FRANK LAMPARD doesn’t give a damn if Dele Alli wears a dinner jacket or a donkey jacket as long as he looks the business in an Everton kit.
Former England star Dele is in line for his Everton debut at Newcastle on Tuesday evening following last week’s deadline day move from Spurs.
But he has already managed to upset some precious pundits before he has even kicked a ball for his new club.
Former Scottish internationals Alan Brazil and Ally McCoist were not impressed by Dele turning up at Goodison in a Rolls Royce while ex-England boss Glenn Hoddle didn’t like his choice of attire when he was presented to the fans during Saturday’s FA Cup win against Brentford.
But new boss Lampard has absolutely no issue with the midfielder’s public image and said: “I have heard some of the reaction to Dele but the game has changed and moved on and we have to be aware of that.
“I have a lot of respect and admiration for people like Ally, Alan and Glenn and I’m not hitting back at their observations because everyone is allowed their opinion.
“But personally I don’t care what car he drives or what clothes he wears as long as he comes to training every day, wants to improve every day, respects the club and his team-mates and gives everything.
“Maybe Donny van de Beek wears a longer overcoat that’s different to Dele’s jacket, but that doesn’t bother me as long as they both produce on the pitch.
“Everyone has their own personality and it could be detrimental to try to stifle that.
“I can only deal with what is in front of me and Dele and Donny are both great lads who can complement each other and the rest of the team.
“It was an area of the pitch that we needed to strengthen and these are two very intelligent players.
“We all know that Dele was at an extremely high level a couple of years ago and everyone loved watching him play because he was so effective.
“I’m not going to set him any targets because the last thing I want to do now is say ‘this will happen with Dele and in three weeks’ time he’ll be doing this.’
“But he’s a talented boy in a new environment and what is clear is that he’s still only 25-year-old and we have to look at how we can get him back to those levels.
“I brought him here because of the qualities we spoke of two or three years ago and I believe we can get that out of him at Everton.”
Both Dele and van de Beek have been included in the squad for Tuesday’s crucial trip to St. James’ Park and Dominic Calvert-Lewin is also fit to return for a match which Everton dare not lose.
They managed just six points from 14 games before Rafa Benitez was sacked and are now just four points above the relegation zone.
But Lampard is adamant that the result of Tuesday’s game and Saturday’s clash with fellow strugglers Leeds will not be decisive in Everton’s battle to beat the drop.
He said: “We have to stay calm because we have 18 games left and it would be wrong to put everything on the next two fixtures.
“The reality is that we are 16th in the table and there is a reason for that. The players are lacking confidence but we’ve only been here a week and we’re not going to change a team that was losing very regularly overnight.
“But I have been very happy with what I have seen from the squad so far and it’s important we approach these next two games without fear.”