Frank Lampard has responded to Glenn Hoddle’s criticism of Everton midfielder Dele Alli as he “does not care what clothes he wears”.
The Toffees beat Brentford 4-1 in Lampard’s first game in charge on Saturday in the fourth round of the FA Cup.
Alli and Donny van de Beek were unveiled on the pitch to the Everton fans during the game. Hoddle claimed Alli looked like he had just been “dragged off the street”.
Premier League winners and losers (FA Cup edition)
Everton travel to face Newcastle United in Lampard’s first Premier League game in charge on Tuesday.
Ahead of that game (via BBC Sport), Lampard has responded to Hoddle’s comments.
He has defended Alli as he does not want to “restrict” the midfielder’s personality:
“I don’t care what car he drives or what clothes he wears, as long as I get a lad that comes to train every day and wants to improve every day, that respects the club, respects his team-mates and gives everything to produce.
“The modern day has moved on and it’s changed. We all have to be very aware of that. And again, I’m not hitting back at any form of observation because everyone’s allowed their own opinion, but I can only deal with what’s in front of me. And when I just mentioned that Dele and Donny [van de Beek] are both great lads, I meant it. Maybe Donny wears an overcoat that’s longer than what Dele has, a different kind of jacket – that doesn’t bother me.
“As long as they produce on the pitch, then I’m very happy. Everyone has their own individual personality and to try to handcuff that or restrict that, I think could be detrimental. So as long as players have the right behaviour when it comes to football, are doing the right things, I’ve got no worries.”
Lampard added that it is “great” to have Alli and Van de Beek in at Everton:
“I was pleased they could see the performance they saw the other day [4-1 FA Cup win over Brentford] and the way we want to go.
“They’ve been great in training and have integrated off the training pitch as lads. It’s important we’re a tight unit.
“As the players showed the other day, there’s competition in the squad now. This is the only way it can be at this level. It’s great to have them both in.”
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