DCL injured again as Lampard prepares for his Everton bow

Everton (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images)
Everton (Photo by James Williamson - AMA/Getty Images) /

In his first press conference since taking the reigns at Everton, Frank Lampard has revealed that Dominic Calvert-Lewin is again injured and will miss Saturday’s Cup clash with Brentford.

Typical Everton, a new manager arrives, new players are signed and there’s a buzz around Goodison Park with cautious hope that things might at long last change for the better. But, old problems have reared their head once more with another injury blow.

The Toffees key midfielder Abdoulaye Doucoure is already out for up to a month at least, compromising Lampard’s options in the engine room, and now in his press conference Lampard told us the side’s England international centre-forward is hurt yet again.

Calvert-Lewin has been out for almost the whole of the season and having just returned to the team he is now absent for Saturday’s match, possibly longer.

It has to be admitted that injuries undermined the efforts of both Lampard’s predecessors Carlo Ancelotti and Rafa Benitez. Now, with this frustrating news the manager is without the man he would presumably have looked to build his attack around.

Is this injury curse also going to hamper the new man as he tries to pull the Blues out of a dreadful tailspin of defeats?

I’ve written before that Calvert-Lewin’s injury problems are a real concern and I’m beginning to doubt whether he can ever be fit again for even half a season.

At his age he really shouldn’t be suffering so many problems and again as with so many of the seemingly never-ending injuries Everton players get, you have to ask what is going on with the medical teams at the club?

Because of this situation, if it was up to me I would be open to selling Calvert-Lewin were Arsenal or another club to stump up enough cash, say £50-60 million.

However, I don’t know if the club could command that sort of fee now, especially if the player continues to spend so much time on the treatment table.

Anyway, that’s all for the longer-term. For now, Lampard has to pick his first team as Blues boss and try and beat the Bees on Saturday.

While the FA Cup obviously isn’t as important now as Premier League survival, the Toffees players are desperately short of confidence and haven’t won a match since beating Arsenal 2-1 on 6th December. A win this weekend would do the players and fans a power of good.

That win over the Gunners seems even longer ago than early December and of course it is the only Premier League victory Everton have managed since late September.

If Brentford can be beaten, then hopefully the Blues will go into the huge Premier League games next week at Newcastle United and then at home to Leeds in much better spirit and with some long overdue positive momentum.

As for the team that Lampard will pick well I think that’s anyone’s guess. We know he likes to play a more aggressive, positive and pressing style than we’ve been used to seeing, but how much of that will be seen on Saturday after only a week’s training is unclear.

One thing is certain the manager will be without his two midfield deadline day signings as both Donny van de Beek and Dele Alli are cup-tied.

In fact midfield will be the biggest selection headache I suspect. Because along with the two new signings, as mentioned Doucoure is out injured as is Tom Davies and unsurprisingly, Fabian Delph as well.

That leaves him with Allan, Andre Gomes and possibly Jean-Philippe Gbamin as his fit regular midfielders. Alongside them is youngster Tyler Onyango.

Generally, Lampard has favoured some sort of 4-3-3 type formation in the past, but given all these absences in midfield I’m not sure he can play that way against Brentford.

The other formation he has used is a variation on a 4-2-3-1. Again though with Calvert-Lewin now unavailable, can he do that? Although Richarlison can play as a lone striker it’s not really his strength.

Along with all these uncertainties the other big question for me is whether Lampard will give one or both of the young full-backs signed at the start of the transfer window, a game.

Left-back Vitalii Mykolenko has played for his new team already in the previous Cup tie at Hull City, but we’ve yet to see Nathan Patterson turn out for the first-team.

Given his talent it’s surely only a matter of time before the young Scot gets a nod. His pace, strength and superb delivery from out wide make him a gem of a prospect and he has all the qualities this Everton team really needs.

If he had a fully-fit midfield to pick from I’m sure he would be playing Patterson and giving him the freedom to get forward and provide the natural width which full-backs can do in that formation.

Well, whatever team and formation he decides on, I hope that Anthony Gordon will get a chance from the start and that the Toffees can begin well and score an early goal, something that has been seen so rarely this season.

Although the Cup is something of a free hit, it seems important Lampard gets off the a good start to his tenure and picks up what would be a morale-boosting win at the weekend.

Then perhaps, Everton can begin the long road to recovering this campaign and starting to build something substantial for future seasons.