As long as Dele Alli produces on the pitch then I’ll be happy – Frank Lampard
Glenn Hoddle said Everton’s new signing looked like he had been “dragged off the street” when he was presented to the crowd on Saturday.
Everton manager Frank Lampard believes it would be detrimental to “handcuff” individual personalities like Dele Alli after his new signing came in for criticism over his appearance.
Former England boss Glenn Hoddle said the player looked like he had been “dragged off the street” when he was presented to the crowd at half-time of Saturday’s FA Cup victory over Brentford.
Lampard, however, wants players to be themselves and express their individuality.
“I’ve heard some of the reaction and I have a lot of respect for everyone who has spoken, ex-players, people who I respect and admire in Ally McCoist, Alan Brazil, Glenn Hoddle – I would never go against their word,” said Lampard.
“But when you are working closely with players and working with Dele, my personal opinion is that I don’t care what car he drives, what clothes he wears, as long as I get a lad that comes to training every day, wants to improve every day, respects the club, respects his team-mates and then produces and gives everything to produce.
“The modern day has moved on, it’s changed, we all have to be aware of that, and I’m not hitting back at any observation because everyone is allowed their own opinion but I can only deal with what is in front of me.
“And what I’ve just mentioned, that Dele and Donny are both great lads, I mean it.
“Maybe Donny wears an overcoat that is longer than Dele wears, and he has a different type of jacket, but it doesn’t bother me.
“As long as they produce on the pitch then I’m very happy. Everyone has their own individual personality and to try to handcuff or restrict that I think could be detrimental.”
That does not mean, however, that Alli – or any player – will be given free rein on the pitch.
Lampard has a specific way of working and while there is some room for individual expression, players have to follow the game plan.
“It’s a different question to ‘What coat is Dele wearing?’. It is more when you have a game plan, players have to have a discipline within that,” he added.
“I am not a fan of absolute freedom, I think that is an easy way to coach – ‘Go on lads, go and do it, express yourself’ – there has to be a plan.
“But when you do get to the final third it is not for me to tell Anthony (Gordon) or Demarai (Gray) or Dele or Donny (Van De Beek) what decisions to take in that area. That is where you have to give a little bit of licence to those players.
“I’ll always offer freedom within the structure of how we are playing but the structure of the team is really important for me, so the players have to buy into that first.”
Both Alli and loan signing Van De Beek will be in the squad for the first time, having been cup-tied on Saturday, as Everton travel to Newcastle for a crucial game against their relegation rivals on Tuesday.
Striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin also returns after a knee problem but defender Ben Godfrey has been ruled out for four to five weeks with a hamstring injury sustained at the weekend.
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