Everton boss Frank Lampard has made it clear that he would like Fabian Delph to remain at Goodison Park beyond this summer.
The 32-year-old midfielder has enjoyed a renaissance under Lampard. Delph has only made seven Premier League starts all season and is out of contract in the summer. But four of those starts have come in the last month under Lampard.
Everton’s midfield protector returned against Manchester United last month after four months out due to injury.
It was a timely return for Delph, who looked like he may have kicked his last ball for the club after he was struck down by another hamstring problem at the start of the year.
And asked about the Bradford-born star’s future at Tuesday’s press conference, he said: “Delphy has shown you can’t underestimate experience, quality, a football brain and effort. He has been great for us. He knows how I feel about him.”
The former Aston Villa man has less than two months remaining on his Goodison deal. But Lampard says the ball is in Delph’s court.
Fabian Delph been ‘great for us’
“He knows how I feel about him. It’s a decision between firstly him, then me and the club,” added Lampard, via the Liverpool Echo.
The Toffees face relegated Watford at Vicarage Road on Wednesday on the back of winning at Leicester.
That was only their second away win of the season, but the 2-1 success had the effect of lifting them out of the relegation zone into 16th place.
They sit one point ahead of both Burnley and Leeds with a match in hand after taking 10 points from their last five matches.
Lampard though has stressed they cannot underestimate their relegated opponents or think that their mission is complete.
“It’s the only message for us. As much as we enjoyed the weekend, it was a game which got us out of the relegation zone with four games to go. But it is very dangerous to relax on that,” said Lampard.
“As much as we can talk about the fans, us as players and staff, the only message is we have to go now and finish the job, which is a tough job.
Lampard: ‘We have to expect the worst’
“We have to expect the worst, everyone else can win. But we can control ourselves so there is absolutely no way we can relax. That’s the biggest message.
“To under-estimate it because Watford are relegated would be our biggest danger. Every game in the Premier League is dangerous, especially when you travel away. The minute you think you have cracked it, it becomes dangerous.”
Sunday’s win at Leicester was Everton’s first on the road in the Premier League since August.
“It’s a step forward. Getting one result doesn’t mean you go and get more,” Lampard added.
“You have to understand why we got the result: the team was together in every moment, fought for every chance, and defended very tight.
“That’s what gets you good results away from home and consistently doing that is the big challenge.”