Lampard: “Character is a talent in its own right”

03/09/2022 36comments  |  Jump to last

Frank Lampard has underlined the ethos that ran through Everton’s recruitment efforts this summer, a drive that focused on addressing key needs in the squad that was perhaps centred as much around character as adding strength to specific areas.

One of the most important things that Lampard has brought to Everton has been plain-spoken realism that resonates with the fans and he has offered more of it on the eve of his first Goodison derby.

Speaking about what he and Director of Football, Kevin Thelwell, saw as their mission this summer, he describes what qualities the club needed to recruit this summer in the absence of having a massive transfer budget because of the Premier League’s profitability and sustainability rules.

Where, in the past since Farhad Moshiri came in brandishing blank cheques for previous managers, the Blues have spent haphazardly and expensively, this summer they recruited pragmatically and according to what appears to have been a smart plan for every position on the field.

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The lack of one more attack-minded player before Thursday’s deadline was a glaring one but in every other respect, Lampard and Thelwell appear to have come out of the summer window with a tighter-knit group that is stronger in midfield and defence, two areas that were noticeably weak last season.

“Character is a talent and a skill in its own right,” Lampard said, addressing the notion that with Richarlison gone, there is a shortage of star power in the Everton ranks. “My gut feeling is that Conor Coady was telling people what to do when he was 12 years old.

“But you have to buy it unless you are a manager fortunate enough to walk in to a club where you see people sitting in the corner who you can tap in to. If you don't see it you have to recruit it,” the manager continued, alluding to the “broken” squad, in his words, over which he assumed control at the end of January.

“You need enough players who will pass on the message of what you are trying to do. You get an hour and a half on the training ground every day but the players will spend much more time than that together. So if you have people who are passing the message on it makes your job a lot easier.

“If I ask what the plan was this summer, it was this: Can we bring more personality into the team? 'Can we be more solid at the back? Can we bring more youth that will develop and get better? I think we have done that. Now it's up to us — and me — to work and show that we are doing a good job.

“Outside the fanbase maybe there is a more casual or lazy view that Everton are big historically and should be in the top eight after the money that we spent a while ago. But it doesn't work that way.

“I am very driven and Evertonians are very driven and want to get back to where we want to be. But it's hard to set expectations because this Premier League is so challenging.

“To think we can go from a relegation battle and solve those problems in a window (is wrong). And you can't solve them in one day on the training pitch. I think Evertonians are very understanding. No one is expecting us to go to the moon.”


Reader Comments (36)

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Christine Foster
1 Posted 03/09/2022 at 02:48:05
He obviously doesn't read ToffeeWeb! Expectations of some are an instant turnaround and spend a couple hundred million on world class players! Personally I think it will take two or three seasons getting a very good team hitting it's straps. At last we have someone with a plan!
Lyndon Lloyd
2 Posted 03/09/2022 at 04:58:03
Exactly, Christine. We’re looking for incremental progress this season, in my opinion. The pace and extent of our advancement after that could depend on Lampard and the type of player we’re able to attract next summer.

Your key point is the one about having a plan. It feels like we have a coherent one for the first time in years. Circumstances dictate that it’s not yet a sexy one but give us something to believe in for now.

Sam Mellor
3 Posted 03/09/2022 at 05:08:21
Absolutely, we were in such a mess when he took over there was no way it was a quick fix.

I don't particularly rate Lampard but he seems to have a plan of some kind and now we really need to stick with him for the next few seasons. The constant churn of managers is a huge part of what got us in this mess so for better or worse, we gave to stick with one. There'll be bad days and bad runs but we have to hold our nerve.

Sean Roe
4 Posted 03/09/2022 at 05:28:57
The character of the players alone will win you at least 10 points a season in my opinion, and if you don't have the money to buy the best players, you need 11 men on the pitch with bags of character to stand a chance.

I know many don't rate Moyes but every player he purchased for the club had bags of character. It was this and not world class players with bags of skill that gained us top 6 or 7 finishes most years.

I completely agree with Sam's (@3) second paragraph.

Steve Griffiths
5 Posted 03/09/2022 at 07:26:38
Sean, not every signing made by Moyes had “ bags of Character”, for every Cahill, Jagielka, Neville signed I'll give you a Van de Meyde, Drenthe, Koldrup etc. You don't just need 11 men on the pitch with “bags of character to stand a chance”. What you need is a mixture of players who have character, quality & a sprinkling of top young players who will benefit from playing with players with those qualities & hopefully develope them themselves.

