Frank Lampard has revealed how new signings Conor Coady and Amadou Onana have already shown their “personality and quality” at Finch Farm since completing moves to Everton earlier this week.
The Blues boss was speaking at his pre-match press conference ahead of Saturday’s lunchtime kick-off at Aston Villa and confirmed the Club are working hard behind-the-scenes to further strengthen the squad.
Everton head into the Villa Park clash buoyed by the arrivals of England international centre-back Coady and highly-rated Belgium midfielder Onana, who was described by Lampard as a player with “with many great attributes and massive potential”.
The pair are available to make their Everton debuts at Villa.
Asked about the importance of bringing strong characters to the Club, Lampard said: “Leadership is a big deal in any dressing room.
“When you are managing, you rely on people who can relay the message and drive it home. You can’t do everything yourself.
“Normally, you have to do a lot of reference checks on players on what type of people they are.
“It took me about five minutes to speak to Conor and understand the type of person he is. The moment he came up as a possibility [to sign], it was a huge deal for us as a club.
“Amadou, as a young man, has also shown personality straight away. He has got a real positive, infectious attitude.
“A big part of what we’re trying to do is bring the right people to the Club to drive it forward.
“James Tarkowski has been here since the start of pre-season and has shown his personality as well as his on-field abilities.
“We’re happy with the business we’ve done so far on that point.”
In his first interview as an Everton player, Coady, who has joined Everton on a season-long loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers, revealed how his first phone call with Lampard after hearing of Everton’s interest was “one of the best conversations I’ve ever had”.
“Hopefully, that was because it was pretty genuine,” Lampard said. “I spoke about him as a player and what I’m trying to do at Everton.
“From the outside, you can understand the type of lad he is. He’s a lad you just want to work with.
“I remember going against him as Chelsea manager, when there were no fans in the stadium [due to COVID-19], and his voice on the pitch struck me as well as how much he drove his team.
“He’s also a quality player, a regular in the England squad. I’m delighted he’s here.”
Everton will aim to get their first 2022/23 Premier League points on the board in Saturday’s clash at Villa Park, with the Blues unfortunate to have no tangible reward for a positive opening-day display against Chelsea last weekend.
Lampard highlighted Alex Iwobi’s central-midfield performance as one of several encouraging signs from the game – and says the Nigerian is receiving the recognition his exemplary professionalism deserves.
Lampard added: “He’s gaining so much respect and backing…from the fans, particularly.
“The benefits of Alex were very clear early in my days of getting here. He’s versatile because of his qualities, and he’s also versatile because of his humility.
“Anything you ask of him, he does it, and he does it really well. He’s an intelligent footballer.
“When I considered moving him into central midfield, I asked him about the positions he’s played throughout his career. He literally named pretty much every position on the pitch! He’s done it all.
“He’s never said to me, ‘I need to settle into this position in the end’, which some modern players can.
“I think he’ll always be a player who can play at a high level in a number of roles.”