if he had reservations about the high turnover of managers at Everton, his successor said: “I didn’t. I’ve been experienced in two jobs (Derby County and Chelsea) like that.

“I appreciate the fact I’m working for a great club and will give it my all.”

Lampard’s first game in charge will be against Brentford in the FA Cup fourth round on Saturday. He confirmed he will be without striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin due to a minor knock.

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