I was lucky enough to watch the great 80's side and that side had all of those qualities, characters in the shape of Reid, Gray, Southall, Van den Hauwe, quality in Sheedy, Bracewell, Ratcliffe, Sharp, & quality youth in the form of Steven, Bracewell, Stevens, Heath, Mountfield etc. who developed/displayed those other qualities along the way. Moyes big failing imo was integrating quality youth into his line ups.

Although he gave Rooney, Rodwell, Barkley, Vaughan, Stones their PL debuts, how many did he pick without hesitation & were regulars in his line ups? Even Rooney got frustrated with being continually benched or subbed off. We need to give Lampard a chance (Moyes got 13 years!!) there is a plan, that is clear. He seems to be building a squad sprinkled with quality youth, Onana, Garner, Patterson, Gordon and has added character in the shape of Coady, Tarkovski & Gana and all this in one window.

Hopefully he can add a bit of quality in the next couple of windows also (Finances allowing) & further develope the likes of DCL, Godfrey, Iwobi, Holgate & we just could be onto something? I urge every Evertonianto get behind the manager, he's learning on the job, speaks a lot of sense & represents our club in the best possible way. We have to show a bit of patience, continue get behind the team as we have done. COYB & UTFT.

Tony Everan
6 Posted 03/09/2022 at 07:48:31
It is very good we finally have a plan under Frank, and Kevin Thelwell has exceeded expectations in executing it. Considering the budget restrictions I think it’s a 8/10 bordering on excellent window.

Defence - Coady and Tarkowski, mentally strong leaders and important additions. Seen both of them cajoling and helping Patterson already, he is benefiting from them being here.

Midfield - Gana, Garner, Onana, I think is fantastic recruiting for the outlay. I’m excited about our midfield now( forgot to mention the other new signing, Iwobi) and it’s a long,long time since that’s been the case.

Dwight McNeill, I’m in the camp that says give him time, he’s been brought in for his excellent crossing stats that will feed DCL, so we need patience. He’s not work shy and will improve.

Forward - Maupay offers something different up front. He is a nuisance player. He’s like a hungry mosquito in a pink-skinned dormitory. Defenders try to swat him and he reappears somewhere else , he will get a useful , but not primary , share of goals. I think he will be a good addition, very interested to see how he plays in tandem with DCL, picking up second balls and knock ons from DCLs aerial prowess. His sharpness to the second ball will help us stay in the oppponent’s half and build possession.

It’s not the finished article but we are have stronger foundations and are going in the right direction.

Jerome Shields
7 Posted 03/09/2022 at 07:53:08
When Frank talks of a broken squad I think of it more in terms of lower expectation norms than what the Manager expected. Season after Season there were alot of people at Everton quite comfortable with this situation and would prefer it continued.

Frank has made significant changes and now has more personnel loyal to him. He also has recent addition that Anncelotti and Benitez brought in. The one area that still needs additions is the forward positions. Hopefully this all will go someway to end the stranglehold that has prevented progress for so long.

There is still alot of work to do to turn this into a consistent results. pattern. . Frank needs to get things more right tactically. Some of the players brought in may be able to fill in the gaps on their own initiative.

Maybe making no substitution in the last game sent the right message through the Club. You are all going to have to work harder lads.

But we still have a proven unsuccessful Management hierarchy that will put a drag on progress at some stage.

Ajay Gopal
8 Posted 03/09/2022 at 07:54:38
Steve (5), great post. Agree 100% with everything you say. The key for Everton's immediate future is to hope that Lampard gets enough results on board to ensure that the fans and the EFC board stay behind him. I believe most Evertonians to be realistic, and if the team were to stay out of relegation trouble, develop a competitive spirit and style of play, we would be willing to give Lampard and his team the needed patience and time to take us upwards.
Anthony Hawkins
9 Posted 03/09/2022 at 08:04:31
Whomever we had as a manager is never going to fix the failings that happened over many seasons. Frank is an unknown quantity and a risk but he appears to have the best strategy I’ve seen for a while. I’m willing to give him time as long as we don’t spend the season in the bottom third. I’d expect to be around mid table at minimum.
David Hayes
10 Posted 03/09/2022 at 08:53:25
Absolutely agree with all the rationale. The realistic pragmatic methodology of the plan and the Spirit of the blues will ensure steady discernable progress. All the aforementioned is sadly irrelevant. Fine pre Derby retorec, loose heavily to the RS it will be "Fat Frank get out of our club". Loose heavily to Aresnal on the back of that then multiply Frank out to infinity. I don't think we will loose the next two matches but even if we do ToffeeWeb frustration does remove managers, panic ridden spineless owners do and up till now have chosen the wrong coaching staff. This time I honestly believe they have made the right choices to progress under Lampard.
Bobby Mallon
11 Posted 03/09/2022 at 09:01:45
Well, Leicester won the league the season after nearly being relegated.

