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Liverpool Echo
Liverpool Echo
Connor O'Neill

Frank Lampard has quietly raised 'alarming' Everton transfer question with double decision

It was seen by many as a last roll of the dice from Frank Lampard.

With his side trailing 2-1 to Southampton at Goodison Park, on came Ellis Simms with just eight minutes of normal time remaining. It was the second time Simms has come off the bench since returning from a successful loan spell with Sunderland.

As Simms made his way on for Idrissa Gueye, he did so to loud cheers from those inside Goodison Park. Everton supporters knew this was their last chance of rescuing something from a game they simply couldn’t afford to lose.

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The 22-year-old tried his best, but ultimately could do nothing to prevent his side from suffering a fourth straight defeat at Goodison Park. Just like Dominic Calvert-Lewin had suffered all game, the forward was a victim of a lack of service from those in the supply areas of the pitch.

But as Simms entered the action, he did so leaving Neal Maupay and Dwight McNeil behind on the bench. Neither, in Everton’s time of need, were called upon by Frank Lampard.

To say the pair were signed to replace Richalison, who left Everton in the summer to join Tottenham Hotspur, would be harsh. The Blues were never going to be able to directly replace the Brazilian.

Richarlison was a one off. He had a special affinity with Blues from the start. That bond grew and grew the longer he was at the club.

So when he left, tears were understandably shed. Everton were never going to find another Richarlison overnight, but in the shape of McNeil and Maupay, the pair were at least expected to bridge the gap the former Watfrod man had left in Lampard’s squad.

McNeil was the first to arrive in the summer from Burnley for a fee that could reach £20m. Maupay then followed a number of weeks later from Brighton for an undisclosed fee.

Neither, it is safe to say, have hit the ground running. But in a way, that is understandable given the position Everton currently find themselves in.

So far this season, McNeil has two goals and one assist in 20 appearances in all competitions. Maupay, on the other hand, has one goal and one assist in 15 appearances.

To say those stats were alarming would perhaps be a tad too harsh. But they aren’t great, especially when you consider just how influential Richarlsion was in terms of productivity going forward.

But what was more alarming was that in a time of sheer desperation, Lampard opted to overlook the pair and turn to a youngster who is lacking Premier League experience.

Some supporters have long been calling for Simms to be given a chance and wouldn’t have been too disappointed to see the forward thrown on. But the question still remains, why didn’t Lampard feel the need to put McNeil or Maupay on?

We will probably never know the answer, but one thing we do know is that the decision raises yet more questions about Everton's transfer business.

Not for the first time, Blues supporters are left scratching their heads.


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