Everton will make the long trip to Southampton this weekend as they return to action in the Premier League and despite the break, Frank Lampard has been dealt another injury setback ahead of the clash.
The Toffees boss took to his pre-match press conference to give some detail on a minor setback in striker Dominic Calvert-Lewin’s highly anticipated return to action this weekend, with the manager not willing to risk the player.
Lampard told the press (via Daily Mail):
“I think what have come to is a very open conversation between myself, Dominic and the medical department to make sure we get him in the best possible nick because it is a long season. I don’t want to bring him back too early.
“It’s more making sure that Dominic is in the best condition. We have had a look at his plan and looked at some of his training to make sure he is in the best possible shape. I need to think is he ready to start again, should he be coming on.”
The last 12 months have been extremely frustrating in terms of Calvert-Lewin’s constant injury problems and the striker’s struggle to get back to his best form, so it will be bad news for Lampard who will surely want his best players on the pitch as much as possible.
Since the beginning of the 2021/22 Premier League season, the Everton goal machine has only made 17 appearances, scoring five goals including the most important winning goal of the season against Crystal Palace securing survival during their relegation scrap at the bottom of the table.
The talented 25-year-old’s injury combined with Richarlison’s move to Tottenham Hotspur in the summer has left the Toffees in a sticky situation when it comes to deploying an experienced and consistent goal threat, but with the signing of Neal Maupay and Anthony Gordon in good form, Lampard has managed to make do without two of his highest scoring players this season.
After the game against Saints on Saturday, Everton will face a newly revived Manchester United team and then Tottenham Hotspur the following week so the Everton manager will likely be hoping that another week of rest for Calvert-Lewin could spark his return in the two difficult fixtures ahead.
With that being said, Everton remain unbeaten in their last five outings in the Premier League and if they can pick up all three points from their clash with Southampton this weekend, Calvert-Lewin’s absence will certainly not be felt by the supporters, but a return in the next fixtures could be a huge boost.