Frank Lampard hits back after Dele criticised for looking like he was 'dragged off the street'
'I don't care what car he drives, what clothes he wears'
Frank Lampard has defended new Everton signing Dele Alli after Glenn Hoddle criticised the player's choice of clothing for his Goodison Park unveiling at the weekend.
Both Dele and fellow new signing Donny van de Beek were presented to the home crowd at half-time of Everton's 4-1 FA Cup victory over Brentford on Saturday.
Former England manager Hoddle slammed the former Tottenham midfielder for turning up at the game looking like he had been 'dragged off the street'.
Everton boss Lampard has since insisted that he would never 'handcuff' the personalities of his players following the criticism of his new signing.
"I don't care what car he drives or what clothes he wears."
Frank Lampard has defended Dele Alli following his move to Everton and insists that the only thing that matters is his performance on the pitch. pic.twitter.com/qlwIotQ19p
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) February 7, 2022
Lampard said: "I don't care what car he drives, what clothes he wears, as long as I get a lad that comes to training every day, wants to improve every day, respects the club and respects his team-mates and then produces and gives everything to produce.
"The modern day has moved on, it's changed, we all have to be aware of that, and I'm not hitting back at any observation because everyone is allowed their own opinion, but I can only deal with what's in front of me.
"And what I've just mentioned, that Dele and Donny are both great lads, I mean it.
"Maybe Donny wears an overcoat that is longer than Dele wears, and he has a different type of jacket, but it 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 or restrict that I think could be detrimental.
"As long as the players have the right behaviours when it comes to football and doing the right things I have no worries."
The Toffees confirmed the signing of Dele from Tottenham on deadline day shortly after ex-Chelsea boss Lampard replaced Rafael Benitez in the Goodison Park hot-seat - signing the midfielder on a free transfer which will rise to £10m if he plays 20 matches.
However, Hoddle, speaking on BT Sport, suggested that the Englishman didn't get his Everton career off to the best start.
"There's a route back for him if he gets his boots back on and gets his head down. I didn't like the way he walked out on the pitch with what he was wearing," said Hoddle.
"I know Rob [Robbie Savage] wears a few things like that but we had a look at that, he's got a new club, you should see how he's dressed."
Savage claimed that he thought Dele looked 'sensational' before Hoddle added: "I thought he'd just got dragged off the street to be honest. If I'm an Everton fan, you're going to a new club. Put a tracksuit on at least or something.
"He's got to get his head together. It's not about Frank Lampard or Everton, he's got to get back on the horse he's good at, scoring goals from midfield. If he doesn't do that, I don't see anyone getting the best from him."
Both Dele and Van de Beek are expected to be in the squad for the first time against Newcastle on Tuesday, and Lampard has insisted that his players will need to follow a specific game plan.
He said: "It's a different question to 'What coat is Dele wearing?' It is more when you have a game plan, players have to have a discipline within that.
"I am not a fan of absolute freedom, I think that is an easy way to coach - 'Go on lads, go and do it, express yourself' - there has to be a plan.
"But when you do get to the final third it is not for me to tell Anthony (Gordon) or Demarai (Gray) or Dele or Donny (Van De Beek) what decisions to take in that area. That is where you have to give a little bit of licence to those players.
"I'll always offer freedom within the structure of how we are playing but the structure of the team is really important for me, so the players have to buy into that first."
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