Anthony Gordon can follow in the footsteps of fellow English attacking talent Mason Mount and flourish under the expert guidance of Frank Lampard.
That is the view of Pat Nevin, who watched at close quarters as Lampard moulded Chelsea player Mount into one of this country’s most effective and intelligent advanced midfielders.
Everton forward Gordon, 21, has a confirmed fan in Lampard, who supported a series of positive observations about the player by starting him in 19 of 21 matches following the manager’s appointment in January.
Gordon impressed sufficiently during the campaign to gain maiden England Under-21 honours and claim two notable prizes at the Club’s end-of-season awards.
And Nevin, who additionally reckons Everton have a gem in young Scottish defender Nathan Patterson, sees parallels between Gordon’s emergence and the initial phase of Mount’s career.
Lampard began the process of advancing Mount’s position on the field during the player’s season on loan with Derby County in 2018/19. The pair reunited at Chelsea the following campaign when Mount scored eight goals and assisted six and won the first of his 31 England caps.
Nevin is especially well positioned to consider the next period of Gordon’s development. The Scot, who had four years with Everton from 1988, starred as a 20-year-old winger in a Chelsea promotion season after joining from Clyde in 1983. He backed up that stellar 14-goal first term in England with another influential campaign as the Stamford Bridge side finished sixth on their top-division return.
“Anthony Gordon had a great season and created expectation over what he can achieve,” began Nevin, speaking to evertonfc.com, “the next factor to consider is, how can he sustain those performances and improve?
“He must keep doing what he is good at, but also adapt, and that is what you need to learn quickly.
“I wasn’t a dribbler early on, I’d never played on the wing before I went to Chelsea.
“Then I had to adapt.
“You do specific things for the next two or three years and people think, ‘That is what he does’.
“So you have to adapt again, find different positions, use your head in different ways.
“If it means drawing players away, holding the ball and developing space elsewhere, you have to learn that part of the game, too.
“It is football intelligence.
“Anthony has a good amount of football intelligence and he must let that grow.
“There are not many in the game who had better spatial awareness arriving in the box than Frank Lampard.
“He worked really well with Mason Mount, did great things with him – adapted and changed him as a player, without losing his strengths.
“And Mason is now an England international and a core player in the Chelsea team.
“That was built from the time at Derby County.
“Anthony won’t think he’s there and the finished article.
“Even if you are brilliant, there is more to learn.
“I am reading Johan Cruyff’s book and at 21, 22, he was still learning.
“If Johan Cruyff was still learning at 21, 22 and open about it, we all have to be.”
Lampard has challenged Gordon to add a regular diet of goals and assists to his game – and tipped the graduate from Everton’s Academy to grow into “a huge player for us and a huge player for his country”.
The Everton boss equally drew a comparison with former charge Mount, insisting Gordon is “very similar in his attitude, application and talent levels” to the 23-year-old Chelsea player.
Lampard brought the fullness of Mount’s ability to the surface, says Nevin, by “adding more of Frank to him”.
“The history of this is quite complicated,” continued Nevin, one of the sport's foremost pundits.
“If you think of Frank as a player, you think of his ability to arrive in in the box and take one touch, two at the most, from that position.
“I watched Frank his entire career and he would have been an absolutely brilliant sitting midfielder, his passing range and control of games were incredible.
“But he stopped it to do this other thing.
“What he was developing, he thought, was different.
“Mason is the same.
“He is capable of playing as an 8 or 10.
“But he is also exceptionally good as a deep midfielder.
“Frank has seen a lot of players can do the sitting-midfielder bit.
“But not that many can do the other thing, the arriving in the box and scoring goals.
“And that is what he built into Mason’s game, with a bit more creativity, too.
“It is very noticeable when you watch Mason now.
“That arrival in the box massively improved, slowly but surely at the start, then he had this massive jump working under Frank. His positional play improved so much.
“So it should, because he was working with the best.
“Anthony wants more goals and assists. He has those in his game, but let’s not sit on our laurels, let’s make it better.
“Frank was good at both and Mason is increasingly good at both.
“Anthony should seriously listen to Frank and I have no doubt he will, because all the evidence suggests he has the right attitude, to go with his ability.”
Everton right-back Patterson, meanwhile, will enter 2022/23 aiming to ignite his Goodison Park career following a winter transfer from Rangers.
The 20-year-old was poised for a Premier League debut against West Ham United on 3 April but sustained a season-ending ankle injury on the eve of the fixture.
He recovered to appear for his country in a pair of post-season Nations League games against Armenia.
Patterson, who featured once for Lampard, in an FA Cup tie against Boreham Wood, prior to his ankle problem, remains something of an unknown quantity south of the border.
But Nevin has seen enough of the player for Rangers and Scotland to confidently assert Patterson will excel in an Everton side with a spring in its step following last term’s brush with relegation.
“It is a new beginning for Nathan Patterson,” said Nevin. "He is going to be Everton’s attacking full-back for years.
“Everton fans haven’t seen anything like his best.
“I promise you, don’t worry, he is good enough.
“I’ve been watching him quite some time.
“People say, ‘It is only Scotland’.
“Kieran Tierney and Virgil van Dijk [Former Celtic pair, now with Arsenal and Liverpool, respectively] were ‘only’ playing in Scotland.
“There is a whole bunch who have come down.
“Nathan Patterson is absolutely next off the rank.
“Everton have done a great bit of business there, he is going to be a really good player for the Club.
“He is a very attacking-minded full-back, or wing-back – and very, very good in the final third, which you need in the modern game.
“It will be a new dawn for him and the same is true for a number of Everton players who can think, ‘This is a great chance, we have a new lease of life, we nearly had Premier League football grabbed from us’.
“It is a brilliant moment when you start again.
“I have not been told which games I am going to at the start of the season but I hope the first is Everton against Chelsea on the opening day.”
The Lost Final, Pat Nevin's fabulous documentary reuniting the players and staff responsible for Scotland's only international tournament success, at the 1982 Under-18 European Championship, is on BBC iPlayer.