Everton manager Frank Lampard admits Dominic Calvert-Lewin cannot start thinking about his World Cup hopes until he has started producing for his club.
The striker has only played 38 minutes of football after suffering a knee injury on the eve of the season – as has Dele Alli, who was loaned out to Besiktas at the end of August.
Lampard has held the 25-year-old back to ensure he reaches his peak form without further setbacks, but even after back-to-back substitute games, the Toffees boss remains cautious.
With the World Cup a month away and Harry Kane’s deputy spots up for grabs, Calvert-Lewin needs a number of games to even consider himself and overtake the likes of Brentford’s Ivan Toney. But Lampard wants him to appear for Everton first.
“It’s human nature and a natural mentality for top players to want to play for their country but the rule is you play well for your club to get there,” he said ahead of Wednesday’s trip to Newcastle.
“Because of Dominic’s injuries, that’s probably what put him in that position.
“My feeling is that if he was fit and playing regularly he would be a great case.
“Dominic is an English player so we can get him fit first and put him on the pitch for us, hopefully see what he can deliver for us and then of course he asks himself that question.
“My focus is solely on getting Dominic in the best shape and playing well for us.”
One player destined for Qatar is midfielder Amadou Onana, who is a regular in the Belgium squad.
The 21-year-old, who window arrived late from Lille for £34million, has found his feet and is beginning to impress.
“It was clear from my early conversations with him that he was a big personality and a very dedicated young man and I’ve played with these types of players before,” Lampard added.
“When I was at Chelsea Kevin De Bruyne was maybe 20, 21 – I pick Belgian players because there’s a clear relationship with Amadou – Romelu Lukaku was a similar age and you look at what they’ve done in their career have made.
“I hope and feel that Amadou will have his version of it. I have great faith in him and I will help him to take this forward.”
Another of Lampard’s World Cup players is England goalkeeper Jordan Pickford.
The former Sunderland stopper will be a target for home fans at St James’ Park but although he has struggled in this atmosphere in the past his manager has no doubts he can handle it, even after his mistake at Tottenham first goal resulted in Saturday’s defeat in London.
“What I’m seeing and what people who work closely with him are telling me is about his maturity,” Lampard said.
“It’s more than normal to go to a place where you get hits and criticism for being a Sunderland boy and to be affected by that, that’s natural.
“I’ve actually experienced something similar (as a Chelsea player coming back to former club West Ham) and as you get older you mature, you understand it and you end up getting better as you don’t put pressure on yourself.
“He’s going through that process and it’s more than normal.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/football/frank-lampard-dominic-calvertlewin-dele-alli-amadou-onana-everton-b2205043.html Dominic Calvert-Lewin has said he should deliver for Everton before thinking about England