Everton boss Frank Lampard may currently be under pressure to try and get results at Goodison Park, although the Englishman has already showcased his willingness to hand youth a chance, with a handful of academy prospects having been in and around the first-team set-up of late.
While Anthony Gordon is the notable standout figure to have emerged from the youth academy in recent times, the highly-rated winger has also been joined by the likes of Stanley Mills and defender Reece Welch in Lampard’s squad in recent times.
The latter man, in particular, has come to wider attention of late, having been included in the Toffees’ matchday squad for the recent 1-1 draw with Leeds United, with that inclusion no doubt an illustration of his burgeoning talent.
Lauded by journalist Patrick Boyland for his “composed” style, the 18-year-old centre-back has made two senior appearances for the club to date, notably starting in the 1-0 win over Fleetwood Town in the League Cup last month.
That 64-minute outing saw the teenager win 100% of his aerial duels and record two tackles in what was a confident display against lower-league opposition, while also recording an impressive 92% pass accuracy rate as a marker of his ‘composure’ in possession.
The emerging talent – who is said to model his game on Manchester United colossus Raphael Varane – looks set to only add to his tally of appearances as the season progresses, with it potentially set to be a real breakout campaign for the England U20 international.
Although it may be a gamble to hand minutes to such a youthful asset, Lampard has already proven in his managerial career thus far that he is not afraid to favour youth, with one notable success story for the 44-year-old having been that of Fikayo Tomori.
The Chelsea legend had signed the defender on loan from the Blues following his appointment at Derby County in 2018, with the centre-back going on to rack up 44 Championship appearances as the Rams narrowly missed out on promotion to the top flight.
The former England international’s subsequent move to Stamford Bridge saw him hand Tomori another leading role for the west London side – alongside the likes of Reece James, Tammy Abraham and Mason Mount – with the Canada-born starlet making 22 appearances in all competitions during the 2019/20 season.
While the 6-foot-1 menace – and Lampard – subsequently left the Blues the following season, the £45m-rated man has gone on to showcase his quality at Serie A side AC Milan, having earned rave reviews during his time in Italy thus far.
Having been relatively inexperienced before linking up with the current Toffees boss at Derby, the 24-year-old seemingly has his former boss to thank for aiding in his development, even if his time at Chelsea didn’t quite go as planned.
Lampard could now help to kickstart the career of another promising talent in the form of Welch, with the Huddersfield-born gem likely chomping at the bit for a prominent role.