Paul Merson says: Frank Lampard is a good fit for Everton and Dele Alli can win an England recall

February 02, 2022

In his latest column for, Paul Merson says Frank Lampard is the right fit for Everton and he thinks brighter days could be ahead for the Merseyside club with the former Chelsea boss at the helm...

Merson also gives his verdict on Dele Alli's move to Goodison Park, saying Lampard is the perfect person to guide the former Tottenham star's career, with the Magic Man backing the 25-year-old for an England re-call in the future.

Read on for Merson's thoughts on Frank Lampard, Everton, Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek in full...

'Lampard to Everton? It's a good move all round'

Frank Lampard to Everton, I think it is a great move all round.

He's at a club well below where they should be and he's come in and got two signings through the door in Dele Alli and Donny van de Beek, which shows the way he wants to play. I really think it could be a good fit for both Lampard and Everton. I can see happier times ahead for them.

I like the way Lampard sets his teams up and gets them playing. He was always has a go and that may have actually been his Achilles heel at Chelsea. On a few occasions you watched his Chelsea team play and it was just one of those days at Stamford Bridge where you thought they could play until tomorrow morning and they weren't going to score. He'd then change things up and try to change the game, but they'd end up losing 1-0.

For me, that's just what went against him at Chelsea, but it could have quite easily gone the other way. Now, with a little bit more experience, he won't listen to the people at the back of the stands as much. At Stamford Bridge, when the game is 0-0 and the fans are getting restless, it's easy to take notice and think that you've got to act.

I think he'll have learnt from that. He's played the game and taken a step back and thought that sometimes you just get these days, and you don't lose. A point here or there and they add up, and before you know it people start saying Everton are five games undefeated.

That's how a run starts and that's how confidence builds and becomes a good thing in football.

'Lampard needs to hit the ground running'

It is a different dimension at Everton to what it was at Chelsea. At Chelsea, he lost someone who was considered the best player in the world at the time in Eden Hazard. He also wasn't allowed to bring anybody in, he really had to steady the ship and he ended up getting them into the Champions League, which was a major feat, in my opinion.

People will say he had the squad but to take Hazard out of that team, who was 70 per cent of that team, and to still get in the top four was an amazing achievement.

Now the dimensions are different, and he's got to keep Everton in the Premier League for starters. It's a simple as that. Everton are on a glass mountain with moccasin slippers on, at the moment. They are sliding and he needs to stop that.

A couple of wins here and there and that goes away quickly. It could even be stopped straight away when they face Newcastle next Tuesday. But if it doesn't go well against Newcastle then you start to look at Everton, out of every team down at the bottom, as a team that a right up against it.

So, it's a really big game straight up against Newcastle when the premier league returns, but it's also a big game against Brentford in the FA Cup. Everton haven't won anything since the word dot so Lampard really needs to get off to a flier.

I don't think he's in any position to start mugging competitions off to save themselves for Newcastle.

'Everton now has all right the ingredients'

I just see a good cocktail. Lampard and Everton has all the ingredients for me.

If you are an owner and you've just made a massive mistake by bringing in Rafael Benitez to start with, you need to start listening to the fans.

Those fans are going to be there longer than anyone. They turn up week in, week out.

Let's be fair, when was the last time Everton won a trophy? 1995. I don't ever remember turning on Sky Sports and seeing many, if any empty seats at Goodison Park. You can turn on the TV and Man City are playing, and they are winning everything, but there are still empty seats.

That tells you everything. You've got to listen to the fans and this time Farhad Moshiri, and I think there could be exciting times ahead for Everton. The players that have come in are attacking players and I think Lampard can get this team going.

Personally, I can't see this team going down now. Before, I thought they were in major trouble, but not now.

Can Alli get back to his best at Everton?

Dele Alli has got to get back to what he was doing in 2018 and 2019 where we were talking about him as the best young player in football. We were talking about Real Madrid and Barcelona being after him.

He was coming from deep, making intelligent runs and he was a good finisher. Then, all of a sudden, he got up one morning and thought I'll stop doing that. He started getting the ball from deep and spraying passes around. He lost his way but now, he's working under the best in the world in his generation of goalscoring midfielder in Frank Lampard.

He was the best at getting in the box and scoring goals and I can't think of anyone more perfect than Lampard for Alli to be working under. He is the perfect person to take control of his career at this stage.

This is it for Alli. It's the last chance saloon.

But it is all about Dele Alli now. It's okay for us to say it's his last chance and all that, but if he doesn't do it here, it won't matter a great deal. It will not matter if he doesn't get another club. He will never have to do another day's work in his life if he looks after his money.

'Lampard perfect for Alli; It's up to him now'

So, this is about whether he actually wants this. Does he really want to put the hard yards in and do it?

It's all about him now and his mentality. Does he want to leave a legacy? Does he want fans still talking about him as a player in 25 years' time. Does he want that?

In my career I've been fortunate. I played for Middlesbrough 27 years ago and if you see a Boro fan they still talk about me. Same with a Portsmouth fan, a Aston Villa fan and an Arsenal fan. He's got to leave that sort of legacy for himself now.

Will they be talking about Alli at Spurs in 25 years? No, but now he's got a chance to be talked about at Everton and you just hope he does well and gets that.

Can Alli force his way back into the England reckoning?

Also, you know what? Dele Alli is not as far down the pecking order for England as I imagine some people would say.

Who in this country scores goals from midfield like he did in 2018 and 2019? Who makes runs from deep to get into the box and is a good finisher? It's Alli.

I don't care how good a team is because a team becomes a lot better when you've got players scoring from midfield as well as goals from your forwards.

So, for me, I don't think he's that far away from England if he can get back to anywhere near the form, he had a few years ago. If he can do that, I think he's a shoe in for the squad.

At the moment, we haven't got that player who runs from deep and gets beyond Harry Kane. He's a point of difference for Southgate, if he gets back to his best.

On his day, there are not many players like Dele Alli in this country. Frank Lampard was exactly the same and the best in the world at it. What he did in terms of his stats and getting over 20 goals a season from midfield, its mind blowing, and if he can get Alli anywhere near that Everton and England will benefit.

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