Frank Lampard has warned that Dele Alli risks ruining his career at the top level unless he regains the focus that made him a World Cup semi-finalist with England four years ago.
Alli joined Besiktas on a season-long loan on Thursday seven months after leaving Tottenham for Everton. He left Spurs in an unorthodox deal under which Everton agreed to pay £10million after 20 appearances, but even that modest goal was not met. The 26-year-old, an England regular at the last World Cup and the Professional Footballers’ Association Young Player of the Year in 2016 and 2017, came on after playing just 13 times for the Lampard’s squad, including 12 as a substitute.
Echoing Jose Mourinho’s 2020 warning that Alli would regret not demanding more of himself, the Everton manager claimed the playmaker’s downward spiral was linked to his approach to training.
Lampard, who admits taking a calculated risk when signing Alli on deadline day in January, said: “I have great empathy for the trajectory of his career in a sense because it’s clear to see. I don’t need to dress her up in any way.
“Having worked closely with him for some time, I have to say he really needs to understand the relationship between training and focus on what that means for performance at the highest level. isn’t just Dele’s story, I’d tell any player that because that’s the only thing I know. I wasn’t a saint, but I know what training can do and the Concentration can do, and it’s something he really needs to factor in. If he can, it can be not only a good thing for him, but also for the teammates around him on the team. He’s at this point. This is the test for him now.
Alli will have one more year left on his contract from Everton if Besiktas decline options to sign him for £6m before January 1 or £8m after that until June. Lampard believes Alli’s career at elite level will be in jeopardy without a change in attitude.
“He has to. Every player must do this. This sport is too elite at the top. If you want to be in that bracket, or be influential at a club like Everton or Tottenham, or anywhere. It’s just too elitist. Each player should have a version of what works best for them and what gets the most out of it. Not all players will practice as much as a certain player, but the focus has to be there and if you don’t have it, it’s really, really difficult.
Everton have completed the signing of Brighton striker Neal Maupay for an undisclosed fee believed to be around £15m. The 26-year-old underwent a medical on Friday and signed a three-year contract with an option for a further year.
“Everton are a great club with amazing fans and I’m so, so happy to be here,” Maupay said. “It was an easy choice for me when I started talking with the club. I knew straight away that I wanted to play for Everton and help the club succeed. I’m excited and it’s a new challenge for me. I will do everything I can for Everton. That’s what the fans want – they want players who are ready to give their best and ready to fight.
Meanwhile, Lampard insists he is under no pressure to sell Anthony Gordon to fund the takings. The manager has set his own ‘red line’ date for Chelsea to agree a deal for the England Under-21 international and dismissed claims of a bid worth up to £60m had been made. Unless Everton’s valuation is met in the coming days and before Thursday’s official deadline, Gordon will remain.
“That’s absolutely not happening at this stage and that’s where we are,” Lampard said. “I have respect for Chelsea because I played for them, but my biggest job now is to figure out what I have to do here and the situation we find ourselves in is that Anthony doesn’t leave this club. “
He added: “We have drawn a red line. I won’t say where it is but I’m getting very close to it. It’s my job to build the best team, so there definitely needs to be a time when we understand what the team will be like. Especially with a player at Anthony’s level, I have to know he’s going to be here and the good thing is myself and everyone involved upstairs has the same kind of thinking.