Everton have been enjoying a much more comfortable season in the Premier League so far, and Frank Lampard will surely be relieved that his side is showing signs of improvement during their promising start.
The Toffees are now 12th in the league table and are four points clear of the relegation zone which is a much better position than where they found themselves last season, only surviving the drop into the Championship in their penultimate game of the season.
Lampard will be thrilled with the impact that the eight new signings have made since they arrived at Goodison Park this summer, but it isn’t just the newly-appointed players who have been shining lights in the improved form that Everton have displayed in their 12 Premier League outings.
Anthony Gordon has often been highly praised for his contributions in the forward line, but his teammate Demarai Gray has been just as effective since he made the move to Merseyside for just £1.7m last summer.
Despite Rafael Benitez’s ill-fated tenure at the club, one of the only good things to come out of his short spell managing the Toffees was the signing of Gray, who has been a consistent and reliable performer when called upon to represent the club in the final third.
Only Richarlison (11) and Andros Townsend (seven) scored more goals than Gray (six) last season, with the talented winger netting more than striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin (five) overall, and this season he has continued to prove that he is worth his tiny transfer fee many times over.
Across 12 appearances this term, the 26-year-old has scored one goal and created one big chance, making 1.2 key passes, taking 1.9 shots and winning four duels per game, proving he is a trusted key player for Lampard as he has started and featured for 86 minutes on average in every single league outing so far.
Gray has been the recipient of high praise during his time with the Toffees so far, with BBC pundit Garth Crooks dubbing the winger a “real talent”.
Lampard has also expressed his admiration for the player after he scored a late equaliser against Nottingham Forest earlier this season, saying: “I was really pleased with Demarai’s performance and the goal.
“Against players that are committed to defend in numbers, you need players that open the game up. Demarai did that with his movement, with his speed and with his one-v-one stuff. The goal was fantastic.”
With that being said, it is clear that Gray has become a key player at Everton; and if he can continue to influence games positively, there is no doubt that the team could enjoy a much more comfortable season than in 2021/22.