Everton have a unique chance to call upon some of the younger players on the fringes of the first-team squad so late in the season tonight, as they take on National League side Boreham Wood at home in the FA Cup fifth round.
The hosts, who as you can imagine are massive favourites to go through and book themselves a place in the quarter-finals, are expected to make wholesale changes, with a number of youngsters being given the opportunity to shine, including Nathan Patterson who is expected to make his debut after joining from Rangers in January for £16m.
Dele Alli might also feature from the start for the first time since his move from Tottenham, while youngsters Reece Welch and Isaac Price have been confirmed by Lampard to be in the squad for the game.
As has 19-year-old striker Lewis Dobbin, who signed a new long-term deal in January after speculation he could run his contract down and follow in the footsteps of former Everton youngster Mohamed-Ali Cho, who joined Ligue 1 side Angers from the Merseyside club in 2020 and has since gone on to become a first-team regular at the age of just 18.
Despite strong interest from German clubs, Dobbin remained committed to the club, saying: “It’s a huge honour that the club has put their faith in me with this new deal.
“I love Everton and I’ve been here for such a long time now. I’m so grateful for the chances I’ve been given and to all the coaches I’ve had during my time in the academy.
“I’m going to keep working hard and keep pushing. Hopefully I can get more opportunities in the first team and score my first goal.”
The teenager has already appeared three times for the first team, having impressed in the U23s, particularly against Tottenham in January when he scored the only goal of the game with a fantastic header, which, among other impressive performances, led to him being nominated for the January Premier League 2 Player of the Month award.
As a result, it’s hardly a surprise to see him dubbed an “exciting talent” by The Athletic’s Patrick Boyland
With Salamon Rondon having scored just one goal in all competitions for Everton, it would seem like a wasted opportunity should Lampard, who has excelled at developing youth so far in his managerial career, deploy the Venezuelan striker up top, instead of the exciting youngster.