Just have to have the stars aligning and a good manager...

Jim Lloyd
12 Posted 03/09/2022 at 09:37:13
Well, we need players like they had as well Bobby (11) How many goals has Vardy scored since he was bought by their chief scout, (and our former DoF) along with Mahrez and their midfielder Kante, and our own Gana Geuye.

Looking at the mid 80's team, we had a great mixture, blended into a first team squad by Howard. Character and skill, youth and experience, from the back line to the centre forwards.

I think our manager is going to have a hard battle to get the same blend together, but I think it's a great start. I remember Howard bringing in about 7 players all at once and it was a real failure. The players that Frank's brought in, are the makings of a good team. I don't expect it to happen overnight; but over a couple of years.

1st priority, get away from a relegation dogfight and stay away, then bulid on each transfer window. Maybe in a couople of years, we'll have got rid of that bloody unfair and biased Profit and sustainability millstone and can then compete more in the market as well as on the pitch.

I hope that he's given the time by us supporters to carry the task out.

Dave Lynch
13 Posted 03/09/2022 at 10:04:28
When you "build" a team like Frank is trying to do you build an ethos, a team spirit and a togetherness within a squad that you can't get throwing cash around buying mercenaries... God knows we've done that.
Ferguson did it, Shankly and Kendal did it also, the spoilt brat across the park has also done it imo.
Very rarely you can buy team spirit, Pep has billions at his disposal but his signings are well thought out and they do their homework.
Unlike Man Utd who simply buy on reputation, Chelsea are also falling apart because of poor spending and Spurs have done it for years.
You've gotta give Frank his due, he tried to give Deli another chance, realised he was the wrong fit and moved him on.
I see nothing but positive at present.
Colin Glassar
14 Posted 03/09/2022 at 10:14:23
Dare I say it? “In Lampard I Trust”. I have to as this really is last chance saloon for us. We’ve been dropping like a stone for a few seasons now. We either stop the rot now (slowly but surely) or league one beckons a la Man City, Sunderland, Nottingham Forrest, Derby etc…. We can’t live forever off our history.
James Hughes
15 Posted 03/09/2022 at 10:23:26
Some people question Frank's tactics and nous. I must admit staying with front three has been a bit baffling nut lack of options forces his hand

On the Rio F. show, between the lines he comes across as knowing his stuff and explains the 3-4-3 selection against Chelski very well, woth a watch IMO


Bernie Quinn
16 Posted 03/09/2022 at 10:38:33
Colin @ 14 - Of course you can say it Colin. Welcome to the Club - I have been saying "InFrank I Trust" since he arrived in January. See no reason to change my mind.
Tony Abrahams
17 Posted 03/09/2022 at 11:03:08
I will personally give Frank Lampard all the time he needs because of the connection that he has made with the fans. I’m not stupid, I know this is not enough, but I also feel that Anthony Gordon, would have been forced out of this club, like so many other young talented scousers, have been during the Bill Kenwright era, (for the good of the man, but not always for the good of our club, imo) and I have a feeling that our manager already “genuinely” loves Evertonians, and what they stand for, more than our chairman ever has?

Our club was a shambles the day he arrived, and now he’s bringing in his own players, I hope we are finally on the right road, but if you are driving to Goodison from town, I’d say we are still at the bottom of “Everton valley” right now, but a win against Liverpool today, could change the mood entirely🤞

Dave Williams
18 Posted 03/09/2022 at 11:17:49
Frank clearly doesn't trust a lot of the squad he inherited and this has resulted in him playing what some see as the wrong formation or not making substitutions.

He now has some depth in terms of midfield and a back four will be an awful lot better for having Gana patrolling in front of it. Onana will also benefit from having a Gana alongside him. I haven't seen Garner but from what people say he is a box-to-box player with leadership and character and should add more energy and drive.

