Frank Lampard says the character and presence shown by Amadou Onana in his Everton debut offers an exciting glimpse of what he will offer the Blues – but urged patience with the midfield talent as he adapts to Premier League football.
Onana completed his move to Everton from Lille last Tuesday and was thrust into action just four days later as an 81st-minute substitute at Aston Villa.
The Belgian international, who celebrated his 21st birthday yesterday, showcased his skill, power and dynamism during his short time on the field.
Onana was dispossessed in the move which led to Villa’s second goal, but Lampard hailed his desire to take the ball and drive Everton forward.
The Blues boss also highlighted the resilience Onana displayed in the aftermath of the home side’s strike – the midfielder immediately created Everton’s goal with a purposeful run and teasing cross, which Villa defender Lucas Digne could only deflect into his own net.
Lampard said: “In an ideal world, I wasn’t going to bring Amadou on [against Villa].
“He didn’t train for near on 10 days in the process of coming to us. He had three for four days training with us to try to get up to speed, but that’s not sufficient for a Premier League game.
“There was nothing on Amadou for Villa’s second goal. I want midfield players that want to receive the ball, who are positive and want to receive it and play forward.
“His reaction was great [to set up Everton’s goal] and it was a snippet of what you’re going to see from him.
“I liked him when he came on. I liked the presence of him. I don't want to put too much on his shoulders, but there is a reason why we signed him and why we pushed so hard for him and I believe we will see that.
“I know what he’s going to bring this club, but we have to remain patient, not just with Amadou, but with the lads a little bit at the minute.
“Dwight McNeil has just come into the team, Conor Coady came in last week, too… But we want to get results and it’s really important we do that as soon as we can.”