Frank now has options and Iwobi should thrive with two other central midfielders in support. I can't see us getting anything today but give Frank a month to settle the new boys in and I think we may just have the makings of a decent team.

He is building it around young players with a bit of experience thrown in and thank goodness there is no sign of any more mercenaries.
We must give Frank a chance.

Lewis Barclay
19 Posted 03/09/2022 at 11:31:41
Alex Iwobi. Look at how he has come on since Lampard started. He clearly saw “character” where others haven’t.

If he can do that with a whole squad …

John Catto
20 Posted 03/09/2022 at 12:00:22
I agree the squad was a real mess when Frank took over. A squad of at least 4 managers players all bought to play their way.
You have to blame the top for complete mismanagement. Frank was not my choice as Manager but we can't keep changing managers every six months.
Unfortunately Frank is learning on the job so I can see another frustrating season.
Remember Frank is still to find his best team and has been hampered with injuries.
Andy Meighan
21 Posted 03/09/2022 at 15:07:34
If I had my way, he'd be given 4 seasons to start with.

He's identified the weak areas and is slowly but surely going the right way about putting them right.

sean roe
22 Posted 03/09/2022 at 16:20:57
Steve @5

I don't think any manager has got all of his signings correct. Even the best like Sir Alex Ferguson got it wrong at times - Kleberson,Djemba Djemba, Veron. I agree with what you are saying about quality and youth and I wasn't suggesting Moyes was a great manager, but in my view he got 90% of his signings right with regards to character.
All I was trying to get at was that if you lack quality and character in your team, you are on a hiding to nothing. If you only have character, you still stand a chance of winning matches.
I also watched the team of the 80's, I'd love to see how they got on now against todays teams.

Barry Rathbone
23 Posted 03/09/2022 at 18:17:47
Frank diplomatically nailing the decades-old issue of being absolute shithouses when up against it. Hopefully today is a start in rectifying this shameful trait.
Kieran Kinsella
24 Posted 03/09/2022 at 18:36:47
“No one is expecting us to go to the moon.” I think that's fair.

NASA's unmanned launch was scuppered again today so the idea we can get the whole Everton team to the moon any time soon when even the space shuttle could only carry six people is unlikely. But we are moving in the right direction on the football front.

Robert Williams
25 Posted 03/09/2022 at 18:57:04
"No one is expecting us to go to the moon.”

Frank let out a massive word of expectation from the Everton fans.

The word Frank is 'yet'

Paul Birmingham
27 Posted 03/09/2022 at 20:12:49
Good day for Everton, and great to see backbone, spirit and give and take it with the RS.

A bit of luck, decision-making, and finishing Everton could have won.

Seen the media reviews and they are consistent with their rose-tinted goggles, about the RS.

Fuck the VAR, St van Dijk, should have gone.

Everton can take massive credit today, and no doubt some won't be happy on TW, but this was a statement of intent today.

Arsenal next, but the win will come soon and Everton can take massive heart from today.


Neil Copeland
28 Posted 03/09/2022 at 20:20:22
Paul, absolutely mate.

We are looking like a team now instead of a bunch of individuals. The players are looking out for each other and learning to trust each other.

I was critical of Jordan Pickford as captain and although I am still not convinced, he was immense today.

A long way to go but the way forward looks much more positive all of a sudden.

Can't wait for Arsenal to taste the new-found blue steel.


Paul Birmingham
29 Posted 03/09/2022 at 22:06:43
Neil, well said mate.

it's early days but the rebuild of the squad is taking shape and all credit to the manager and coaches and the playing squad.

That today is the minimum benchmark Evertonians expect for every game in terms of effort and focus.

Great stature today by all the squad; with some finishing practice, in time the win will come.

Really pleased and today Everton made a point. The RS, don't like any team standing up to them.

Everton made clear-cut chances today, more than the RS, the RS had some good efforts as did Everton, and with both keepers on-form.


Don Alexander
30 Posted 04/09/2022 at 14:41:14
The fact that 23 players departed for pastures new this summer (and, yes, I know there's more than a few out on loan) speaks volumes as to what a mess the Frank/Kevin team inherited.

The fact that Frank's openly in effect criticised those still at the club, or out on loan, for a lack of character speaks volumes too.

To me it'll take three seasons minimum, a fair amount of luck, a meaningful amount of currently very unavailable money, and the complete absence of interference from the owner/boardroom if we dare to expect regular top-half finishes.

As a side issue, people think the millionaire clown Walshy personally discovered Vardy, Mahrez, Kante and the rest (and for what it's worth Koeman didn't recruit the plethora of other talent scooped up by Southampton before and during his tenure there).

He didn't, but we signed him up anyway and ignored the scouts who did the spade-work in actually discovering them.

Anyone know what reforms have been done under the Frank/Kevin regime to our relentlessly unsuccessful scouting team?

Justin Doone
31 Posted 05/09/2022 at 13:46:51
It has and always will be a team game. The signings have improved the starting line up which obviously improves the squad.

The general skill level, consistency, energy, pace, decision making, risk taking and leadership has all improved.

With a younger team, there will always be errors and losses of concentration but having more vocal leaders on the pitch, shouting instructions and encouragement can only help.

Arsenal will be a tough test. They are in good form, scoring goals and playing some great football.

Our next manager Arteta is doing a good rebuilding job with them and after 3 full seasons is ahead of Frank. I was interested to hear Utd had Eriksen mark Odegard and wonder if Onana could do a similar job.

He's bigger, stronger, faster and it may help us defend further up the pitch to unsettle them.

John Williams
32 Posted 05/09/2022 at 14:11:41
I was very impressed with the pace of the game last Saturday. Too often in the past, the build-up has been too slow.

With recruitment, you also need players who have the bottle to play well in away fixtures.

Again, if you cannot win the game, then don t lose it.

Steve Daniells
33 Posted 05/09/2022 at 15:18:46
I'm a fan of Frank. As a player, he was immense. A complete midfielder. As a coach, he's had disappointments with Derby and Chelsea that will have built character and thickened his skin. And he seems to truly get us.

But what I've also noticed is how much be talks about hard work. That was a hallmark of him as a player, and when I listened to recent interviews with Pickford and Iwobi and Coady, they also talk a lot about hard work. That's come from Frank, I have no doubt.

Michael Williams
34 Posted 06/09/2022 at 00:18:37
Character is #1.

If someone has all the talent in the world and does not play for or fit into the team, then the team will be less than the sum of their parts. See what Arteta is doing at Arsenal and what Ten Hag looks like he's starting at Man Utd.

Next is talent. As others have said, if all you have is 11 grafters, then your ceiling is very limited. The best teams have players with great talent and those players work very hard and smart and play for the team. Those are the teams that are always greater than the sum of their very good parts.

Mark Andersson
35 Posted 05/09/2022 at 00:29:35
Frank's the man... he impresses with each interview. is articulate, humble and humorous.

Great character shown by the players against Liverpool. More of that and we will have a good season...

Lee Robinson
36 Posted 06/09/2022 at 21:39:43
Steve (5) Great post, on all points covered. I couldn't agree more on your Moyes point regarding youth integration. Although many look back fondly, especially after the last few years we've had, they were some of the most frustrating times in my 40 years supporting Everton. Frustrating in the fact that we had a foundation of a very, very good side, with as mentioned some strong characters and for me he failed to capitalise on that with his low risk, glass ceiling approach in lets be honest at the time a poor standard of premier league outside the top 6.

He appears to me from the outside to be making the exact same mistakes at West Ham now as he did then with us and is still the same tactically niave manager he was.

I personally think Frank and his coaching staff do have all the tools between them to be build a realy good side, in one window we have already an impressive squad which looks like it can compete in a tough competitive league, not only physically but tactically.

I hope results improve quickly for him so he is given time and I'm very keen to see what he can do in the next 3/4 years.

Dale Self
37 Posted 08/09/2022 at 17:07:31
Frank's future success at this fine fucking club will be a good window to another side of football than what has been emphasized in in the Premier League's ascent. The spirit of a team which derives from an ethos is as much of what determines outcomes as the comparative market value of the sides playing. While I do believe in Tressell's conjecture that you will typically place where your club spent there are clubs that are always increasing the value of their squad and beating the market so to speak. Frank's demeanor, reputation and communication skills could be key to Everton positioning for some advantage in how players view the clubs they are serving.

Gana returned and I don't think he was talking crap. Iwobi is probably made up even though he went through some of the worst. And finally, you can feel what Frank alludes to, the simple view of the eleven playing is coherent. What they attempt may not come off but you can see timed and coordinated movement that makes sense in advancing the ball. The collective character is showing up as trust on the pitch and that will create the intangible force that will take Everton to the top.

Ok, I got carried away but we're on our way to better more durable times.

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